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We Will Not Tolerate Illegal Protests, Nigerian Army Warns Biafra Protesters

Kingsley Kanayo

The Nigerian Army, on Monday condemned on-going protests by pro-Biafra groups, vowing to invoke its rules of engagement in order to protect Nigeria’s Constitution.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Hamza Gambo, who addressed a press briefing on behalf of the GOC, condemned recent protests by the pro-Biafran groups, warning them to stop further unlawful conduct.

He stated that “in the past three weeks, there has been a marked increase in the activities of pro-Biafran groups in some parts of the South-South and the South-East of Nigeria.

“These activities include protest marches, demonstrations and some reported cases of outright lawlessness and threat to lives and properties. These demonstrations are being orchestrated by the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra, and the Independent People of Biafra, IPOB, and other affiliated groups. These agitations and protests have led to an increased sense of insecurity across the regions.”

On human rights of the protesting groups, he said “The truism of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is not contestable particularly as it is guaranteed by Section 39 (1) and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.”

Gambo added that “instructively, this constitutional guarantee does not allow for abuse of other person’s freedom and safety.

“It is, however, pertinent to note that same constitution vide Section 217 (2) mandates the Armed Forces of Nigeria to suppress insurrection and act in aid of Civil Authorituy to restore order when called upon to do so.

“To this end, if and when the Nigerian Army is called upon to play its legally mandated role, it shall do so with utmost sense of duty and responsibility to the nation.

“In such instance, the Nigerian Army shall act within its Rules of Engagement accordingly. It is also important to re-assure all law-abiding citizens that they have nothing to fear. The Nigerian Army remains committed to protecting democratic norms while ensuring a peaceful environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.”

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