The Acting Inspector-General of Police, Dr. Kayode Adeolu Egbetokun, has expressed concern over the impending nationwide protests announced by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).
While recognizing the constitutional right to peaceful protests, Egbetokun appealed to the unions to ensure that “the demonstrations remain peaceful and not be hijacked by miscreants.”
The appeal followed the insistence of the organized labor on Monday, July 31 to go ahead with its planned protest over the removal of petroleum subsidy despite plea from the Senate.
Persecondnews reports that NLC had given the Federal Government an ultimatum to rescind the fuel subsidy removal or face a nationwide strike beginning from Wednesday, August 2, 2023.
In its response, the Senate on Monday directed its leadership to meet with the Federal Government and the NLC to avert the impending nationwide strike.
The IGP, while acknowledging the labour unions’ grievances in a statement on Tuesday, emphasized the importance of constructive dialogue in resolving the issues.
He, however, directed the Commissioners of Police across various commands and supervisory Assistant Inspectors-General of Police to engage with the NLC and TUC leadership to find common ground regarding the protests.
Egbetokun reiterated the commitment of the Nigeria Police to ensuring the safety and security of citizens during the protests.
He further affirmed that the Police would not tolerate any act of vandalism, gangsterism, or extortion that would threaten public peace and order.
On the potential security challenges the planned protests might pose, the IGP also ordered a watertight security strategy across the country and called on all police officers to remain vigilant, professional, and uphold the highest standards of conduct.
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.
Egbetokun reassured them of the Police’s commitment to maintaining a secure environment that is conducive for open dialogue and constructive engagement.