The Nigeria Police High Command has disowned the commissioner of police in the Nigeria’s FCT, Mbu Joseph Mbu who announced the banning of any form of protests by Nigerians over the abduction, by Boko Horom, of female students of the Federal Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok in Borno state since April 14. Mbu announced the ban yesterday in Abuja, threatening that there was no going back, describing the protests as lawlessness.
But, in statement by the Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, CSP Frank Mba, the High Command said: “the Police High Command wishes to inform the general public that the Force has not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies anywhere in Nigeria.”
The Force PRO said that the command only issued what he called ‘advisory notice, enjoining citizens to apply caution in their rallies, particularly in the Federal Capital Territory and its environs.
The advisory notice has become necessary, he said, against the backdrop of current security challenges in the country, coupled with a recent intelligent report of a likely infiltration and hijack of otherwise innocuous and peaceful protests by some criminals having links with insurgents.
The police spokesman said however that the police high authorities, recognizing the constitutional and democratic rights of Nigerians to peaceful rallies, have called on the organizers of rallies to ensure they seek proper advice and guidance from the police before engaging in such exercise to avoid any unpleasant circumstances.
“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.
“Meanwhile, the IGP reassures citizens of the commitment of the Force to the protection of lives and property and advancing the course of democracy in Nigeria,” Mba said. [myad]