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VOX POP: Ban On Protest In Rivers

Reactions are still chasing the recent ban on protests in Rivers State by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike ,with many agreeing that it remains a step in the right direction  towards deescalating the  tension generated by political activities in recent time.

In a survey conducted by the National Network in Port Harcourt, a cross section of the residents interviewed commended the  governor ,with only few having divergent views.

According to Ihunwo Samson, a member of Community Development Committee in Rumuigbo, the ban on public protest is a necessity. He said:”it is just right that something like this takes place at this time. At a point, no one understood where the state was headed politically. With so much violence, killings and other politically motivated atrocities, one expects a governor to deploy his executive order. And that has been done to our admiration.”

Also, Charles Agame, a member of Civil Society resident at Rumuola, agreed that the ban on public procession is important in a state like Rivers. We can't stop wondering why every political contest is always a cause for concern. “We have watched most other states engaged in similar process with little or no incident. Why is our case different,” he said. He also argued that the stake is high on the part of Governor Wike. “The governor, in his wisdom, already knew the stake is high and would not want any careless disruptions and decided to do the needful,” he said.

Elder Frances Marshall, in his reaction, said the ban on public demonstration will help douse tension in the state. ''We need to have peace in this state. I believe, what the governor has done is constitutional. He is the Chief Security Officer of the state. And, on my part as a businessman, I know how the developments in the state had adversely affected the economy of the state. People are scared to come to the state for whatever reason. As somebody in business, I understand the role of political stability. It is good that there is ban on public demonstration, so that the bad elements will not overheat the system and give enemies undeserved advantage.”

But speaking from a different angle, Barrister Friday Ogbum, reasoned that such ban may not be necessary in a democracy. He said,” other political parties may not be happy because one of the strongest avenues to vent their opinions had been removed. Mark my words, I don't believe in violence, but I am not convinced violence was the chief reason the ban was slammed.''

According to Mina Ogolo a resident of Elekahia Estate,” the ban is not necessary. I believe anybody or group can secure police permit to do that if the motive is right. But if they say the governor is putting ban because of violence, I think it is okay.” She appealed to political actors in the state to give peace a chance in order to move the state forward.