By PRECIOUS IBINABO DAVIDS, Port Harcourt
The Rivers State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC), has described the ban on protests announced by the Rivers State Government as the “height of absurdity” by a government.
The APC in a statement signed and made available to journalists in Port Harcourt on Friday by the party’s spokesman, Senibo Chris Finebone said, the party believe that Gov. Nyesom Wike who authorised the ban is unaware that Rivers people and indeed Nigerians have inalienable right to peaceful protest.
“Perhaps the governor should be reminded that Honourable Justice Adekeye J.S.C. (rtd) once stated that, “A rally or placard carrying demonstration has become a form of expression of views on current issues affecting government and the governed in a sovereign state.
“It is a tread recognized and deeply entrenched in the system of governance in civilized countries. We must borrow a leaf from those who have trekked the rugged path of democracy and are now reaping the dividend of their experience.”
Continuing he said, “As a party, the APC is wondering why Gov. Wike would fritter 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. The governor is simply acting like someone with a weak and incoherent argument against the more coherent, sensible and logical argument of the opponent.
“Another reason for the ineffectual ban is to scuttle further exposure of the ills and atrocities of the Rivers State Government under Gov. Nyesom Wike who believes that pensioners, civil servants, workers of RSSDA and Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority and others may soon protest their abandonment and suffering by the governor since he accidentally got to power in 2015.
“Yesterday, a serving Commissioner put a call through to our party to impress on Gov. Wike to stop wasting money that belong to Rivers people on sponsoring and organising needless protests for the governor over the March 9 elections. It was really touching for such a call to come from someone against the government he is working for. Such calls have become very regular over the past three years from suffering pensioners, workers of RSSDA, Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority and civil servants who have to endure a state secretariat without water, good hygiene and oftentimes without power.
“It is necessary at this point to inform Gov. Wike that his ban on protest is simply waste of time and space. Nigeria Police cannot enforce an illegal ban except the governor intends to deploy his usual gun-toting hoodlums. He should remember that this is not 2015; this is 2019. If the governor tries it, he will not like the outcome and he knows it.”