TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Rivers police command has prevented a demonstration by supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC)/African Action Congress (AAC), that would have led to a bloodbath in Port Harcourt, the state.
The command’s prompt response with the deployment of fierce-looking armed policemen, who tear-gassed the agitated protesters, forestalled carnage at the Polo Club, GRA Phase 2, Port Harcourt, the venue for the proposed peaceful protest.
This latest incident occurred a few hours after the state government banned any form of public protest in the state.
Earlier, members of one of the groups, who had planned to stage a peaceful demonstration, were invaded and confronted by their opponents at the same venue.
The two groups, chanting war songs, advanced towards each other, before security men on duty, who could not contain the situation, called for reinforcement and there was a swift response, which forestalled a breakdown of law and order.
However, no casualty was recorded, as the protesters scampered for safety following teargas canisters that were fired at them.
Meanwhile, the state chapter of APC has condemned the ban on a public protest by the state PDP-led government.
The Publicity Secretary of the Chibuike Amaechi-led faction of APC, Chris Finebone, in a statement he issued in Port Harcourt, described the ban as the height of absurdity by a government.
“We believe that Governor Nyesom Wike who authorised the ban is unaware that Rivers people and indeed, Nigerians, have an inalienable right to peaceful protest.
“As a party, the APC is wondering why Gov Wike would fritter a good chunk of the commonwealth of Rivers people on frivolous protests and in less than 24 hours, after the last of those protests, pronounce a ban on protests.
“The reason can only be that those protesting on the opposite side are now providing Rivers people and Nigerians better perspectives on the happenings in Rivers State,” Finebone stated.