Police warn Tuface, groups against anti-government protest
• Organisers Insist On Going Ahead
• BBOG Dissociates Self
The Nigeria Police High Command, yesterday, warned Nigerians planning mass protest against the Federal Government to shelve such plans to avoid loss of lives and property.
But organisers of the protest led by hi-hop musician, Innocent Idibia aka Tuface, have insisted on going ahead with the protest slated for tomorrow in Lagos and Abuja.
Idibia, whose foundation, 2Face Foundation, is organising the protest said it would commence at 8am in Lagos and 9am in Abuja, asking participants to wear green attires.
The protest, according to the organisers, was to draw attention to the hardship in the country, and for the various levels of government to urgently address the economic challenges.
Lagos State police boss, Fatai Owoseni had warned against the planned protest, stating that hoodlums might hijack it and wreck havoc on innocent Nigerians. Also, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command said it has not been notified of the protest.
Spokesman of the police, Jimoh Moshood, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) in a statement late on Friday night, said: “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.
“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 recognises the constitutional rights of every citizen (including Tuface and his group) to assemble and move freely in any part of the country.
“The Nigeria Police Force is currently in possession of credible intelligence reports that other interest groups are equally planning to hold a counter protest/marches 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 a breakdown of law and order, with attendant loss of lives and property.”
The statement warned people to stay off any act that would compromise the security of the nation under whatever guise, as the Police would not hesitate to use whatever means possible to maintain the peace of the country.
Meanwhile, Association of Licensed Private Security Practitioners of Nigeria has warned the organisers of the protest to be wary of hoodlums that may want to hijack it to create confusion in the system.
The group of security practitioners said it was not against anyone expressing his views, but must be done within the confines of law. The Chairman of the Association, Mr. Wilson Esangbedo, who disclosed this during a press conference in Lagos, yesterday, said the present prevailing security situation in Nigeria does not encourage the planned anti-government protest at this time because miscreants and hoodlums may hijack the protest and unleash mayhem on members of the public.
Esangbedo said terrorists might see the peaceful protest as a soft target for terrorist activities. Also, the Bring back Our Girls (BBOG) has dismissed insinuation that it is in partnership with the organisers of the protest, saying though the general ideals of the march tallies with the good governance and accountable leadership the BBOG has been advocating for, it is not involved in the planned protest
However, Convener of the group, Dr Oby Ezekwesili said on her twitter handle that the Federal Government or police have no right to repress citizens who have decided to speak out against obnoxious policies.
Her Twitter handle, @obyezeks reads in part: “Please all join in praying for the #IStandWithNigeria Citizens that their march goes well & for the FG that it hears their agitation.”