Contrary to Thursday’s warning by the Nigerian Police, the Federal Government, on Friday said it would not prevent Nigerians from expressing themselves, in apparent reference to the anti-government protest planned by popular music star, Innocent Idibia, (2Face Idibia) to hold in Lagos.
In two tweets, Friday morning, Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant (Media & Publicity) to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, peace protest is “a fundamental right of the people.
“This administration will not prevent Nigerians from expressing themselves in peaceful protests,” he stressed, noting that “no government has ever laid out the kind of Social Investment Programme, the (Muhammadu) Buhari government is now running across the nation, that will touch millions.”
In a video posted on his Facebook account on Tuesday, popular Afro-pop artiste, 2Face Idibia, urged Nigerians to join in a “peaceful and articulate manner” for the Monday, February 6, march, lamenting that “the need for urgent solutions to the challenges facing Nigerians has become very clear.”
Ayodele Fayose, governor of Ekiti State and chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Governors Forum; and Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, a popular lawyer and human rights activist have decried the police stance on the protest, insisting that Nigerians have a right to freedom of expression.
But Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, says the command will not let the protest hold in its domain, alluding to intelligence report that criminals could hijack the process to wreak havoc.
According to Owoseni, “Information reaching us revealed that some hoodlums are planning to hijack the peaceful protest and as such, we won’t allow it to hold in Lagos.
“We know that Tuface does not have the capacity to contain such a crowd and we will not fold our hands and watch while things go out of hand,” Owoseni added.
He stressed that “no matter how good an intention is, hoodlums would always find a way to harass, rob and attack innocent members of the public who may wish to go about their lawful duties.