THE Inspector General of Police (IGP) has upturned the immediate ban issued by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Commissioner of Police on #BringBackOurGirls protests, saying it is the constitutional right of the protesters.
At a press briefing in Abuja the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) Frank Mba said the “bulk stops at the table of the IGP” and he did not give such directives but rather advised that protests of whatever nature is to be carried out, it will be wiser to seek Police guidance and protection to prevent it from being hijacked by miscreants.
“The Police High Command wishes to inform the general public that the Force has not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies/protests anywhere in Nigeria.”
The IGP, Mohammed Abubakar through the spokesman also stressed “the need for the organizers of such rallies to ensure that they seek proper advice and guidance from the Police before engaging in any such exercise so as to avoid any unpleasant circumstances.”
He said the information on the position of the police high command on the announced ban has become imperative to forestall misconceptions in some quarters that the Force is tampering with the fundamental and democratic human rights of Nigerians as clearly spelt out in the constitution.
“Reminding citizens of the earlier position of the Force on peaceful rallies, which the Police High Command regards as the constitutional and democratic rights of Nigerians…
“It notes however that against the backdrop of current security challenges in the country, coupled with a recent intelligence report of a likely infiltration and hijack of otherwise innocuous and peaceful protests by some criminal elements having links with insurgents, the Police only issued advisory notice, enjoining citizens to apply caution in the said rallies, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs.”
While justifying to Nigerians the present position of the Force as being a necessary sacrifice for the peace the country, the IGP reminded the general public that “security is a collective responsibility of all, consequently, citizens are strongly advised to reconsider their positions on the issues of rallies and protests in FCT until the existing threats are appropriately neutralized and removed from our midst by relevant security agencies”.
While answering questions from journalist Mba said the ultimate authority of the Police flows from the office of the Inspector General of Police and the position of the force has being reiterated from the onset, that the Nigerian Police force is not against peaceful protest, it is the inalienable right of every Nigerian, in line with democratic culture it is their constitutional right, this right can only be derogated by lawfully made laws, equally provided by the constitution.
“We are saying that we are issuing a very strong advisory note to Nigerians, that while we recognise the imperative of protest and the rights to protest, we are appealing that on the basis of the intelligent information available to us of a possible hijack on the possibility that terror elements can hide under the cover of the protesters and attack the very soul of the protest by destroying lives and property.
“We are strongly advising that they reconsider their position. CP Mbu did stated clearly that his actions is based on security imperative and what we are today is to explain the situation.
“The Police under the current administration has demonstrated in very strong tense the tenets of democratic policing where officers escort protesters, protect protesters and officers fighting to ensure peace, however when there are very strong reasons to reconsider, it is our duty to put it in a lighter mood and advise as appropriate. Especially if there are likely consequences ahead, it is our duty to advise”, he explained.
Source: Guardian


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