Wike bans #EndSARS protests in Rivers State

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Rivers State governor Nyesom Wike Monday said it has prohibited all forms of protest in the state.

Rivers Commissioner for information Paulinus Nsirim said the ban includes the protest against police brutality already holding in different parts of Nigeria.

“The Rivers State Government hereby wish to inform the general public that all forms of protests have been banned throughout the State,” Nsirim said in a statement.

“Therefore, all proposed protests under #EndSars Campaign are hereby prohibited.”

Paulinus said the government took the decision following the dissolution of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by the inspector-general of police Mohammed Adamu.

“There is no need for any form of protest against a Unit of the Police Force that no longer exists,” he said.

The ban on protests by the governor runs contrary to the provision of Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution, which guarantees to freedom of association.

Amnesty International in Nigeria said Wike must “be held accountable for any violation of protesters.”

In 2017, Wike blamed operatives of SARS for “most” of the robberies and kidnappings in the state.

He also said then that the unit was used by politicians to destabilize the state.

“Most of the kidnappings and armed robberies taking place in this state are done by men of SARS,” Wike said in September 2017.

“They use exhibit vehicles to operate. As the Chief Security Officer of the state, you complain, but they choose to play politics with crime.

“They fight crime in some states but they refuse to fight crime in Rivers State. We are done with the elections, but they are using SARS to create insecurity in the state. As I speak with you, they will deny.”