Court orders FG To Pay N1m, Tender Apology For Disrupting #RevolutionNow Protest
A court in Lagos has awarded N1 million against the Federal Government over the police disruption of #RevolutionNow protest.
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The nationwide protest was convened by the publisher of SaharaReporters, Omoyele Sowore, who was arrested by the Department of State Services.
The Federal High Court in Lagos awarded the N1million in favour of a Lagos-based lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, who said he participated in the protest on August 5, 2019, and was among those tear-gassed by security agents, The Punch reports.
The court declared the disruption of the peaceful protest by the Federal Government, through the police, as “illegal, oppressive, undemocratic and unconstitutional.”
Presiding Judge, Justice Maureen Onyetenu agreed with Ogungbeje, who sued on behalf of himself and other participants in the protest, that the Federal Government deprived them of their right to peaceful assembly and association.
The judge also condemned “the mass arrest, harassment, tear-gassing, and clamping into detention” of the protesters.
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Ogungbeje had urged the court to award N500m against the Federal Government, DSS, and the Attorney General of the Federation, but the court only awarded N1m.
The judge also upheld the defence of the DSS that it was not involved in the disruption of the protest.
In the affidavit, which he filed in support of the suit, Ogungbeje said when he was co-opted into the #RevolutionNow protest, as a lawyer, he checked the constitution and found that it was lawful.
He, however, said on getting to the take-off point of the protest in Lagos “I met agents and operatives of the respondents who had barricaded the venue of the peaceful protest for good governance in Nigeria.
“I was tear-gassed by agents of the respondents and the peaceful protest was forcefully disrupted by the respondents.
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“I have been denied my fundamental constitutional rights of peaceful assembly and association by the respondents, without cause.”
Apart from the N1m award, the court also ordered the Federal Government to tender a public apology to the applicant in three national daily newspapers.