The Abuja commissioner of Police had banned #BringBackOurGirls protests in Abuja.
An Abuja High Court on Wednesday gave a restraining order barring the Nigerian Police; the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Abubakar; and the Abuja Commissioner of Police, CP, Joseph Mbu; from arresting a former lawmaker, Dino Melaye, over public-interest protests.
Mr. Melaye, who has been in the frontline of the #BringBackOurGirls protest in Abuja, filed a 10-count suit against the respondents following an initial ban on the protest to demand the rescue of the abducted Chibok Girls as announced by Mr. Mbu.
He also accused the police of harassment, arrest, and intimidation.
The court granted all ten reliefs sought.
The judge, Abubakar Talba, granted a perpetual order barring the police, IGP, and the Abuja CP from further arresting or disrupting protests by Mr. Melaye; especially if the protests are in the interest of the public.
Mr. Talba also declared as illegal any arrest of Mr. Melaye resulting from public interest protests.
Also, a consequential order was given to the police, Mr. Abubakar, and Mr. Mbu to publicly apologize to Mr. Melaye in any National Newspaper.
The court averred that the police have no right to stop citizens from protesting in the interest of the public and stated that the #BringBackOurGirls protest was one such protest.
Mr. Mbu had on June 2 banned all protests in Abuja relating to #BringBackOurGirls, a campaign to press the Nigerian Government to do more to ensure the over 250 girls kidnapped from their school in Chibok, Borno State, are rescued alive.
Mr. Mbu’s ban was, however, reversed by the IGP, Mr. Abubakar, on June 3.
The IGP in a statement stated that the police only issued an advisory notice on rallies in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Since April, thousands of Nigerians have protested the April 14 abduction of the girls by Boko Haram insurgents.
The protesters demand that the Nigerian Government intensifies efforts toward rescuing the girls and stopping terrorism.