Justice Bello Jawu of a High Court sitting in Abuja has struck out a suit filed by Mr. Kenechukwu Okeke, who is a human rights activist. The case was filed against Davido, Aisha Yesufu, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, and 47 other celebrities and activists due to their activities during the October 2020 EndSARS protests.
Justice Bello who delivered the ruling on Friday, July 2, restrained the Nigeria Police Force and Okeke from any action to prosecute the individuals for their roles during the EndSARS protest which happened in October.
In the suit, he alleged that the defendants acted in a manner “with intent to assist in the promotion of an unlawful assembly under the guise or composition of EndSARS”.
Recall that Mr. Kenechukwu Okeke had in November 2020 filed criminal proceedings against 50 persons over claims they promoted the October 2020 EndSARS protests.
Some of the 50 names listed in the suit include Aisha Yesufu, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, Tuface, Kanu Nwankwo, Davido, Banky W, Uche Jombo, Kiki Mordi, Falz, Yul Edochie, Flavour, Yemi Alade, Peter Okoye, Pastor Sam Adeyemi, Paul Okoye, Burna Boy, Modupe “Moe” Odele, and many more.
The celebrities had, however, filed a suit before a magistrate’s court, seeking the dismissal of the charges, while Okeke had filed a counter-motion seeking dismissal of their countersuit. The magistrate’s court, had, in its ruling, ordered the commissioner of police in FCT to investigate the defendants and report back to the court after two weeks.
However, in the ruling delivered on Friday, Justice Kawu ruled that the suit filed by Deji Adeyanju in his representative capacity is proper, adding that the high court is acting in its supervisory jurisdiction over the magistrate’s court against the criminal proceedings filed by Okeke.
Samuel Ihensekhien, counsel for Adeyanju and 49 other EndSARS protesters while reacting to the judgement, said the ruling shows that peaceful protest is legal and not a crime in Nigeria.
“By virtue of today’s ruling, his motion of dismissal of this substantive case has been dismissed by the honourable FCT high court,” he said.
The court adjourned the case till September 7.