The women’s rally had led to the closure of some roads in Abuja.
An Abuja based lawyer, James Abah, has sued the First Lady, Patience Jonathan; National Council of Women Societies; Inspector General of Police; and the State Security Services, SSS, over road restrictions and blockages during the just concluded Abuja women rally.
Mr. Abah in his suit declared that the Women Peace Rally which he said turned out to be a political campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan was a breach of his and other Nigerians’ right of movement as guaranteed by Section 41 of the constitution.
Thousands of women on August 15 took part in a rally for the celebration of peace and empowerment of Nigerian women. The rally, which started from old parade ground and ended at the Eagle Square in Abuja, was organized by the National Council of Women
Societies. Women from all parts of the country came together in support of the theme of the rally, showcasing their culture in various dance performances. .
Mr. Abah said he was forced to trek from Wuse Market to his office at Zone 2 and also from Central Business District to Maitama as a result of the restrictions on major routes.
The lawyer has asked that the court grant an injunction restraining the accused from restricting movement of the respondent or Abuja residents within the country except within the circumstances as guaranteed by Section 41 (2) of the Nigerian constitution.
“I believe the 3rd and 4th respondents aided the 1st and 2nd respondent in conducting an unannounced barricade and restriction of major routes within the FCT. After waiting for about an hour in traffic as a result of the gridlock, I also saw agents of the 3rd and
4th respondents heavily armed directing and restricting people from driving through the road linking Wuse Zone 2 to Wuse market,” Mr. Abah said
Mr. Abah also prayed that the court orders Mrs. Jonathan and the other accused to publish a written apology to Nigerians and the applicant in two national dailies.
This is not the first time a civil rights lawyer would challenge restriction of movement due to the activity of VIPS or associations linked to them.
In June 2012, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, demanded that the Minister of Aviation reveal the identity of a VIP whose movement had caused the partial closure of the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport.
Mr. Falana who was on board an Arik flight W3 271 on the Abuja to Lagos route recalled that the aircraft stayed in the air for an extra 30 minutes after it approached Lagos due to the closure of the airspace.
He also stated that he was reliably informed that the presence of a VIP had resulted in the restrictions of movement within the airport, causing the delay of his flight and thereby endangering the lives of over 150 passengers.