June 12: Police disperse protesters with tear gas in Calabar

File Photo: Police disperse June 12 protesters with tear gas in Lagos

By George Odok

The Police in Cross River have dispersed a group of protesters in Calabar, firing teargas at them, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The incident happened around the Rabbana Roundabout and Atekong Junction on Saturday.

The security operatives, who were masked, rode into the areas in vehicles belonging to Operation Akpakwu.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as:  “Ayade pay owed salaries and pensions”, “Ayade fix our roads”, Ayade change your style of governance”, among others.

One of the protesters, Mr Timothy Ushang, said in an interview that the protest was going on peacefully when the policemen fired tear gas canisters at them.

According to him, the essence of the protest is to draw government’s attention to  areas that needed urgent intervention in the state.

Another protester, Mr Dominic Akan,  said that it was their constitutional right to embark on a peaceful protest.

“We don’t know why security operatives used tear gas on us during the peaceful protest. We are protesting against bad governance and things that have gone bad in the state.

“Our fathers and mothers have been owed pensions and gratuities for a long period of time, our roads are bad; these are some of the things that we need the governor to address urgently,”  he said.

A NAN Correspondent who went round major areas in Calabar metropolis, observed that there was heavy presence of security operatives.

In an interview with NAN, the Assistant Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Igri Ewa, said the police command would not tolerate any unlawful gathering, protest or procession.

He said such gatherings could be hijacked by hoodlums, if not properly managed, hence the need for the police to provide adequate security to forestall any unforeseen incident.