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Shutting Down National Grid Is Criminal, Police Warn Protesters

The Nigeria Police Force has cautioned against violent protests across the country.

This was as the force said it is unacceptable to disrupt critical infrastructure such as airports, hospitals, and other essential services during a protest.

The police added that tampering with the national grid is a criminal offence.

The PUNCH reports that activities were disrupted at the airports across the country and various unions shut down the national grid on June 3 to compel the government to agree on a new minimum wage for workers.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Force spokesperson, Muyiwa Adejobi stated that such action would not be tolerated during any protests.

Adejobi noted that any attempt to try this would be met with full force of the law.

The statement read, “Those who want to stage a peaceful protest are advised to inform the police and request protection. Those who do otherwise should be ready to face the full weight of the law. Members of the public are again reminded that it is a criminal offence to tamper with the national grid or prevent/disrupt the transmission of electricity.

“It is equally unacceptable to disrupt any other critical infrastructure such as airports, hospitals, and other essential services, or violent picketing in whatever magnitude.

“The Nigeria Police Force, being a civil and responsive institution, committed to maintaining law and order and ensuring the safety and security of all citizens, therefore warns that any attempt to disrupt critical infrastructure, which could lead to an act of economic sabotage, treasonable felony, and jeopardize national security and public safety, will not be condoned during any protest action and will be met with the full force of the law.”

Adejobi said the force would protect the rights of all citizens including those on peaceful protest but would not watch when other citizens’ rights are being violated.

He said, “Following recent moves by some groups mobilizing for a mass protest nationwide, the Nigeria Police Force reiterates that the right of citizens to protest is a right to peaceful protest only.

“The Nigeria police will protect the rights of all citizens including those on peaceful protest but will not look on to see the rights of other citizens being violated. No decent society anywhere in the world will tolerate the violent destruction of lives and properties in the name of a protest.

“While the NPF is committed to protecting the rights of those on peaceful protest, it will not look on to see the rights of others being violated in the name of a mass protest.”

Adejobi added that the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun has ordered the Commissioners of Police among others to prevent the breakdown of law and order in the area of responsibilities.

He said, “The Inspector General of Police, has directed all Zonal Assistant Inspectors General of Police and State Command Commissioners of Police in collaboration with other security agencies to ensure robust security arrangements are in place to prevent any breakdown of law and order including strategic deployments to protect key infrastructures and ensure that protests, if any, remain peaceful and lawful.”

He also urged parents to warn their children against being used by disgruntled elements.

Adejobi said, “The Police equally appeal to parents and guardians to warn their wards not to be used by disgruntled and misguided individuals who are mobilizing for destruction with intent to create anarchy. Such individuals are advised in their own interest to shelve their unpatriotic and clandestine plans.

“We remain dedicated to upholding the rights of citizens while ensuring that public order is maintained.”

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