Police warn against October 1 protests, rallies

The Nigerian police have warned against planned protests and rallies being championed by activist and pro-democracy campaigner, Omoyele Sowore among other self-determination rallies by other groups scheduled to hold today.

In an action christened “National Day of Rage Against Oppression”, Sowore has, for some days, been mobilising Nigerians to take to streets to protest bad governance, poverty, inequality, insecurity, banditry, terrorism, corruption, unemployment, high cost of living, increase in fuel price and electricity tariff.

The build-up to today’s action had seen Sowore via his twitter handle, @YeleSowore, called on Nigerians to join in a mass protest against poor governance and ask for the right to free, quality and compulsory education and healthcare.

In another action to protest alleged killings and bad governance, some South Easterners are expected to yield to the call by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) for them to sit-at-home today.

However, Deputy Inspector Generals of Police, state police commands, in various statements, warned Nigerians against such gatherings, protests or rallies, which was termed illegal.

Speaking in Ibadan on Wednesday, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Leye Oyebade warned individuals who might be planning to stage rallies to have a rethink and desist.

He, however, said the police would ensure there is adequate security for the citizens across the South-West geo-political zone to ensure people have a peaceful independence celebration.

In the same vein, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Department of Information and Communication Technology, Celestine Okoye also tasked men of the Nigerian police to maintain law and order in the state and repel any forces that can disintegrate Nigeria.

He further sounded a note of warning that officers and men of the Command must act within the ambit of the law in every situation.

Similarly, the Lagos state Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu warned against any rally or protest in the state.

A statement by the command’s image maker, Muyiwa Adejobi, said Odumosu had directed officers and men of the command not to allow any rally or protest in any part of the state.

Odumosu further urged parents and guardians to warn their children and wards to desist from participating in any rallies, protests or be mobilized to wage war against the government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, else they (parents or guardians) of any youths arrested for such activities will be prosecuted.

The Lagos Commissioner of Police consequently appealed to the general public to be law-abiding, desist from violence and any act that is capable of disrupting the sovereignty of Nigeria.

A similar message was also issued by the Sokoto command of the Nigerian police, with a specific warning that no group had been given permission to protest in the state.

Asked on a planned protest tagged under the tag, RevolutionNow, state Public Relations Officer, Abubakar Sadiq said, “I know very well that no group(s) have the permission of the State Command to hold any procession of any kind under any nomenclature, please.”

Tribune Online recalled that the convener of the group in Sokoto, Commerade Ajisafe Folake while speaking with our correspondent in Sokoto declared the intention of the group.

According to her, “This is a protest against bad governance in the country and is coming up in all the thirty-six (36) states of the federation including Abuja.

“We have our right for peaceful protest under the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, so we don’t need any further clearance from the police.

“I want to assure police that we are coming out in a peaceful manner tomorrow to protest and demand good governance.” She added.

Earlier, the Oyo state police command disclosed that it had deployed its tactical teams, including the Special Anti-robbery Squad, (SARS), Anti-Kidnapping Squad, (AKS), Swift Response Squad (SRS), Police Mobile Force 4 and72, Skynet Squad, Puff Adder, Federal and Safer Highway Patrol teams, Counter-Terrorism Squad, (CTU), among others across the state to provide adequate security during the October 1 Independence Day celebration.

The Commissioner of Police, Joe Nwachukwu Enwonwu, in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday by the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Olugbenga Fadeyi, said: “The command was battle-ready for any individual or groups that may want to cause any form of threat to the peaceful coexistence that the state is enjoying.”

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