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Elections: IGP has no constitutional powers to restrict movement

By Innocent Anaba

A rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has said that the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammad Adamu has no constitutional powers to restrict the movement of Nigerians on election days, citing a High Court order to back his position.

Adegboruwa, in a statement, yesterday, said: “On February 15, 2019, the Inspector-General of Police had announced restriction of human and vehicular movements for 12 hours from 6a.m., to 6p.m., of the same day, albeit illegally, on account of elections scheduled for February 16, 2019.

“Even after it became clear to all that the elections will not hold as scheduled, this restriction was not lifted officially, thus forcing people to stay indoors, contrary to the express provisions of the Constitution and other laws in that behalf, guaranteeing freedom of movement to all citizens.

“By law, it is beyond the powers of the IGP to forcefully keep people at home because of elections, since there is no law in force in Nigeria presently, authorising such unlawful restriction of movement.

“The Federal High Court, had occasion to pronounce on a similar illegal directive in the case of Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Esq. v. Inspector-General of Police & 5 others, in Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1690/2014.

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“In that case, the applicant, a legal practitioner, was on his way to honour an invitation as a guest speaker of a television station, for an early morning programme, on June 29, 2013, being the last Saturday of the month.

“The IGP did not appeal against this judgment of the court and yet he proceeded to hold people down at home on February 16, 2019, contrary to the express order of injunction granted by the court in this case against any repeated illegal practice of keeping citizens indoors.

“We will, therefore, not condone or agree with any attempt to restrict people’s movement illegally, on February 23, 2019 or indeed any other day, by reason of elections.”

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