The Nigerian Police, yesterday, said it would not allow the anti-government protest planned by popular music star, Innocent Idibia, (2Face Idibia) to hold in Lagos, just as Ekiti State Governor and Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Governors Forum, Mr Ayodele Fayose; lawyer and human rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa; among other Nigerians, insisted that Nigerians have a right to freedom of expression.
The popular Afro-Pop artiste, 2Face Idibia, had earlier in the week, called for the support of his fans and colleagues via his social media platforms to join his march against the crippling economic state of the nation. The protest is slated for February 6, 2017.
In a video posted on his Facebook account on Tuesday, 2Face urged Nigerians to come out in a “peaceful and articulate manner” for the march, adding that “the need for urgent solutions to the challenges facing Nigerians has become very clear. Things are not getting better for the majority, we are still where we are, poor and desperate. I will no longer be quiet.” The group coordinating the protest, @EiENigeria, wrote in its Twitter handle: “In view of the latest police update, how do we proceed with the march? Protest continues as planned. #IStandWiithNigeria. Our leaders owe us their ears too and they must hear us. This march is about connecting the government with the citizens.”
However, the police has threatened to arrest him if the planned protest comes up. Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, said the command will not let the protest hold in the city. Owoseni said intelligence reports indicates that criminals might hijack the process to wreak havoc in Lagos. He said: “Information reaching us revealed that some hoodlums are planning to hijack the peaceful protest and at 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 said. According to him, “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. Owoseni had earlier said, the protest planners have not officially notified the police of their plan, stressing that the police encourage civil society groups to inform the force anytime they want to stage a protest because of their safety and that of others, as hoodlums seize such medium to perpetrate evil. The Police, however, threatened to arrest the singer if he dares hold the protest.
Meanwhile, Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose has reacted to the commissioner statement, stating that
In his words, Fayose said, “the duty of the police to secure Nigerians is mandatory, not optional. Therefore, if there is any intelligence report suggesting the possibility of criminals hijacking the process, it is the duty of the police to provide security cover for the protesters.” In a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor
Fayose noted that the present government should realize that the planned protest is about leadership accountability and government should listen to public opinion