The Police Command in Imo State, Southeast Nigeria has warned of a possible hijacking of the Democracy Day protest on Saturday, June 12, 2021 in the state.
Abutu Yaro, the Imo Police Commissioner, said the police had uncovered a plot by the separatist group, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) to seize the protest to foment violence in the state.
Addressing journalists on Friday, June 11, 2021 in Owerri, the state capital, Yaro cautioned residents to be wary of the planned protest and to not allow “enemies of peace to destroy the relative calmness being enjoyed in the state under the guise of the protest.”
“We advise Imo people to steer clear because some of those conveners have ulterior motives,” the police chief said.
“We will not tolerate any attempt by hoodlums to destabilise the state, and anybody or group that insists on disrupting the fragile peace in the state will meet his/her waterloo.”
He said the protest might worsen the security challenges in the state, urging residents to support police efforts to restore peace and enable commercial and business activities to thrive in the state.
Imo State has become the epicentre of violent attacks on government institutions and security formations in the southeast region.
In April, heavily-armed attackers invaded the State Police Command and the Owerri Correctional Centre at midnight, blowing up the facilities to gain entrance.
They released over 1,800 inmates and stole from the police armoury. There has been a spike in the attacks since April, with security personnel being targeted most times.
The police have blamed the attacks on members of IPOB and Eastern Security Network (ESN), its armed wing.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday June 1, 2021, in a tweet, said his government would deal with the suspected separatists in “the language they understand,” citing his role as Brigadier-General in the 1967 civil war that claimed two million lives.
He came under criticism for what many considered a ‘genocidal’ statement.
Nigerians have vowed to hold rallies to protest the development and the President’s poor handling of security situations and governance across the country.
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