The office of the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said that peaceful protest is a fundamental right of the people and that the Federal Government will not stop Nigerians from expressing themselves through protest so long as it is not violent.
“This administration will not prevent Nigerians from expressing themselves in peaceful protests, it’s a fundamental right of the people,” Akande said.
The position of the presidency on peaceful protest is coming on the heels of a planned protest in Lagos and Abuja, which is anchored by African Queen Crooner and one of the notable African musicians, Innocent Idibia, also known as Tuface.
Read also: Police vow to clampdown on Tuface’s protest
The statement which was made by the Senior Special Assistant to the acting president on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, on Friday through a series of tweets, is in contrast to the plan by Nigerian police to stop the protest.
Recall that the commissioner of police in Lagos State, Fatai Owoseni had on Thursday hinted that the police will not allow the march go as planned for fear that it might be hijacked by miscreants, who will use the opportunity to perpetuate evil intents.
The police headquarters in Abuja reinforced Owoseni’s position via a statement issued late Friday and signed by police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood, in which it claimed that there was credible intelligence that the demonstration could turn violent.
“Innocent Idibia (a.k.a Tuface) and his group are hereby strongly advised to shelve their planned peaceful protest/demonstration in the interest of peace and security,” the police said.
The statement read as follows:
RE- PLANNED PROTESTS OF TUFACE AND OTHER OPPOSING GROUPS SCHEDULED FOR 5TH AND 6TH FEBRUARY, 2017, IN LAGOS AND OTHER STATES
The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to publications in the media on the planned protests slated for 5th and 6th February, 2017 in Lagos and other States by different groups, one to be led by the popular musician INNOCENT IDIBIA aka TUFACE and other opposing groups.
2. Nigeria Police Force is deeply concerned with the security implications with regard to the planned protest/demonstrations, and as the lead security Agency in the country, is fully aware and recognizes the constitutional rights of every citizen (including Tuface and his group) to assemble and move freely in any part of the country.
3. In this regard, the Force is also cognizant of its constitutional responsibilities of taking any proactive/ preventive security measures:-
i. In the interest of public safety, public order, public morality or public health.
ii. For the purposes of protecting lives and property, as well as the constitutional rights and freedom of other citizens.
4. The Nigeria Police Force is currently in possession of credible intelligence reports that other interest groups are equally planning to hold a counter protest/matches on the same days at the same places/cities as the Tuface Group. If these various planned protests/ demonstrations are held as scheduled, that there may be breakdown of law and order, with attendant loss of lives and property.
5. To this end, the Nigeria Police Force deems it imperative to issue this press release:-
i. That Innocent Idibia (a.k.a Tuface) and his group are hereby advised strongly to shelve their planned peaceful protest/demonstration in the interest of peace and security.
ii. That the other opposing groups are equally advised strongly to shelve its planned counter protest/demonstration in the interest of peace and security.
iii. That the Nigeria Police Force is prepared to employ every possible legal means for the maintenance of law and order; and for the protection of lives and property.
6. Consequently, members of the public, parents and guardians, religious/opinion leaders and other interest groups are strongly advised to prevail on their children and wards, followers and adherents not to allow themselves to be used by any group to cause disturbance of public peace and break down of law and order.
CSP. JIMOH MOSHOOD
FORCE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER,
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears
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