The Force Headquarters on Tuesday downplayed the ban placed on individuals and groups protesting the April 14 abduction of over 200 schoolgirls by Boko Haram insurgents from their hostel in Chibok, Borno State, saying the purported order by the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Joseph Mbu, was only ‘advisory’.
Mr. Mbu on Monday, issued an order banning protests and rallies within the capital territory claiming they were beginning to pose security threats.
In a terse statement yesterday, the FCT police boss said: “You will recall that the first peaceful protest on the “BRING BACK OUR GIRLS” (Chibok) took place on the 28th April, 2014 which I took part in the procession until when the Senate President and Speaker addressed them.
“The protest continued and on the 22nd May, 2014, they were again addressed by over ten ministers, SGF and others. They are still unrelenting; the group has now shifted to Maitama Amusement Park. This area is very close to the residence of diplomats.
“Again a new group, ‘RELEASE OUR GIRLS’ suddenly emerged and started the same protest, it has degenerated to the extent that they are now selling and cooking at the Unity Fountain.
“The trend is now posing a serious security threat to those living around and citizens who drive through. We are all aware of what happened on Monday – 01/06/2014 in Mubi, Adamawa State.
“As the FCT Police boss, I cannot fold my hands and watch this lawlessness. Information reaching us is that too soon dangerous elements will join the groups under the guise of protest and detonate explosive aimed at embarrassing the government.
“Accordingly, protests on the Chibok girls are hereby banned with immediate effect. I urge all to encourage our security agencies in this war and appreciate them for the sacrifices we have made and are still making”.
But the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, said on Tuesday that the restriction order was only advisory.
He added that the Nigeria Police under his leadership has not issued any order banning peaceful assemblies and protests in any part of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the IG at a press briefing today, the Force Public Relations Officer, CSP Frank Mba, said Mbu’s action must have been precipitated by the prevailing state of insecurity in the country.