‘We withdrew the executive order for the sake of peace’- Salami
On Saturday, August 13, 2022, the hall executive council withdrew the executive order it passed, to place restrictions on noise making from religious and social gatherings within the hall. To this effect, the executive council sent out a notice to inform Brownites about this development. The Hall Chairperson, David Salami, said that this was because there were lots of reactions from different angles against the restrictions placed on gatherings within the hall. He said this was requisite for the peace of ABH.
On Friday, August 5, 2022, the executive council released a notice informing Brownites that:
1. All gatherings for religious purposes should end by or before 1am, apart from those about which the executive council has been informed and for which venues have been duly booked;
2. All gatherings scheduled to hold past 10pm should be held without speakers or loud instruments;
3. All social gatherings, except bonfires and other association events about which the executive council has been duly informed, end by or before 1am;
4. And that none of these events resume before 7am.
It was stated in the notice that this was in no way a violation of Brownites’ freedom of association and gathering, but that these orders were issued for security reasons and because a series of complaints has been lodged by Brownites as regards disturbances issuing from various gatherings within the hall. The order was supposed to be in force for a period of 40 days.
In a discourse with the Hall Chairperson, David Salami, he explained that the executive order was issued because the executive council had received several complaints from Brownites as regards the longstanding issue of noise making within the hall, especially from religious and social gatherings. He said that the order was also passed for security reasons. He explained that this was because the time intruders and thieves are usually caught within the hall is between 5:30am and 7am. Therefore, if restrictions are placed on gatherings between 1am and 7am, it becomes easier to identify who the intruders are.
According to Mr Salami, the Christian bodies reacted to the executive order because it affected some of their programmes, and they felt it was majorly targeted against them. Their stance was that everyone should be allowed to pray at anytime. A meeting was therefore held with the various heads of these bodies at the ABH Secretariat on Monday, August 8, 2022. People present at the meeting were: the Hall Chairperson himself; the Speaker of the ABH Assembly, Oghogho Bazuaye; the SU President; the immediate past Hall Chairperson, Olaoye Jegede and the heads of the religious bodies. The resolution of the meeting was that the Christian religious heads would meet amongst themselves and send a recommendation to the executive council as regards what they want modified in the order.
Also, Mr Salami said that he received dissents from the leaders of the ABH House of Assembly regarding the executive order. He revealed that he had had several informal meetings with some of them on the issue. According to him, they kicked against the order on the following grounds:
1. There is no place for an executive order within the constitution and
2. If a policy binding on all Brownites would be in effect, it must first go through the House.
However, the Hall Chairperson maintains that the executive council is a policymaking body and not everything has to be stated explicitly in the constitution and that a leader should be able to make decisions with discretion as the need arises. The members of the Assembly will meet on Friday, August 19, 2022, to deliberate on this issue.
Mr Salami said that because the backlash was too much, the executive council had to consider withdrawing the order. The executive council met but voted unanimously against withdrawing it. However, the Hall Chairperson took further steps to consult with some “respected personalities” in ABH, and he was advised to withdraw it. In his words, “I decided to take the advice and exercise the Hall Chairperson’s veto power by withdrawing the executive order, as that was the most peaceful thing to do.”