…it’s not true, it is a mischief by APC – Udom’s aide
Governor Udom Emmanuel has banned all forms of illegal protest in Akwa Ibom State. He stated this during an interaction with Government House correspondents today after returning to the state.
The Governor said all “illegal protests” in the state are banned, stating that those found guilty of flouting the new rule will be made to face the full weight of the law.
The Governor took the decision on the heels of the embarrassing scenario that played out on his birthday where Local Government Pensioners protested at Government House road (Wellington Bassey Way) over non-payment of pension and gratuity.
The Governor, through his Senior Special Assistant on Media/Chief Press Secretary, Mr Ekerete Udoh had said in a release that the protesters were a tiny group of obviously sponsored local government pensioners.
TheMail Newspaper understands that the press statement by Mr Udoh had drawn ire from members of the public who questioned why politics should be brought into such a sensitive matter.
Meanwhile, a media aide to the Governor, Essien Ndueso has said the Governor has not banned protest, saying it is a lie from the opposition party, APC.
Ndueso who obviously was not aware that the Governor had made the decision known to Government House correspondents said “Governor Udom Emmanuel has not banned any lawful protests in Akwa ibom state, this is lie from the pit of the frustrated APC failed politicians. Intelligent people should ignore such arrant mischief”.
The decision of the governor to ban what he calls “illegal protest” (i.e protest without police permit) may be unconstitutional. Section 40 of the 1999 constitution provides for freedom of assembly and association. According to this section, “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular, he may form or belong to political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interest…”
Also, there is a celebrated case of All Nigeria Peoples Party v Inspector-General of Police (2008) 12 WRN 65 decided by the Court of Appeal on December 12, 2007. In that case the court ruled that Nigerians have the fundamental right to stage rallies and protests without police permit.