Barely 24 hours after the FCT Commissioner of Police, Mbu Joseph Mbu announced a ban on protests connected with efforts to secure the release of the more than 200 abducted girls of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno State, Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, yesterday, insisted that the Police did not ban peaceful rallies.
Addressing the media through the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba, the IG said 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.
“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.
“The IGP calls on the general public to see the present position of the Force as a necessary sacrifice for the peace our nation needs, as security is a collective responsibility. 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.
“The threat is currently being investigated. Once we are able to clearly and comprehensively neutralize them, we will say the coast is clear.
“You all will agree that under the leadership of the present Police High Command, we have demonstrated a very strong sense of democratic policing. Police have been escorting demonstrators, but this time around, there is over-riding need to advise against these protests”, Mba said.