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Low turnout mars June 12 protest in Rivers

By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt

Only a few residents turned up for the June 12 protest, which was organised on Saturday by members of the Civil Society at the Pleasure Park in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The protest was initially scheduled to begin by 8 am but could not take off following low attendance till about 11 am.

Senior police officers led a team of security operatives to monitor the activities of the protesting youth, numbering about 25.

The Chairman, Rivers State Civil Society Organization, Enefaa Georgewill, who led the action, said no amount of intimidation could stop the youths from expressing their grievances.

He said: “We are here to make a statement to say that this current government is not ready to be democratic.

“This government is not ready to allow the civic space and allow Nigerians to freely express themselves by banning twitter because one individual was banned from using the platform.

“The federal government led by President Muhammadu Buhari banned us from using Twitter. Meanwhile, our laws, specifically section 39 of the 1999 Constitution expressly state that citizens have the right to freely express themselves.

“Therefore, we are saying that Buhari must go. We are equally saying that one of the reasons why he was elected into office was because he promised Nigerians he is going to provide security.

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Governor Seyi Makinde addresses June 12 protesters in Ibadan

“He promised that the killings in this part of the country will stop. Surprisingly, from the North to the West, to the South, even down here in Rivers State, selling of body parts is becoming a trend.

“As I speak, some communities in Andoni are sacked. Almost on a daily basis people are being killed in Ogoni by gang warlords.”

Addressing the protesters, the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, said he went around the state and found everywhere peaceful.

He said: “I have gone round Rivers State and my Divisional Police Officers are also moving around. I have discovered that there is no disturbance.

“There is even no demonstration in Rivers State. What I see here is just a small rally and they have finished talking and it was peaceful. Rivers State is very peaceful.

“You can see that even those who came for the really are carrying the Nigerian flag. It shows they love Nigeria and there is no threat to peace.”

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