The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has dissociated itself from the planned protest by the Southwest Zone D chapter of the association over the recent hike in fuel pump price and electricity tariff.
By Kolade Adeyemi, Jos, Sunny Nwankwo, Umuahia, Nicholas Kalu, Abuja, Duku Joel, Maiduguri, Chris Njoku, Owerri, Yinka Adeniran, Ibadan and Rosemary Nwisi, Port Harcourt
The association’s National Public Relations Officer, Mr. Azeez Adeyemi, announced this in a statement on Sunday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Adeyemi said the NANS Southwest Zone D, led by Kappo Olawale, had given the Federal Government a five-day ultimatum to reverse the hike in the prices of fuel and electricity tariff.
He said the students insisted that if the government failed to reverse the prices, it would shut down the Southwest in a mass protest today.
Adeyemi disowned the Olawale–led group, describing its members as “impostors”.
The NANS spokesman insisted that the group was not recognised by the national leadership of the students’ umbrella body.
He said NANS and its affiliate bodies had staged a protest in Abeokuta and other Southwest states last Tuesday to register their displeasure on the issue.
“The NANS wishes to inform the general public that it is not part of any planned protest by a group of impostors who called themselves NANS Southwest Zone D, led by Kappo Samuel Olawale.
“We want to put on record that the umbrella body does not recognise the Olawale–led group and would not, in any way, be held responsible for their actions.
“This group of individuals is not authourised to carry out any protest in the name of NANS. We want to call on security agencies to be alive to their responsibility and arrest anyone caught during the planned protest,” he said.
Also, the Plateau State Police Command has said it had not received any letter on NANS planned protest.
Police spokesman Gabriel Ubah, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), told The Nation on Sunday in Jos, the state capital, that the command had not been formally notified of the protest.
He said: “Since they didn’t write us, it will be illegal for them to embark on any protest. So, as far as we are concerned, they haven’t written to us.”
On the proactive steps the command will take if the students embark on the protest, Ubah said: “I can’t say anything for now. For me, I am not aware if anything is happening. Our men are on the ground to handle any unforeseen situation.”
No official of NANS was forthcoming last night on the association’s planned protest.
In Abia State, the police command said it had not received any letter on NANS planned protest.
Police Commissioner Janet Agbede stated this yesterday while speaking with our correspondent in Umuahia, the state capital.
She said: “If they don’t write us, it will be an illegal protest. But if they write us, we will give them security to ensure that hoodlums didn’t hijack it. But, like I said, they haven’t written us.”
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command said it will deploy policemen across the city to avoid likely breakdown of law and order, if NANS embarks on its planned protest.
The command’s spokesman Anjuguri Manzah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the police would ensure sustained peace in the FCT.
In Borno State, the police command warned against any form of protest.
Police Commissioner Mohammed Ndatsu Aliyu, who issued the warning through the command’s spokesman Edet Okon, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the command would not tolerate any type of protest by any group or individual.
In Imo State, Police Commissioner Issac Akinmoyede warned students to avoid violence in their protest.
Akinmoyede, who spoke on Sunday through the command’s spokesman Orlando Ikeokwu, a Superintendent of Police (SP), said: “The command recognises the fact that it is the right of the citizens and groups to protest any genuine grievances, but the command wants to advise and warn that they must do it within the ambit of the law.
“They must ensure that there is no violence and the protest should be peaceful.”
The Rivers State Police Command, through its spokesman Nnamdi Omoni, a Superintendent of Police (SP), warned the students against violence.
In a statement yesterday in Port Harcourt, the state capital, he said: “Our duty is to protect lives and property. A protest is the constitutional right of citizens, but they (protesters) must ensure they do it within the ambit of the law. Anything outside the law, the police will come after them.”
The Oyo State chapter of the union on Sunday said it will not join the protest.
Speaking through the National President of the National Association of Polytechnic Students, Benedict Adetunji, the students’ body said the state chapter had organised its protest and made its stand known last Tuesday.