The Rivers State Police Command has warned that henceforth, any political group holding a gathering in the state without security clearance will be dispersed.
The warning is coming on the heels of series of protests and counter-protests over the appointment of an administrative chief judge for the state by the National Judicial Council and the amendment of the State High Court Amendment Law.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, in a statement on Thursday, said that the need for the clearance became necessary following police intelligence reports that a group is aiming to disrupt the meetings of a rival group in order to cause serious crisis in the state.
“It is in this regard that it has become mandatory to obtain security clearance from my office before any political rally can hold”, Mr. Ogunsakin said.
“Henceforth, any group, persons or political parties of whatever persuasion who flouts this directive to embark on demonstrations or processions without security clearance will be removed from the road.
“Consequently, security clearance will only be given after the Police have conducted a security analysis and evaluation of the security situation and intelligence at its disposal. It is after we have given security clearance that the Police can put in place adequate security mechanisms to prevent any form of breakdown of law and order.
“It is important to state this can effectively be done when all personal and group interests are not placed above the security of the state and its people.
“I will be consulting shortly with the heads of all the political parties and groups in the state. This is to enable us evaluate the situation on ground and see if there are grey areas that we can brainstorm over with a view to arriving at a common ground in the interest of all”, Mr. Ogunsakin said.
Mr. Ogunsakin added that groups requesting for the security clearance must give the police five days’ notice to enable them provide adequate security and protection.
The Rivers State police boss further reiterated the ban on political campaigns in line with the Electoral Act, which states that political parties’ campaign shall not commence before 90 days to election and not later than 24 hours to election day.