By Anayo Onukwugha, Port Harcourt
Security operatives, especially the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), have taken over the two main entrances into the Rivers State Government House in Port Harcourt, following threats by organizers of the #EndSARS protest to go ahead with the protest.
The state government had in a statement released late Monday night banned any form of protests in the stare, urging parents and guardians to advice their children and wards not to participate in the planned protest.
But, in a statement released early Tuesday morning, Chairman of the Rivers State Civil Societies Organization, Enefaa Georgewill insisted that the protest would go on despite the threats from the state government.
However, LEADERSHIP observed that fierce looking security operatives took over the main entrances into the Government House, Port Harcourt as early as 4:30am with eight patrol vehicles.
It was also observed that another eight patrol vehicles were stationed at the Pleasure Park, located along Port Harcourt-Aba Road, which was to served as takeoff point for the protesters.
Also, another six patrol vehicles were stationed at the front of Isaac Boro Park, the traditional takeoff points for labour and civil society protests in the state while six patrol vehicles were stationed around the Police headquarters, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the protesters had planned to march from the Pleasure Park, through Isaac Boro Park and Government House, before terminating at the Police headquarters where they were to hand over a letter to the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan.
Recall that the state government, had in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, said the protest was no longer meaningful following the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu.
The statement reads in part: “The Rivers State Government hereby wish to inform the general public that all forms of protests have been banned throughout the State. Therefore, all proposed protests under #End SARS Campaign are hereby prohibited.
“Government took this decision because the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had already scrapped the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
“Therefore, there is no need for any form of protest against a Unit of the Police Force that no longer exists.
“Parents and Guardians are therefore advised to ensure that their children or wards do not violate this order.
“Law enforcement agencies are also directed to ensure that the ban is enforced and that violators are brought to book.”