Inibehe Effiong, Principal Counsel at Inibehe Effiong Chambers, has advised Nigerians to challenge the government in courts of competent jurisdiction whenever their rights are violated.
The public interest and human rights lawyer said government at various levels institute frivolous charges under the guise of national security and intelligence to suppress the fundamental rights of Nigerians as enshrined in sections 39 and 40 of the Constitution.
“Nigerians should never be afraid of facing their governments in court. The power of the government and the police when it comes to shrinking the civic space ends at the police station,” he said.
The public interest lawyer affirmed that police should nip traces of security breach in the bud rather than stop protests or disperse protesters forcefully. Based on the Electoral Act of 2022, section 91, Inibehe said men of the Police and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), and other security agencies of the government are to secure the lives and property of protesters.
Effiong cited the 2018 case instituted by Charles Oputa against the Nigerian Police after being attacked during the #ResumeorResign Protest over the prolonged absence of President Muhammadu Buhari. According to him, the Federal High Court ruled that peaceful protest was a constitutionally guaranteed right and that even if miscreants were on the scene to hijack the protest, the police possess enough security measures to maintain order and not exercise an uncommon aggression and mayhem to wade off alleged miscreants.