According to Mba, “while the Force is not unaware of the constitutional rights of Nigerians to freedom of movement and assembly, it makes bold to state that the enjoyment of these rights must be situated within the bounds of the law and appropriate civil behaviour.
About two weeks ago when some youths and a traditional ruler protested at the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu in support of Stella Oduah over the N255 million car scandal, the police did not disrupt the protest or issue a ban on such gatherings at the airport.
A statement by CSP Frank Mba, the Force Public Relations Officer, said the ban was part of deliberate efforts towards averting any security breach and the need to protect critical infrastructures, travellers, aircrew, airport staff and personnel at the nation’s local and international airports.
The ban is coming on the heels of the disruption of the reception for All Progressives Congress, APC, leaders by the police in Rivers State yesterday in Port Harcourt.
“The Force therefore implores Nigerians to cooperate with the police in their effort at improving the maintenance of effective safety and security at all the nooks and crannies of the airport. It further calls on the Nigerian elite, political and opinion leaders to assist the police in the education and enlightenment of their fans, admirers, supporters and followers on the need to abide by these rules, as failure to comply will attract appropriate legal sanctions.”
The Nigeria Police has placed a total ban on political, socio-cultural or religious gatherings within and around airport premises, including tarmacs, lounges and other sensitive security points.
Consequently, the police authorities directed the Airport Command Commissioners of Police and Commissioners of Police in states where airports are located “to ensure that, in line with international best practices, firm security measures are taken to safeguard the airports and their critical infrastructures and to prevent a situation where the airports are turned into places of political assemblies, religious worship and other social receptions, as there are enough civic centres, town halls, assembly halls, etc. for public meetings, carnivals and celebrations of all kinds.”
Mba announced the ban after a security meeting at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, Tuesday.
He said the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, has reiterated his administration’s unalloyed commitment towards eliminating all forms of threat to internal security, even as he pledges a safe and conducive environment for our democracy and democratic institutions to thrive.
Observers believe the action of the police has given credence to the allegation by APC that the police have become the armed wing of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
(Post From PM News)