Nigeria has banned rallies by the group Bring Back Our Girls that demands greater effort to rescue the schoolgirls kidnapped by the Takfiri militant group Boko Haram.
Police in the capital Abuja said on Monday that the demonstrations pose a serious threat to “national security”.
The protesters are incensed over the government’s new decision and its alleged inability to resolve the mass abduction crisis, now in its seventh week.
“The decision to ban the protest is insane. We are going to court as soon as possible to challenge the ban. The ban is illegal,” the group’s lawyer, Femi Falana, said.
“It is illegal because a court of competent jurisdiction has ruled in December 2007 that no police permit is needed to stage a peaceful protest anywhere in Nigeria,” Falana added.
On April 14, Boko Haram abducted 276 students from their secondary school in the northeastern town of Chibok, later threatening to “sell” the girls.
Reports say 57 of the girls managed to escape but 219 are still missing.
The Nigerian government has been under intense pressure by many people around the globe especially the girls’ families to secure their release.
Boko Haram — whose name means “Western education is forbidden” — says its goal is to overthrow the Nigerian government.
It has claimed responsibility for a number of deadly gun and bomb attacks in various parts of Nigeria since 2009.
Over the past four years, violence in the north of Africa’s most populous country has claimed the lives of more than 3,600 people.