By Idowu Bankole
Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, says protest marches in Nigeria are not treasonable offences.
Falana made this known on Sunday according to a statement he issued.
His comments follow the arrest of former Presidential Aspirant of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 general elections, Omoyele Sowore by the Department of State Service.
Recall that the police had described the planned protests by Sowore and some individuals as ‘treasonable felony and acts of terrorism’, and had vowed to resist any act that can lead to a breach of law and order in the country.
But reacting the human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana noted that the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests.
According to Falana “No doubt, the Nigeria Police Force has capitalized on the use of the word “revolution” to criminalise the protests. If revolution has become a criminal offence in Nigeria why were the leaders of the APC not charged for claiming to have carried out Nigeria’s democratic revolution which terminated the 16-year rule of the PDP in 2015?
“Why was Dr Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, the presidential candidate of the Young Progressive Party (YPP) not threatened with treason when he asked Nigerians to rise up for revolution via the 2019 general election?
“Did all Nigerian senators led by APC members not commit treason or terrorism when they spent one and a half hours on May 14, 2019 to debate Senator Chukwuka Utazi’s timely motion on “Bridging the gap between the haves and have-not to nip in the bud the seeds of a looming violent revolution?, he queried.
Falana also criticised the Buhari led administration for clamping down on individuals perceived as its critics.
He opined that “it is worrisome that the Buhari administration has decided to extend the ambit of the Terrorism Prevention (Amendment) Act to cover individuals and organisations that are critical of official policies or perceived marginalisation within the federation.