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Wike to protesters: steer clear of Rivers


Chief Nyesom WikeThe revolution march tagged: #RevolutionNow being spearheaded by the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) Omoyele Sowore drew reactions on Sunday from notable Nigerians and groups.

Prof Wole Soyinka disagreed with security agencies that the planned march amounted to treason. He said there was nothing treasonable in it.

The literary giant accused the security agencies of behaving predictably.

Activist-lawyer Femi Falana toed Soyinka’s line. He urged the DSS to either release Sowore or arraing him in court.

He said: “The State Security Service should release Mr. Omoyele Sowore, one of the conveners of the protests. In the alternative, he should be arraigned in court if there is reasonable suspicion that he has contravened any penal statute. However, the nation’s security agencies should stop embarrassing President Buhari who had cause, from 2003-2014,  to lead peaceful rallies to protest election malpractice and insecurity in the country.”

Mike Ozekhome (SAN) accused the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration of not being tolerant to criticism.

Ozekhome, who appeared as a guest on Channels Television’, said the government is “allergic to plurality of voices and criticism”.

He said: “Dancing on the street saying we don’t want bad governance how does that amount to treason, unreasonable felony?

“This government is allergic to plurality of voices, this government is allergic to criticism; this government is allergic to opinions. This government should know that Nigeria is a country with many colours.

“You cannot sample opinions. We cannot all sleep on the same bed. This government should learn to be tolerant,” he said.

But Rivers State Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike warned the protesters to steer clear of the state, stressing that nobody should attempt the #RevolutionNow protest in Rivers.

According to him, Rivers State is not part of the #RevolutionNow protest and whatever illegal agenda it seeks to pursue.

Speaking through his media aide Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor said: “Rivers State does not subscribe to what the RevolutionNow protest represents and Rivers State is not part of the protest.”

The governor directed security agencies to arrest anybody involved in the #RevolutionNow protest and also prosecute such persons.

Governor Wike urged parents to guard their wards from being misled by agents of the march to disrupt peace in the state.

“All council chairmen are directed to be at alert. If they suspect any illegal gathering, they should report to the security agencies for immediate action,” Wike was quoted as saying.

The leadership of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) described the planned protest as an attempt by enemies of democracy and unpatriotic individuals to destabilise the country and the administration of President Buhari.

In a statement yesterday in Abuja, NYCN President Almustapha Abdullahi described the planned protest as “ill-time and uncalled for”, adding that the organisation “will not be part of any unlawful gathering in the name of revolution”.

He said the youth body will not take part in the march expected to take place simultaneously in 12 cities today.

According to Abdullahi, exercising one’s right to freedom of speech, association and assembly should be done with decorum.

The statement reads: ”#RevolutionNow Movement’s call for mass action across the country against the Federal Government of Nigeria is ill-time and uncalled for and that Nigerian Youth will not be part of any unlawful gathering in the name of revolution.

“This can be best described as deliberate attempt to distabilise Nigeria and government of President Muhammadu Buhari. As such, any group of persons collaborating the call for revolution protest is unpatriotic.

“At a time when Nigeria is battling with barrage of security challenges, no sane or right thinking individual will be instigating the populace against the government and calling for total shut down of Nigeria.

”The #RevolutionNow protest and the convener are opposite in nature, hence it became worrisome and explicitly pertinent for every concerned Nigerian to ask several questions.

“We call all security agencies to take charge and not allow any dissidents and foreign agents to draw us back as a nation.”

He urged youths to be law abiding and not allow any fourth columnist to use them as cannon fodders.

“This set of greedy political jobbers who are perceived to be under sponsorship of the external enemies of our dear nation,” the statement added.

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