The Inspector General of Police, IGP, Solomon Arase, has read the riot act to pro-Biafran youths holding mass protests in some states, especially in the South East geo-political zone, warning them to stop threatening public peace or face the full wrath of the law.
A statement issued on Wednesday by the Force Public Relations Officer, Olabisi Kolawole, said the warning was sequel to the Nigeria Police leadership’s observation of the increasing resort to “acts of brigandage” by those it termed “sets of misguided individuals”, hiding under the guise of the Movement for Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra and Indigenous People of Biafra to threaten national security and public peace in parts of the South East and neighbouring states.
Kolawole, an acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, said the latest indication of this threat to national security was the attempt by the Pro-Biafran youths to blockade the Onitsha end of Niger Bridge on Tuesday, an action she noted caused major hardship to innocent and law abiding motorists, and citizens.
“The act also occasioned serious dislocation of business activities”, the Force spokesperson added.
The statement said IGP Arase viewed the increasing resort to acts of brigandage of this nature as a clear attempt by the brains behind these protests to test the will of security agencies to restore order and guarantee internal cohesion.
“For the avoidance of doubts, the IGP further notes, the restoration and maintenance of law and public order, and protection of lives and property remain sacred and statutory Mandate of the Nigeria Police. This Mandate, according to him, shall be fully executed in the overriding interests of the nation and vast majority of citizens and residents of the South East geopolitical Zone.
“Consequently, the Inspector-General of Police has directed the mobilisation and deployment of Police Mobile Force (PMF) across the country to reinforce security in the State Commands that MASSOB and IPOB are currently attempting to utilise as launching pad for their sinister intentions.
“The Assistant Inspectors – General of Police Zone 5, (Benin); Zone 6, (Calabar) and Zone 9 (Umuahia) as well as all Commissioners of Police in the affected States in the South East and neigbouring States have also been directed to henceforth maximally exercise their statutory Mandate in relation to prevention and disruption of any gathering that threatens public order and national cohesion.
“Any person or group of persons so arrested in furtherance to the enforcement of this order will be made to face the full wrath of the law”, the statement read.
To this end, ACP Kolawole reiterated the IG’s advice to parents and guardians to call their children and wards to order as the patience of the Force is being stretched to the limit.
“He firmly affirmed that no individual or group interest can override the interest of the nation and that democratic values provide for exploration of rule of law to advance any concern, not the resort to endless and misguided acts of brigandage, unless there is an ulterior motive as the extant instance tends to dictate.
“He concluded by asserting that the Nigeria Police Force will not fold its law enforcement arms to allow few misguided elements to continually force hardships on fellow Nigerians either in the South East or any other part of the nation for that matter”, Kolawole said.