The Nigerian police on Saturday defended its use of teargas on Democracy Day protesters who took to the street to express their displeasure at the present administration over the state of the nation.
The reaction follows media reports of the shooting of teargas and even the alleged arrest of some protesters by the Nigerian police in Lagos and Abuja during the June 12 protests.
This disclosure was made by the Force Public Relations Officer, Mr Frank Mba, who said that the actions of the police officers were in line with global best practices of dispersing violent protests, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, in Abuja.
He pointed out that as long as the protesters conduct themselves properly, do not constitute themselves into a nuisance and do not obstruct the rights of other citizens or traffic, then the police will work with them
What the Police spokesman is saying
Mba, during the interview, said that the use of teargas was an isolated case in Abuja where protesters turned violent adding that they would have had problems if they had fired live bullets at them
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He said, “We had an isolated case in Abuja where some of the protesters became unruly and in line with international best practices, police fired teargas at them. And that is an acceptable mode of engaging violent protesters anywhere in the world, whether it is in Abuja, Lagos, Paris, London, or New York or California. That is internationally accepted.
We would have problems if we had fired live bullets at them, but when you fire teargas at protesters to disperse them, you are not in breach of any known code, either nationally or internationally.
I also want to use this opportunity to state clearly that no citizen, either in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano or anywhere, is currently in detention as a result of this isolated incident.
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As long as protesters conduct themselves within the confines of the law; they do not constitute themselves into a nuisance, they do not breach the rights of other citizens, they do not obstruct traffic, they do not compel other citizens to join their protests, the police will largely work with them.
When you protest in contravention of this set of conditions I have given, clearly you are coming in direct conflict with the laws of the land, and the police will never stand by idly and watch you create problems for the entire polity.”
In case you missed it
It can be recalled that yesterday June 12, 2021, the Nigerian police was reported to have fired teargas to disperse protesters in the Gudu area of Abuja and Gani Fawehinmi Park Ojota area of Lagos as the country marked the June 12 Democracy Day.
The protesters who were reported not to be violent before the police disruption demanded the resignation of the president over the high level of insecurity across the country and the state of the nation.