By Benjamin Nworie Abakaliki
Ebonyi state Police Command has banned any form of protest and demonstration without the due approval by the State Commissioner of Police, CP Peace Ibekwe Abdallah, who must be notified of the planned exercise.
The Police Public Relations Officer, ASP George Okafor, who denied that the chairman of the Ebonyi state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ikechukwu Nwafor and other labour leaders in the state were assaulted by the police noted that the command would not condone any form of illegal gathering in the state.
The PPRO stressed that notification of the planned protest by the labour unions had not reached the Police Commissioner at the time of the protest that prompted the interception of the police to avert a breach of public peace.
Okafor asserted that at no time were the labour leaders assaulted as the operation was led by a senior police officer, adding that the NLC chairman had to frame the allegation to whip up sentiment on the illegal and unapproved gathering.
Though the police spokesman admitted that the organized labour circulated sit-at-home protest letter in their meeting on May 17, which was attended by the state Police command, the labour leaders did not inform the police of the rescheduled plans to take to the streets.
“The Ebonyi state NLC had earlier circulated documents after their meeting, which was also attended by the Ebonyi Police, that their protest would be sit at home starting from May 18. When it changed, they failed to duly inform the police clearly poised to engaging in a protest that would be permeated by miscreants leading to criminal activities that would further threaten the internal security of Ebonyi state, Okafor said.