Tony Ita Etim, Port Harcourt
Police have warned against any form of protest and public demonstration in any part of the state. The warning was contained in a police statement signed by Mr. Austin Agbonlahor, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and made available to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Sunday.
According to Agbonlahor, “Information at the disposal of the Rivers State Police Command indicates plans by unknown individuals to hold a Protest March on Monday 13July, 2015 in Port Harcourt Metropolis and other locations in the State against the recent Federal High Court Judgment nullifying the election of the Chairmen of 22 LGAs and the swearing-in of Care-Taker Committees in their stead.
“Similarly, the Command has credible intelligence that the protesters will be countered by another group. This could lead to confrontation with unpleasant consequences.”
The statement observed that the protest marches are meant to register perceived grievances over the Court’s pronouncement and subsequent action of the State Government. Agbonlahor acknowledged “We are in a democracy, where the Rule of Law and the Right to protest are legitimate rights and aspirations.
However, these rights stop where those of the other person begins. “We acknowledge that anyone can hold a legitimate and peaceful protest, it is also fair to admit that the protest planners would not be able to control the process as pro and anti forces, including hoodlums could hijack it and turn the State into a theatre of violence.
“On that basis, we are advising that all aggrieved persons should sheath their swords and toe the path of honour by resorting to legal means to seek redress and justice.”
He recalled that “Rivers State has experienced violence and disruptions to socio-economic life caused apparently by differences in political views.
These have created tension and palpable fear in the minds of the people.” Agbolanhor advised the people that Monday is the beginning of a new working week, every person should be more concerned about working on productive plans that would advance the society and not embark on acts capable of taking the State backwards.”