· Not against peaceful assembliesThe attention of the Nigeria Police Force High Command has been drawn to several false posts on Facebook and other social media, accusing Police of shooting, maiming and even killing members of the Movement for the Actualisation of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), who have taken their protests to streets, markets and other public places in some eastern states of Nigeria, infringing on the rights and freedom of innocent citizens who were ordinarily going about their lawful businesses.Despite provocation, the Police have maintained and managed the situation with high sense of responsibility and professionalism.
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Solomon E. Arase, fdc, NPM wishes to state that, the Nigeria Police Force is conscious of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association amongst others as enshrined in Chapter Four of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), and cannot afford to maim or kill citizens exercising these rights.
Noting that the Nigeria Police are duty-bound to enforce these rights, the IGP charged Police officers in State Commands to ensure that citizens embarking on rallies and other peaceful demonstrations are provided adequate security in line with the standard operational practice of the Force.
The Inspector-General of Police therefore called on all law abiding citizens to disregard the allegations by these groups, describing their allegations as false and calculated attempt to attract undue attention and sympathy.
Even though the Nigeria Police Force appreciates the freedom and rights of citizens under the Constitution, the groups are strongly advised to respect the rights and freedom of others while exercising theirs.
The IGP, while calling on leadership of Ohanaeze to wade into these superfluous protests, to save the law-abiding and innocent citizens in the affected states from the hardship being melted out by the groups,reminded those embarking on violent protests/assemblies that such actions are criminalised by law, and anybody arrested will be treated as such under the appropriate legislations.