Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Nigerian police vow to put down unauthorized protests

Nigerian police vow to put down unauthorized protests

Government forces plan to put down any unauthorized protests over this month's elections with tear gas and greater force if needed, Nigeria's top police officer said Monday.
The comments followed calls from opposition leaders to turn Tuesday's May Day gatherings into political protests over local and national polls widely criticized by domestic and international observers.
"Any procession that takes place without a police permit will be dispersed forcefully ... they will be tear gassed and if greater force is desired, we will use it," said Inspector General Sunday Ehindero.
He said the 36 state police commissioners had been asked to use "minimum force" but given discretion to deploy as needed.
The country's two largest opposition parties have rejected the April 14 and 21 votes, which were meant to usher in the first civilian-to-civilian transfer of power after decades of coups and dictatorships in Africa's largest oil producer. The ruling party was declared winner.
Opposition leaders have called for protests but been vague on when and where. Abba Kyari, a spokesman for the largest opposition party, did not call for outright street protests but said that he hoped the elections would be a focus of May Day rallies held by the Nigeria Labor Congress, the umbrella organization for Nigeria's unions.
Nigeria Labor Congress spokesman Owei Lakemfa said rallies were planned in state capitals to mark the holiday, not as political gatherings.
On Saturday, a round of repeat elections were held for hundreds of legislative seats after ballots earlier this month were marred by widespread irregularities, low turnout, fraud, violence and missing polling materials.
Despite promises to improve by government officials, local media reported the rescheduled vote suffered many of the same problems. In many areas, voters were not informed that new polls were being held or materials did not arrive.
By Monday afternoon, activist Patrick Naagbanton said that around 4,000 people had already gathered at the offices of the national electoral commission in the southern oil city of Port Harcourt to protest the lack of polling materials in Saturday's vote.
The repeat ballots do not constitute a large enough percentage to offset the ruling People's Democratic Party large margin of victory nationwide.
Although the electoral commission said full results are not expected until next week, initial results reflected the previous strong showing by the ruling People's Democratic Party in polls of April 14 and 21. An opposition candidate took the only state governorship being rerun.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is stepping down after eight years in office, in line with constitutional term limits. His anointed successor, President-elect Umaru Yar'Adua, has tried to distance himself from the electoral process without condemning it outright.


Updated : 2021-07-31 12:32 GMT+08:00