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Civil society groups kick as police ban rally against insecurity

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• ‘We‘ll shut down nation if menace, hardship continue
A Coalition of civil societies in Osun State has flayed the police for banning protest against insecurity and hike in food prices across the country.

Some concerned groups in the state had planned to stage a protest on Wednesday against killings, banditry and hardship in the country but the state Police Command warned against any form of assembly in the state.

In a statement signed by the command’s spokesperson, Superintendent of Police (SP) Yemisi Opalola, in Osogbo, the Police said intelligence revealed that some people are planning to embark on “unlawful gathering/protest to show their grievances concerning an ill-conceived perception of insecurity and hike in food prices in the state.”

The statement quoted the Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode, advising those planning the protest to forget it and warned that the command would not condone any act that would jeopardise the existing relative peace and tranquility presently being enjoyed in the state.

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Olokode noted that the spate of insecurity being experienced is nationwide and not peculiar to Osun State and to this end, no protest should hold.

He further said that gathering of any sort is unlawful and a violation of COVID-19 laws.

The CP, therefore, appealed to all parents and guardians to warn their children to desist from any act(s) capable of causing the breach of peace in the state.

BUT speaking with The Guardian, yesterday, Chairman of the coalition in the state, Waheed Lawal, expressed displeasure at the decision of the police to ban protest, which he described as the fundamental right of Nigerians.

While bemoaning the spate of insecurity and growing hunger in the nation, the human rights activist threatened that civil societies would mobilise and shut the country should governments fail to address the issues.

Lawal said: “For now, we don’t have protest but what police are saying is rubbish. They cannot take our fundamental rights away from us. Protest is part of democracy. What we are witnessing today as democracy was brought about by the struggle of our people. So, a commissioner of police or any other officer of the law cannot take it from us. Protest is our fundamental right and whenever we want to come up, we will come out. We don’t fear them and they can’t stop us. If we are ready, we will hit the street.”

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