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Lawyers, Aisha Yesufu, others hit Bello, threaten legal action against Protest ban

#EndSARS protesters,  human rights organisations and lawyers on Thursday took a swipe at the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Mohammed Bello,  over the ban on street protests in the FCT.

Leaders of the movement campaigning for the disbanding of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Nigeria Police, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, dared the FCT administration, saying they would continue the protests despite the ban.

Also, human rights groups and lawyers condemned the ban and described it as unconstitutional, null and void.

But the Northern Governors’ Forum on Thursday said northern states were not opposed to SARS. The Plateau State Governor and Chairman of the forum, Simon Lalong, in an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja, said the squad had been useful in tackling insecurity in the North.

On its part, the Nigeria Governors Forum, in a communiqué issued after its meeting on Wednesday, supported the plan by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, to reform the police.

It, however, asked the police to fish out operatives of the disbanded SARS  whose actions caused injuries or death of innocent citizens.

A few hours after the governors met,  the FCT Administration,  in a statement by the minister’s Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye,   announced the ban on #EndSARS protests in Abuja for alleged violation of COVID-19 protocols.

The administration said it was concerned that despite the scrapping of SARS by the IG on Sunday, the demonstrations had continued, causing inconveniences to law-abiding citizens.

According to the statement titled, ‘COVID-19: FCT Security Committee prohibits street demonstrations,’  the decision was reached at a meeting of the FCT Security Committee on Tuesday, chaired by the minister.

The administration said while it recognised the rights of citizens to freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it had observed that “the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens.”

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