Security forces are on the alert across the country following threats by some activists to stage protests today on the occasion of Democracy Day.
There is a heavy presence of soldiers, police personnel and their counterparts in the Department of State Security (DSS) on the streets.
The police and several state governments have warned troublemakers to keep off the streets with the Zamfara State Government, in particular, canceling celebrations for the day.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), which was originally part of the protests, backed out on Friday, citing fears of hijack by miscreants, although the Southwest zone of the association said it remains firmly committed to the rally.
The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) alleged plan by the federal authorities to clamp down on protesters today.
The Lagos Police Command on Friday urged residents to disregard the sit-at-home campaign by some groups over alleged bad governance in the country.
The police asked people to go about their normal businesses.
Fearful of possible violence and attack on their persons and businesses, some traders, artisans and commercial drivers in Lagos and other parts of the country had indicated that they would not operate today.
Some churches in Lagos are also understood to have cancelled their programmes and meetings originally fixed for today.
But Lagos State Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu appealed to the public to “disregard any sit-at-home order called by certain groups, which is being circulated in the social media, and go about their lawful businesses as the police and other security agencies have made necessary arrangement to maintain law and order across the state.”
The command also said a special squad was in place to contain traffic robbery and rid the state of miscreants.
He said the squad was empowered with crime fighting equipment and modern communication gadgets for better service delivery, adding that identified hotbed for traffic robbers were Eko Bridge, Apongbon, Cele, Ijora, Ojota/7up, Mike 12 and Surulere, among others.
The police in Cross River, Ondo, Kwara, Imo and Delta states have also warned residents against embarking on any protest today.
The Delta State Police Command said it would not allow any protest “being staged by criminally minded individuals hiding under the guise of peaceful protest thereby causing havoc in the state.”
It said on no account “should any group be seen gathering or carrying placards in the name of protest, as such will not be allowed in the state.”
The police in Imo State said it had “uncovered plans by members of IPOB and Eastern Security Network (ESN) to hijack civil protests today” and therefore will “not tolerate any attempt by hoodlums to destabilise the state, and anybody or group that insists on disrupting the fragile peace in the state will meet his/her waterloo.”
The Kwara State Police Command said it has not placed restrictions on movement in the state today and assured residents the June 12 holiday is observed in the state without any fear of attack or molestation.
The Police Command in Cross River State warned that it would not allow anyone under any guise either politically or activism to destroy the peace of the state.
It advised residents to shun all forms of unlawful procession, protest and gathering.
The command arrested Calabar-based activist and newspaper publisher Agba Jalingo, said to be the coordinator of the planned protest in the state.
He was arrested at the police headquarters, Calabar, yesterday when he went to honour an invitation by the police.
But the police claimed Jalingo was arrested because “there was a petition against him that he is a member of drug dealers.”
“He is still writing his stuff (response to the petition). When he finishes, we’ll let him go if we find him not wanting,” police spokesperson in Cross River State, Irene Ugbo, told Premium Times.