The Nigerian police force has warned pro-Biafran agitators in the country to take caution over their planned protests in some parts of the country.
In a statement on Friday, Jimoh Moshood, force public relations officer, urged the agitators to call themselves to order and desist from disrupting public safety and peace.
The groups, including the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), the Biafran Independence Movement (BIM), the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), have ordered the closure of markets in the south-east and south-south as part of a planned protest on May 30.
The protest is part of activities marking the annual ‘Biafra Remembrance Day’.
Moshood urged members of the public to disregard the order and go about their normal business.
He said that state police commissioners have been directed “to be strict, polite, civil and firm” in dealing with any eventuality that may result from the planned protests.
“The Nigerian police force sees the activities of these groups as not only unlawful but highly provocative and capable of causing breach of the peace currently being enjoyed in the south-east states and other states of the federation,” he said.
“The commissioners of police in the affected states and their supervising assistant inspectors general of police, have been directed by the inspector general of police to put all the police personnel and police anti-riot equipment on red alert to deal decisively in accordance with the law with any eventuality from these groups, that can disrupt commercial activities, vehicular movements and safety of lives and property in some states of the federation considered to be flash/vulnerable points which have witnessed the unfortunate disturbance of public peace by these groups in the recent past
“The force is not unaware of the rights of every Nigerian to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association and freedom of movement. However, these rights must be observed with decorum, in good faith and without violating the rights of other millions of Nigerians to free movements and access to public/private facilities and their means of livelihood on daily basis.
“Consequently, the police will resist the action(s) of any person or group of persons for whatever course that is against the interest of public defence, public safety, public order, public morality and a threat to the rights and freedom of other Nigerians.
“As a result, the police force is hereby calling on these groups to consider the consequences of their actions and activities and without delay and call themselves to order in the interest of national security as the full weight of the law will be made to bear on violators of the laws.”
Source: The Cable