The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris has finally cleared the air on the issue of banning of peaceful protest anywhere in the country especially the Federal capital territory. According to a statement from the office of the Force public Relations officer, DCP
Donald Awunah, “The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K Idris wishes to state categorically that at no time did Nigeria Police Force place a ban on peaceful public protest/procession anywhere in Nigeria most particularly Federal Capital Territory. Peaceful Public protest/procession is an integral part of democratic norms in as much as it conforms with the rule of law and public order”
He further stressed that the Nigeria Police Force recognises the constitutional rights of every law abiding citizen to express his or her view through public protest/procession and other legitimate means. In order to ensure that public protest/procession is not hijacked by hoodlums and miscreants to unleash mayhem and disturbance of public peace, persons or group of persons undertaking public protest/procession should endeavour to notify the police to enable the police protect and process the public procession through designated routes and destinations. However, he warned that the Police will not condone any protest/procession on the public highways and roads inhibiting or disallowing public freedom and right of way. “The Inspector General of Police is committed to the principles of democratic policing and adherence to international best practices in public order management. To this end, State Commissioners of Police and Police Commanders are directed to emplace strategies to protect and facilitate lawful public protest/processions as well as protect other members of the public who are not engaged in any form of public protest/procession”, he concludes.