DID THE STUDENTS WHO MARCHED TO STATE HOUSE BREAK THE PROVISION OF THE PUBLIC ORDER ACT? NOT AT ALL!
Debate has generated whether or not the University Students’ Thanksgiving March to STATE HOUSE offended the Public Order Act or indeed the police applied double standards.
This is because, not too long ago, police stopped Dr Brian Sampa’s procession for his failure to inform the Police of such a PROCESSION at least 7 days before yet University Students seemed not to have observed this requirement.
The truth is that the University Students DIDNT BREAK THE LAW AND POLICE DIDNT NOT ACT UNFAIRLY BUT ACTED WITHIN THE EXISTING LAW REGULATING ASSEMBLIES, PROCESSIONS AND DEMONSTRATIONS, AND THE LAW’S PROVISIONS
Section 5(4) of the public Order Act guides that Every person who intends to assemble or convene a public meeting, procession or demonstration shall give police at least seven days notice of that person’s intention to assemble or convene such a meeting, procession or demonstration
However section 5(6) puts an exception to the provisions of subsection 4 by stating that The provisions of subsections (4) and (5) SHALL NOT APPLY to any public meeting CONVENED BY or AT THE REQUEST OF and INTENDED TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE PRES IDENT, the Vice-President or any Minister or Junior Minister or the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly
The Re-introduction of Students’ Meal Allowances Thanksgiving March to STATE HOUSE by the scores of the University Students was INTENDED to by addressed by the President hence his allowing them to march to State House for the PURPOSE.
Any march to STATE HOUSE must be cleared by the PRESIDENT or else it cannot take off or can be disrupted.
No wonder, two presidential assistants, a Cabinent Minister and government officials where at hand to welcome and address the STUDENTS.
In addition, Section 5(7) further directs that Where in any proceedings against a person for an offence against section seven it is necessary so to prove, the burden of proving that the said public meeting was convened by or at the request of and was intended to be addressed by the President or the Vice-President or any Minister or Junior Minister or the Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly shall lie on the accused
In an event that the Police arrested the students for an illegal procession or demonstration, all they needed to prove to the police or court was that march was convened at the request of and was intended to be addressed by the President. Case closed.
Therefore, the DEBATE could have been emanated from ignorance of the law.
FOR AVOIDANCE OF DOUBT, AND BY LAW, ANY MEETING CONVENED OR DEMONSTRATION, PROCESSION/MARCH OR PROTEST CALLED AT THE REQUEST OF OR INTENDED TO BE ADDRESSED BY THE PRES IDENT DO NOT NEED 7 DAYS NOTICE. THESE PROCESSION CAN BE ANY TIME AND SPONTANEOUSLY
Therefore, there was no unfair act committed by the police and no illegalities the University Students.