The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Idris, says police have not banned public protest even though they restricted the Bring Back Our Girls group from protesting to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
A statement from Force Headquarters, signed by DCP Don Awunah, quoted the IGP as saying: “Categorically, at no time did Nigeria Police Force place a ban on peaceful public protest/procession anywhere in Nigeria, particularly the Federal Capital Territory”. The statement continued: “Peaceful public protest/procession is an integral part of democratic norms in as much as it conforms with the rule of law and public order. “The Nigeria Police Force recognises the constitutional rights of every law abiding citizen to express his or her view through public protest/procession and other legitimate means. “In order to ensure that public protest/procession is not hijacked by hoodlums and miscreants to unleash mayhem and disturbance of public peace, persons or group of persons undertaking public protest/procession should endeavour to notify the police to enable the police protect and process the public procession through designated routes and destinations. “However, the police will not condone any protest/procession on the public highways and roads inhibiting or disallowing public freedom and right of way. “The Inspector General of Police is committed to the principles of democratic policing and adherence to international best practices in public order management. “To this end, State Commissioners of Police and Police Commanders are directed to emplace strategies to protect and facilitate lawful public protest/processions as well as protect other members of the public who are not engaged in any form of public protest/procession.”