The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has ordered that Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) in South Eastern states of the country put personnel and equipment on red alert ahead of planned protest by some Biafran groups.
The Police also warned the groups; the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Biafra Independence Movement (BIM) and other like groups not to embark on its planned protest.
The group which plans on embarking on a protest on the 30th of May has also ordered market closure and restrictions of vehicular movements.
The Police said it sees the activities of the groups as unlawful, highly provocative and capable of causing breach of the peace currently being enjoyed in the South East States and other States of the Federation.
This is contained in a statement in Abuja Friday by the Force Spokesman, CSP Jimoh Moshood.
The statement reads: “The Nigeria Police Force is deeply concerned with the security implications with regards to the renewed hostilities and subversive propagandas aimed at undermining law and order in some States of the Federation by these groups, their associates, sponsors, apologists and sympathizers.
“Consequently, the Commissioners of Police in the affected States and their supervising Assistant Inspectors General of Police, have been directed by the Inspector General of Police to be strict, polite, civil and firm in dealing with the situation and put all the Police Personnel and Police Anti-Riot equipment on red alert to deal decisively in accordance with the law with any eventuality from these groups, that can disrupt commercial activities, vehicular movements and safety of lives and properties in some States of the Federation considered to be flash points which have witnessed the unfortunate disturbance of public peace by these groups in the recent past.”
“The Force sees the activities of these groups as not only unlawful but highly provocative and capable of causing breach of the peace currently being enjoyed in the South East States and other States of the Federation.
“The planned protests and orders of Market closure and illegal unilateral self-imposed restrictions of vehicular movements by these groups in the affected States should be disregarded by all well-meaning Nigerians.”
The statement further reads: “The Police Force is hereby calling (IPOB), (BIM), (MASSOB) to consider the consequences of their actions and activities and without delay and call themselves to order in the interest of National Security, and safety of lives and properties of every Nigerian across the Nation as the full weight of the law will be made to bear on violators of the laws.
“The Force will not hesitate to deal decisively with any group(s) and their sponsors that attempt to cause disturbance of the peace or carry out any unlawful demonstration, unlawful assembly/procession or gathering and public disobedience that can jeopardise law and order and harmonious co-existence within and amongst Nigerians throughout the country.”
The police while quoting the constitution noted that it was aware of the provision as contained in Sections 38, 39,40 and 41 of the 1999 amended constitution.
“The Nigeria Police Force is not unaware of the rights of every Nigerian to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and freedom of movement, as essentials of democracy provided by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended particularly sections 38, 39, 40 and 41.
“However, these rights must be observed with decorum, in good faith and without violating the rights of other millions of Nigerians to free movements and access to public/private facilities and their means of livelihood on daily basis.
“The Nigeria Police while observing the rights of all Nigerians as stated above is equally conscious of the fact that these rights are not absolute as section 45 of the same Constitution provide for derogations to these rights.
“The fact that freedom of expression as one of the dictates of democracy is being observed by the Police, should not be misconstrued as liberty by any groups for sectional or group interest to violate the laws and cause mayhem, confusion and apprehension in the minds of more than about one hundred and seventy millions of Nigerians.
“The Police will resist actions of any person or group of persons for whatever course that is against the interest of public defence, public safety, public order, public morality and a threat to the rights and freedom of other Nigerians,” it emphasised.”
The Police advised the members of the public to go about their lawful duties and other responsibilities without any fear or apprehension as adequate security arrangements have been put in place for their safety.
Source: The Nation