The Lagos Division of the Federal High Court has ruled that the planned rally by Peter Obi supporters, tagged #Obidatti23 Forward Ever, scheduled for 1st October in Lagos cannot hold at the Lekki toll gate in the state.
Daniel Osiagor, the judge, in a ruling Wednesday ordered the organisers of the rally not to gather at the toll gate, their planned convergence point.
The judge also directed the Inspector General of Police and the Lagos State Police Commissioner to ensure compliance with the order.
Mr Osiagor, however, said the rally can march through the toll plaza and continue to other locations.
The judge’s decision comes on the day political parties were billed to officially begin their campaigns across the country.
10 plaintiffs, including nine lawyers, had approached the court seeking to restrain Mr Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party; his running mate, Yusuf Baba-Ahmed; and the party’s supporters from holding the rally in Lagos.
The plaintiffs argued that the rally could cause a breakdown of law and order and a repeat of the 20th October 2020 incident where soldiers opened fire of peaceful protesters who gathered at the toll gate.
The defendants filed a notice of preliminary objection seeking to stop the court from hearing the motion on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction.
The court adjourned till 4 November for hearing, to enable parties in the suit to be served.
The plaintiffs include Adedotun Ajulo, Salamatu Suleiman Lewi, Hakeem Ijaduola, Ogunbona Akinpelu, Owolabi Oluwasegun, Mogbojuri Kayode, Wuyep Mantim Nadom, Dimimu Mabel, Kolawole Salami, and Wale Abe Lawrence.
The 1st to 10th defendants in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1729/2022 are Mr Obi, LP, Mr Baba-Ahmed, Mr Abure, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Commissioner of Police (Lagos State Command), Director-General (Department of State Services), Lekki Concession Company (LCC) Limited, Attorney-General of Lagos State, and The Governor of Lagos State.
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The plaintiffs in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1729/2022, had argued that a repeat or celebration of the “infamous” EndSARS protest of 2020 under the political guise of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” will cause a breakdown of peace and will result in post-traumatic stress disorder for them and the public.
They prayed the court for four reliefs:
“An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants; their associates and loyalists from conducting the scheduled END SARS Rally tagged as the “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally on the 1st of October, 2020 or any other subsequent date, at the Lekki Toll Gate until the hearing and determination of the Motion-On-Notice dated September 12, 2022.
“An order of interim injunction restraining the 1st 2nd, 3rd, and 4th defendants and their loyalists from further planning and promoting the Scheduled END SARS Rally tagged as the “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally”….
“An order of interim injunction restraining the 5th 6th, 7th Defendants from allowing or granting permissions to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants, their agents, and the organizers of “#Obidatti23 Forward Ever Rally” at the behest of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants from carrying out the said anniversary on the 1st of October, 2022 and any other subsequent date…
“An order of interim injunction restraining the 8th Defendant (LCC) from granting permission to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Defendants; their agents, privies, allies, and loyalists, to make use of the Lekki Toll Gate or any space under and within the control of the 8th Defendant for carrying out the said anniversary on the 1st of October, 2022 and any other subsequent date…”