The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has said that it has not banned peaceful protests and rallies anywhere in the country.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Force Spokesman, DCP Don Awunah on Friday.
This is coming after the Force came under intense criticisms from the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Advocacy Group, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, and Human Rights Activist, Femi Falana, for saying that the BBOG protesters are constituting a threat to public peace and order, and that it will be forced to take proactive steps to prevent breakdown of law and order.
The statement read:
The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM, mni wishes to state categorically that at no time did Nigeria Police Force place a ban on peaceful public protest/procession anywhere in Nigeria most particularly Federal Capital Territory.
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 (put strategies in place) 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.