Hunger, Spiralling Cost Of Living: No Going Back On Protests – NLC Declares


The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has declared that there is no going back in its resolve to carry out a nationwide protests against hunger and geometric rise in the cost of living in the country.

The NLC which stated its position in a letter it addressed to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi SAN, said its planned nationwide protest planned to hold on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 27 and 28, 2024 respectively would hold as scheduled.

It pointedly told the federal government through the office of the Attorney General that it cannot be stopped from proceeding with the planned protest.

The NLC letter which was on the heels of an earlier letter from the federal government signed by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said that the planned protest by the NLC was a contempt of court order thus, illegal.

But, the NLC responding through its lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, stressed that contrary to federal government’s claim, no court barred its members from exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and expression to protest against the excruciating economic pains being experienced by the masses.

Falana pointedly said that both the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), would not be threatened by the government coercive measures and therefore declared that without any fear of contradiction, the proposed public protest of the NLC is not contemptuous of any ex parte orders of the National Industrial Court.

In the words of Falana; “In particular, the issue of contempt does not arise as the NLC has challenged the jurisdiction of the National Industrial Court to entertain the substantive case.

“It is further submitted that the National Industrial Court has not restrained the members of the NLC from exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression to protest against the excruciating economic pains being experienced by the masses.

“In the case of Inspector- General of Police v All Nigeria Peoples Party (2008) 12 WRN 65, the Court of Appeal upheld the fundamental right of Nigerians to protest on matters of public interest without police permit. In the leading judgment of the Court, Olufunmilayo Adekeye JCA (as she then was) held inter alia:

“The right to demonstrate and the right to protest on matters of public concern are rights which are in the public interest and that which individuals must possess, and which they should exercise without impediment as long as no wrongful act is done…

“If as speculated by law enforcement agents that breach of the peace would occur our criminal code has made adequate provisions for sanctions against breakdown of law and order so that the requirement of permit as a conditionality to holding meetings and rallies can no longer be justified in a democratic society.

“Since freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are part of the democratic rights of every citizen of Nigeria the Court of Appeal further held that, “the legislature must guard these rights jealously as they are part of the foundation upon which the government itself rests.”

“Consequently, the National Assembly has ensured that the right of aggrieved citizens to protest peacefully for or against the Government is protected.

“Thus, section 83(4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020, which ‘where a person or organization notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to , the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilize personnel to provide security to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession.’

“While we have advised the members of the NLC to conduct the rallies scheduled for February 27-28, 2024 in a peaceful manner, we urge you to use your good offices to direct the Inspector-General of Police to provide adequate security to the conveners and participants in the protest in line with the provisions of Section 83(4) of the Police Establishment Act,” Falana said.

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