Dr. Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, the Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), has expressed his profound concern regarding the upcoming nationwide protests that have been announced by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The IGP in a release by the Force Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the police acknowledged the grievances of the labor unions, but would not allow miscreants and hoodlums to hijack the protests and disturb the peace of the country.
“While being mindful of the right to peaceful protest, as enshrined in our Constitution, the IGP urges all parties involved to ensure that the planned demonstrations are conducted in a peaceful manner to prevent being hijacked by miscreants, owing to the previous ugly experiences of such protests in most major cosmopolitan cities in the country.
“The IGP, however, acknowledges the grievances raised by the labor unions and the importance of constructive dialogue, which is sine qua none, in addressing these issues.
“In light of this, the IGP orders the Commissioners of Police in charge of various commands, and supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police, to engage in fruitful discussions with the NLC/TUC leadership to foster understanding and reach common grounds on the planned protests,” the police release said.
“A peaceful and coordinated approach is crucial to achieving meaningful solutions and preventing any form of violence or disruptions to public order, should the protests persist.
“The Nigeria Police Force reiterates its commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all citizens during the period of the planned protests as all necessary measures to facilitate the peaceful conduct of these demonstrations have been emplaced. However, it is hereby reaffirmed that any attempt by miscreants to exploit the situation for violent purposes viz-a-viz vandalism, gangsterism, and extortion will be met with a firm, professional, and commensurate lawful approach.
“The Police will not tolerate any act that threatens the peace and well-being of our country. In light of the potential challenges posed by the planned protests, the Nigeria Police Force is fully prepared to deploy all available resources to maintain law and order and to protect the lives and property of our citizens. The IGP, therefore, calls on all officers to be vigilant, and professional, and uphold the highest standards of conduct during this period.
Additionally, the IGP urged all stakeholders, including the NLC, TUC, and civil society groups, to choose peaceful dialogue as the most effective means of addressing grievances.
He reassured them of the Police’s commitment to maintaining a secure environment conducive to open dialogue and constructive engagement.