Lagos – A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday partly granted a motion by members of the Neo Black Movement of Africa (NBM), seeking enforcement of their fundamental right.
Justice Mohammed Yunusa granted an order for a declaration that the applicant, being a duly registered incorporated trustee, had a right to peaceful assembly and association.
It will be recalled that the applicants had filed the suit in August under the aegis of Registered Trustees of NBM of Africa.
They had filed the suit alongside three members namely, Oritsebemigho Eyeoyibo, Great Albert and Dr Mayor Onyebuyeke, for enforcement of their rights under order 2 rules 1 to 5 of the fundamental rights enforcement procedure rules.
Joined as respondent in the suit is the Inspector General of Police.
The applicant is seeking a declaration that the indiscriminate arrest and detention of its members by agents of the respondent was unlawful.
They are also seeking a declaration that the parading of its members by agents of the respondents on television as common criminals was a breach of their fundamental rights.
When the matter was called on Monday, counsel to the applicant Mr Anthony Orunkoya, informed the court that the matter was slated for ruling.
Delivering his ruling, Justice Yunusa granted prayers A, B and C of the applicant.
“From all the evidence before the court, the first applicant is a registered organisation with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
“The second to fourth applicant have the constitutional right to belong to the first applicant being a registered organisation under the laws of Nigeria.
“NBM of Africa has a right to admit any person that is so interested as a member in exercise of his or her right under Chapter 4 of the constitution with respect to freedom of association.
“Therefore, prayers A, B and C of the applicant are hereby granted,’’ he said.
In prayer A, the applicant sought a declaration that being a duly registered incorporated trustee in Nigeria, it had a right to assemble and associate freely by virtue of section 40 of the constitution.
In prayer B, the applicant sought a declaration that the indiscriminate arrest of its members by the respondent was a breach of their right to personal liberty.
In prayer C, the applicant also sought a declaration that the parading of its members by the respondent on national television as criminals was in breach of sections 34 and 35 of the constitution.
In their affidavit in support of the motion the applicant averred that the NBM was formed in 1977 in Benin City as a human rights organisation.
The applicant averred that on July 6, policemen from the Lagos State Police Command, Ikeja, stormed the venue of their meeting at AY Hotel, Ogba and arrested two of its members.
According to the applicant, the members were made to sit on the floor, and were asked to pay some amount of money if they desired not to be taken to the station.
The applicant averred that on July 7, another set of policemen also besieged the venue of their meeting and again, arrested some its members.
According to the applicant, the police alleged that their gathering is unlawful.
The applicants therefore, want the court to declare the arrest, detention and parade of its members as unlawful.