FCTA Announces Ban on #EndSARS Protests in Abuja

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FCT Minister, Mohammed Musa Bello
Davido at the Abuja protest

THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has placed a ban on street protests in Abuja, the federal capital, a press statement signed by Mr Anthony Ogunleye, Chief Press Secretary to FCT Minister has announced.

Mr Ogunleye said the decision was taken by the FCT Security Committee which met on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, to review the security situation in the Federal Capital Territory with a view to addressing identified challenges in the wake of the #EndSARS protest, which he said is violating covid-19 protocols.

The statement, dated October 15, 2020 and entitled; “COVID-19: FCT Security Committee Prohibits Street Demonstrations,” said the security meeting was chaired by the FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello, and had in attendance, the Permanent Secretary, FCTA, Mr Olusade Adesola, heads of the various security agencies and military formations in the FCT, senior members of staff of the FCTA, representatives of religious and traditional institutions as well as Area Council Chairmen.

The statement reads: “After extensive deliberations, the Committee came up with the following resolutions:

“The Committee noted with satisfaction the directive by President Muhammadu Buhari to the Inspector-General of Police to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad {SARS} as well as other reforms aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of the Nigerian police.

“It also noted that in response to the directive of the President and the yearnings of the Nigerian people, the Inspector General of Police has dissolved the SARS across the 36 State Police Commands and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where they hitherto existed.

“However, 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.

Aisha Yesufa at #EndSARS Abuja Protest

“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.

“Consequently, the Committee directs that due to the dangers posed by COVID-19, all street demonstrations, protests and processions will not be allowed anywhere within the FCT.”

Caution against robberies, one-chance taxis

The statement also noted that while progress has been made in the fight against robberies in illegal and unregistered commercial motor vehicles known as “one chance”, it cautioned commuters to be vigilant while boarding commercial vehicles within the city.

The FCT authorities, the statement said, is committed to the introduction of innovative measures that will ensure the safety of commuters.

“With the advent of the “Ember” months, the Committee reiterates its commitment to ensuring the safety of road users across the FCT in accordance with existing guidelines by relevant agencies.

“It however seeks the cooperation of residents to obey all extant traffic rules and regulations while travelling during this period.

“The Committee also noted with satisfaction the successful re-opening of schools after the forced closure due to COVID-19. It however calls on parents, students and school authorities to continue to comply with the extant COVID-19 safety protocols.

“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,” the statement further stated.

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