POLICE STOPS SPN MEMBERS PROTEST TO INEC OFFICE
By Dimeji Macaulay
On Monday 31st of October, 2016 members of Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) gathered at the Federal High Court 6 that was scheduled for hearing, habitually the court did not sit because the judge was attending a seminar. This is the twelfth adjournment between November 19, 2014 and December 5, 2016, which is the next adjourned date out of which the matter was mentioned only 4 times. Hence, we have been on this matter for over 2 years considering the fact that the matter was actually instituted in court on September 10, 2014. It is curious that the organizing secretary of the party, Comrade Macaulay visited the court on Friday October 28, 2016 to ascertain if the court will sit and the court officials told him that the case will be coming up. According to the court registrar, the judge informed him that he will be attending a seminar on the afternoon of Friday October 28, 2016. The annoying part of this is that the registrar informed all lawyers who have matters that same day and resides outside Abuja of this development and did not inform our lawyer who travelled all the way from Lagos and wasted time and money. As if the INEC knew of this development, it was not in any way represented at the court, not even its lawyer.
This underscores the backwardness of the judicial system in Nigeria with its attendant consequences such that matters linger in court for a long time, the administrative work is inefficient and the whole processes are unnecessarily cumbersome. It is not only that the Nigeria judicial system depicts the fact that justice is mostly delayed and denied at the expense of the poor and underprivileged.
Present in court were four National Executive Committee Members (NEC) of the party and are Comrade Dagga Tolar, Mikailu Tijani, Zira Nuhu and Sani Yankuso and five other comrades and members of the SPN.
Usually, members of the party protest outside the court, whether the court sits or not. Hence, members and leaders of the party decided to continue the protest and decided to match to INEC headquarters in Abuja to express their grievances. As the protest march moved along central road of Maitama somewhere around unity fountain the police stationed there raced towards the protesters in their bullion van. They requested to know what is happing and they were briefed by Dagga who made the point that INEC deliberate refusal to register SPN despite meeting all legal requirements is the reason for the protest. They asked if the protesters have permission from police to embark on protest and Dagga replied that police permission is never required since protest is an inalienable democratic right.
After the argument went on for minutes the police officers had to call their Superior officers (Abiodun Alamatu and A.A Hassan) who came and appealed to us to end the protest. The protest was terminated after protesting the police undemocratic position.
One good aspect of the protest is that SPN members had marched for over thirty minutes on major roads in Abuja with many passerby reading our placards and banners. However, this is the first time a protest was carried out on the street of Abuja over INEC’s refusal to register SPN. Some of the inscription on the placards and the banner are: “protest continues until our certificate is issued to us; INEC’s agenda is to reserve politics solely for the rich; SPN has met all legal requirement, register it now!; INEC must respect the law etc.”
The party has resolved to continue the protest and consolidate on the October 24 and 31, 2016 protests including all other forms of political actions.
The truth is that no matter how long the victory is near!