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Nationwide Strike: We won’t tolerate violent protests, IGP reads riot act to NLC, TUC

The acting Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, has warned the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress, TUC, against violent protest.


The union had recently directed all its affiliates and state councils to mobilise workers across the country for a mass protest on August 2, over the removal of the fuel subsidy.


But in a statement issued on Tuesday by the force public relations officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, the IGP expressed concern over the recent developments in the country.


He said any attempts to hijack the protest would be met with stiff gloves.


While recognising the constitutional right to peaceful protests, Mr Egbetokun appealed to the union leaders to ensure the demonstrations remain peaceful and not be hijacked by miscreants.


The statement reads,” 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 labour 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.


“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.


Mr Adejobi expressed the force’s commitment to ensuring the safety and security of all citizens during the period of the planned protests, assuring that all necessary measures to facilitate the peaceful conduct of these demonstrations have been put in place.


“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 commensurately 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, professional, and uphold the highest standards of conduct during this period,” the statement added.


The police boss urged all stakeholders, including the NLC, TUC, and other civil society groups, to embrace peaceful dialogue as the most effective means of resolving grievances.


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