Organisers of rallies must seek police protection – new Rivers CP

By The Citizen

The new Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Tunde Ogunsakin said any non political associations or pressure groups that intends to hold any public gathering in the State must give the police not less than five days notice to enable the police provide adequate security and protection.

Ogunsakin in his median press briefing in Port Harcourt on Thursday said that “for the purpose of the proper and peaceful conduct of political rallies and procession , the Commissioner of Police in each State of the federation and federal capital Territory , Abuja shall provide adequate security for procession at political rallies in the States and the federal Capital Territory, Abuja”.

He promised to partner with various communities, established institutions and all relevant stakeholders in policing the State and make it peaceful.

His predecessor, Joseph Mbu at the last lap of his reign as Police Commissioner banned all political rallies in the State giving the volatile nature of the State politics as an excuse. The ban elicited angry reactions across the State as politicians accused the former Police COP of being biased.

But Ogunsakin said the ban on political rallies remained in force, adding that the constitution stipulates that political parties are not allowed to carry out any political activities until 90 before the election.

“It is a known fact that human beings generally are political animals and in multi party system of government as we have in Nigeria , people must have different political leanings based on the political party they belong. Therefore my role as a law enforcement Officer in a situation like this is to insist that political activities in the State should be carried within the ambit of law and in a way that the security of the State will not be threatened in any manner”

“In accordance with section 99 (1) of the electoral Act, political rallies are not allowed to hold or commence in any part of Nigeria until 90 days preceding the date of the elections and Rivers State should not be an exception”

“The said section provides as follows “for the purpose of this Electoral Acts, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day” he said.

The new CP also sent a stern warning to criminal elements in the state to change their ways and become good citizens or they should leave the state entirely as his administration will make the state hot for them.