From Mike Atayese, Yenagoa
The Police in Bayelsa have warned against illegal processions, and blockage of public spaces by protesters saying the “illegal” acts were capable of being hijacked by miscreants to foment trouble and cause a breach of the peace.
In a statement in Yenagoa, the state capital, the Spokesman of the Bayelsa Police Command, DSP Asinim Butswat quoted the Commissioner of [Police, Don Awunah as saying that while the Police recognised the constitutional rights of citizens to protest, such activities should be carried out after due permission was sought and obatianed from the police authorities.
The statement reads: “The attention of Bayelsa State Police Command has been drawn to the increasing Public Procession and blockage of access roads by agitators, interest groups, communities and protesters without formal notifications or approval from the relevant authority thereby denying access to other users of public space.
“This conduct is not only illegal but has the potential for miscreants and undesirable elements in the society to take undue advantage to pose threat to lives and property.
“The command recognizes the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens for processions, picketing or other forms of protest but these rights must be exercised within the confines of the law. The command will process and provide security cover for any legitimate procession or public protest which is part of democratic policing.
“The Command therefore warns all those involved in these unwholesome practices to stop forthwith and desist from this act which will likely give rise to invitation to treat to hoodlums and never do wells that are looking for the slightest opportunity to disrupt the harmony and tranquility of the State.
“The Command will not hesitate to visit the full weight of the law on any individual or group of persons that takes law into his or her hands.
“The Command wish to solicit for the cooperation of the good people of Bayelsa State to be law abiding and to report any suspicious movement of persons to the nearest police station.
“Bayelsans must never allow the peace and security in the State to be disrupted. The Command is fully prepared and motivated to protect life and property and deal with mischief makers decisively in accordance to the law.”