By Stanley Onyekwere
The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) yesterday banned all street demonstrations, protests and processions anywhere within the Territory, in the wake of the continued protests against police brutality.
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the FCTA’s Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, which explained that the decision was reached on after extensive deliberations by the FCT Security Committee chaired by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, which met for its routine meeting on Tuesday, to review the security situation in the Territory.
This is coming barely 24 hours after the Police foiled a near flow of bloodbath when some suspected hoodlums attacked supporters of the continued #EndSARS protests in Abuja, despite the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Inspector-General of Police to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
However, the FCT Administration said the prohibition proclamation was made due to the dangers posed by Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 pandemic.
Consequently, there is seemingly water-tight security in within and around the metropolis, as the security operatives- mainly the Police and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) have increased patrol and presence around some strategic places and facilities.
It was observed that combat ready NSCDC personnel and policemen were sighted in moving convoys patrolling the city especially the FCTA Secretariat, three Arms Zone and other strategic.
Meanwhile, the statement reads:”The Committee noted with concern that despite the pronouncement by the Inspector General of Police scrapping the FSARS, the #ENDSARS protests continued in parts of the Territory. The protesters caused inconveniences to law abiding citizens.
“While the Committee recognizes the rights of citizens as regards freedom of association and movement as enshrined in the constitution, it has observed that the unruly conduct of the crowd and manner of demonstrations are in complete violation of the COVID-19 safety protocols which were put in place to safeguard the lives of citizens.
“These violations endanger the lives of not just the demonstrators, but also other citizens going about their legitimate concerns. For the avoidance of doubt, the COVID-19 guidelines regulating public gatherings recommend physical distancing, temperature checks, the use of facial coverings, amongst others. Clearly all these guidelines were flouted by the protesters.
“The Security Committee reiterated the commitment of the FCT Administration to ensure that all residents are safe, secure and able to go about their lawful businesses without fear of intimidation or harassment.”