The Imo state police command has released a statement revealing the reason for the sudden deployment of police officers and soldiers to the streets of Owerri.
The statement signed by DSP Andrew Enwerem reads;
The Imo State Police Command has received a letter of notification by a group who intends to embark on a Rally between 18th and 24th December 2017 to demonstrate their support for the Government of the State.
While the State Police Command is constrained to accommodate the Rally in their security arrangement during the Yuletide activities, another coalition group known as Imo People Action for Democracy (IPAD) also wrote to engage in a similar mega protest tagged “Occupy Imo Rally” against the State Government on the same dates.
While acknowledging that peaceful protest is the right of every Nigerian in a Democracy, the State Police Command after a careful assessment and evaluation of the security situation in Imo State such as kidnapping and armed robbery with increased human population as a result of Xmas and New Year celebrations, with no increase in the strength of Police personnel to police such crowd, has viewed both Rallies as untimely especially this Yuletide activities, decided to disapprove the Rallies and have communicated the applicants accordingly.
However, Intelligence and information available to the Imo State Police Command revealed that the groups are determined to go ahead with their planned Rallies and Protest. The rights of the majority of Imolites who do not
belong to any of the groups but deserves peace and security must be respected.
The Police Command has, therefore, warned that any group or groups who insist in engaging in any form of Rally or Protest is on his own and will have no protection from the Imo Police Command who will not toy with its security arrangement to ensure the security and safety of the majority of the law abiding Imo Citizens. The demonstrators are urged to shelve their demonstrations and re-apply after the Xmas and New Year festivities.
Parents and guardians are advised to warn their children and wards to resist any attempt by any group that will bring them in confrontation with the law.
The law-abiding public are urged to go about their lawful businesses and Yuletide activities without fear of any molestation as the Police in conjunction with other security agencies in the State are working assiduously ensure the security and safety of the environment.