Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike Monday evening shocked Nigerians, issuing a statement prohibiting protests planned for today, within the state.
In the statement, the Rivers State Government said this development is in keeping with the already approved ban of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad(SARS).
Wike further warned that Law enforcement agencies have been directed to ensure that the ban is enforced and that violators are brought to book.
Recall that the protests were triggered by several reports and videos of police brutality, with SARS taking center stage as being particularly harmful to citizens.
Many have opposed Wike’s command, insisting that peaceful protests are a fundamental right.
“Governor Wike HAS NO power whatsoever to ban #EndSARS protests or any peaceful protest for that matter,” a nonprofit legal firm, SERAP Nigeria has said.
“We’ll see Mr Wike in court if he uses Nigeria Police/law enforcement agents to intimidate and harass Nigerian citizens simply for peacefully exercising their human rights”, the agency further warned.
Wike’s statement, signed by Paulinus Nsirim, Commissioner for Information and Communications, reads:
GOVERNMENT SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT
The Rivers State Government hereby wish to inform the general public that all forms of protests have been banned throughout the State.
Therefore, all proposed protests under #EndSARS Campaign are hereby prohibited.
Government took this decision because the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, had already scrapped the Special Anti-Robbery Squad.
Therefore, there is no need for any form of protest against a Unit of the Police Force that no longer exists.
Parents and Guardians are therefore advised to ensure that their children or wards do not violate this order.
Law enforcement agencies are also directed to ensure that the ban is enforced and that violators are brought to book.