FCT bans street protests in Abuja citizens kick vows to continue protests.

Street protests and demonstrations have been banned in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory Security Committee announced today.

It said the decision was taken on Tuesday, as part of measures to stem the spread of COVID-19.

It also revealed the real reason for the ban: the unrelenting peaceful protests against FSARS and police brutality in the city.

According to a statement by Anthony Ogunleye, chief press secretary to FCT Minister, all street demonstrations, protests, and processions will not be allowed anywhere within its environs henceforth.

He said the security committee is satisfied with the directive by the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad {ARS} as well as other reforms aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Nigerian Police.

He added that despite the pronouncement by the IGP scrapping the unit, the #EndSARS protests continued in parts of the FCT, causing inconveniences to law-abiding citizens.

“The security committee has reiterated the commitment of the FCT administration to ensure that all residents are safe, secure, and able to go about their lawful businesses without fear of intimidation or harassment”.

The #EndSARS campaigners have not reacted.

Abuja in recent times has recorded very low number of COVID-19 infections.

According to NCDC figures, Abuja logged nine cases on Wednesday and 17 on Tuesday.

On Monday, the number of confirmed cases was 26.

The statistically insignificant number does not certainly indicate a resurgence of COVID-19 in the city.

The aim is stop #ENDSARS campaign.

The Full Statement announcing street protests:

The FCT Security Committee met for its routine meeting on Tuesday October 13, 2020, to review the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory with a view to addressing identified challenges.

2. The meeting which was chaired by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello had in attendance, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, heads of the various security agencies and military formations in the FCT, senior members of staff of the FCTA, representatives of religious and traditional institutions as well as Area Council Chairmen.

After extensive deliberations, the Committee came up with the following resolutions:

i. The Committee noted with satisfaction the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Inspector-General of Police to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad {SARS} as well as other reforms aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Nigerian police.

ii. It also noted that in response to the directive of the President and the yearnings of the Nigerian people, the Inspector General of Police has dissolved the SARS across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.

iii. However, the Committee noted with concern that despite the pronouncement by the Inspector General of Police scrapping the FSARS, the #ENDSARS protests continued in parts of the Territory. The protesters caused inconveniences to law-abiding citizens.

iv. While the Committee recognizes the rights of citizens as regards freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it has observed that the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens.

v. These violations endanger the lives of not just the demonstrators, but also other citizens going about their legitimate concerns.

vi. For the avoidance of doubt, the COVID-19 guidelines regulating public gatherings recommend physical distancing, temperature checks, the use of facial coverings, amongst others.

vii. Clearly all these guidelines were flouted by the protesters.

viii. Consequently, the Committee directs that due to the dangers posed by COVID-19, all street demonstrations, protests and processions will not be allowed anywhere within the FCT.

ix. The Committee also noted the progress being made in the fight against robberies in illegal and unregistered, commercial motor vehicles known as “one chance” and is committed to the introduction of innovative measures that will ensure the safety of commuters.

x. It however advises commuters to continue to exercise caution and remain vigilant while boarding commercial vehicles.

xi. With the advent of the “Ember” months, the Committee reiterates its commitment to ensuring the safety of road users across the FCT in accordance with existing guidelines by relevant agencies.

xii. It however seeks the cooperation of residents to obey all extant traffic rules and regulations while travelling during this period.

xiii. The Committee also noted with satisfaction the successful re-opening of schools after the forced closure due to COVID-19. It however calls on parents, students and school authorities to continue to comply with the extant COVID-19 safety protocols.

xiv. The Security Committee reiterated the commitment of the FCT Administration to ensure that all residents are safe, secure and able to go about their lawful businesses without fear of intimidation or harassment.

The decision of the FCT has received tongue lashing from civil Liberty groups; several individuals especially celebrities who accused the FCT Minister of insensitivity and untruthfulness.

One of the celebrities argued that government supported elections in some states during the worst period of Covid-19 pandemic but would do anything to resist the masses they claim they represent and serve from expressing themselves.

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