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The ICIR had reported that Nigerians were set to hold a nationwide protest on Saturday to express their grievances against bad governance in the country.
The planned protest was fueled by misgivings over rising insecurity across Nigeria, biting economic challenges as well as attempts by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari to stifle freedom of expression through regulation of the social media.
Delta State Police Command said it would not tolerate any protest in the state on Saturday.
The command said this in a statement released on Friday by the Acting Delta Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Bright Edafe.
The statement said the State Commissioner of Police Ari Ali had warned residents against staging the protest.
According to Ali, the protest was being organised by ‘criminally minded individuals’ who were hiding under the guise of peaceful protest to cause havoc in the state.
“Members of the public particularly residents of Delta State are to be aware that on no account should any group be seen gathering or carrying placards in the name of protest, as such will not be allowed in the state,” the statement read in part.
The Delta State police spokesman noted that officers of the command had been placed on red alert to ‘arrest and deal decisively with any criminally minded elements’ who wished to go against the order.
The statement added that undercover police detectives had been deployed across the state to arrest any person or persons staging any form of protest.
Although the Nigerian Constitution provides Nigerians with the right to peaceful assembly, the police insist that the protest should not hold in the state.
Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria reads: “Every person shall be entitled to assemble freely and associate with other persons, and in particular he may form or belong to any political party, trade union or any other association for the protection of his interests:
“Provided that the provisions of this section shall not derogate from the powers conferred by this Constitution on the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to political parties to which that Commission does not accord.”
During a telephone conversation with The ICIR, FCT PPRO Mariam Yusuf said the police would ensure that the rights of Nigerians were not trampled upon during the June 12 celebration.
When asked about the protest, Yusuf said the police had always ensured that citizens exercised their rights in a manner that would not lead to the breakdown of law and order.
In Ondo state, the police command said it would not allow a repeat of the #EndSARS protest in the state, adding that it was ready to prevent any breakdown of law and order.
The Command’s PPRO Tee Leo-Ikoro said the police were aware that some students had planned to embark on a peaceful protest. However he warned that anyone who intended to cause a breakdown of law and order should have a rethink.
“We are fully on ground and we have deployed our men in all the nooks and crannies of the state to maintain law and order. Any violator will be severely dealt with in accordance with the law.
“We will not fold our arms and watch any protest, under whatever guise, to escalate to the level of the last #EndSARS protest. We will arrest and prosecute anyone found culpable,” Leo-Ikoro said.
Efforts to speak with the Force Public Relations Officer Frank Mba proved abortive as he did not respond to calls and text messages from The ICIR.
The Lagos Command PPRO Muyiwa Adejobi also did not respond to calls and text messages concerning the protest.