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Police Warn Against Violent Protests on Democracy Day

Nigerian Police Emphasize Peaceful Celebrations for Democracy Day

by Motoni Olodun

As Nigeria prepares to celebrate Democracy Day, the Nigeria Police Force has issued a stern warning against violent demonstrations and unlawful gatherings. The police emphasized their commitment to ensuring peace and order during the national holiday, which commemorates the country’s return to civilian rule.

In a recent statement, the police urged citizens to honor Democracy Day peacefully, respecting the law and the rights of others. The warning comes amid concerns about potential unrest, with various groups planning to hold protests to voice their grievances. The police have assured the public that they are taking all necessary precautions to maintain safety and security.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba emphasized that while the right to peaceful assembly is constitutionally guaranteed, any form of violence, disruption, or destruction of property will not be tolerated. He urged organizers of protests to ensure that their activities are peaceful and lawful, cautioning that security forces would be deployed to manage any disorderly conduct.

The IGP reiterated that the police are not against peaceful protests but are duty-bound to protect lives and property. He called on citizens to cooperate with law enforcement agencies and report any suspicious activities that could threaten public safety.

This year’s Democracy Day marks 25 years since Nigeria’s transition from military rule to a democratic government, a milestone reflecting the nation’s enduring commitment to democratic principles. However, it also comes at a time of heightened tensions and public dissatisfaction over various socio-economic and political issues.

Recent events have seen an increase in public protests over issues such as security, economic hardship, and governance. The End SARS movement, which erupted in 2020 to protest police brutality, is one of the prominent examples of the public’s willingness to take to the streets to demand change. The police are mindful of this history and are working to balance the right to protest with the need to maintain public order.

In Lagos, the state Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, echoed the IGP’s message, urging residents to celebrate Democracy Day responsibly. He reassured Lagosians that the police have put in place adequate measures to prevent any breakdown of law and order. Owohunwa emphasized the importance of dialogue and peaceful resolution of disputes, encouraging citizens to use lawful channels to express their concerns.

The police’s proactive stance is part of a broader strategy to ensure that Democracy Day celebrations are not marred by violence. They have engaged with community leaders, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders to promote a peaceful observance of the day. This collaborative approach aims to build trust and cooperation between the police and the communities they serve.

Civil society groups have also played a crucial role in advocating for peaceful demonstrations. Many organizations have issued statements urging their members and the general public to remain calm and law-abiding. These groups recognize the importance of Democracy Day as a symbol of Nigeria’s democratic journey and are keen to see it celebrated without incident.

In conclusion, the Nigeria Police Force’s warning against violent protests on Democracy Day underscores the importance of maintaining peace and order during this significant national event. By encouraging peaceful celebrations and lawful expressions of dissent, the police and the public can work together to honor the spirit of democracy and ensure a safe and secure environment for all.

Source: tribuneonlineng.com

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