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Protesters defy police warning in Delta, as rights group tackles NASS

By Elo Edremoda, Warri

A handful of protesters on Saturday defied the Delta State Police directive that banned protests across the state.

The protesters who marched from Enerhen to Refinery Junction, stopping briefly at Airport and Jakpa Junctions respectively, in Uvwie Local Government Area, said they defied the police authority because as a democratic state, they had the “right” to protest.

They bore placards with inscriptions which include “I can’t travel to the north without fear of being kidnapped. Fix our security,” “We voted change but got death instead. We don tire,” among others.

Asked why they defied the directive of the police, one of the protesters, Mulu Louis, said “because it is our right to protest. The police directive cannot stop us from exercising our rights. We are tired, we are angry over the killings, the unknown gunmen shooting and kidnapping people.

“The economy is down, nothing is working in Nigeria. The minimum wage does not reflect on the masses. We are tired of the social media ban, them gagging us, not wanting us to raise our voices. You criticise the government you are arrested, we are tired!

Speaking on the June 12 democracy day, he stated, “today is democracy day, but actually, Nigeria is not in a democracy. Any government that can sit and gives directives and orders without passing through the legislature is no longer democratic, that is tyranny, that is what we are practicing”.

A female protester, Nkiru Mejire, charged women and young ladies to lend their voices to the call for good governance and join in the protests.

In a related development, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) Delta State, during a press conference, took a swipe on members of the National Assembly for their “failure” to stand up for the masses who elected them.

The state chairman of CDHR, Comrade (Chief) Edariese Peter, while condemning the “illegal ban of Twitter and press censorship,” described the decision as “hasty and counterproductive”.

He noted that under normal climes, “disobedience and/or refusal of any arm of government to honour invitations from the National Assembly is supposed to be treated with adequate sanctions in order not to erode the dignity of the hallowed chambers”

Secretary of the state CDHR, Comrade Israel Joe, noted that if not for the restrictions by the police, they would have had a “massive protest” against perceived bad governance and other challenges facing Nigeria.

“In June 12, as it stands we are not free and we are tired. Because in the 21st century, we lack power in the country, while power distribution companies are extorting Nigerians by giving us estimated bills.

“We are not free because education has become a nightmare, where students are kidnapped in schools. We are not free when the youths lack employment, yet the president has asked us to behave ourselves.

“Today, we are submitting to the will of the country by granting a press conference instead of a massive protest. On October 1, we may not be hiding, we will go out to the public if these issues are not addressed.

Some placards carried by the group’s members during the press conference stated thus: “Say no to killings,” “Democracy is not a military regime. Respect the voice of the masses,” “We condemn Twitter to ban #RestoreTwitter,” “Ban bandits, unban our Twitter URL,” among others.

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