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Monday, July 18, 2016

Akwa Ibom State Government Denies Banning Protest



aksu360 can now report that Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel Sunday has said his administration did not ban street protest, as reported in the media. A statement yesterday in Uyo, the state capital, by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Ekerete Udo, said the governor respected human dignity, including freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

But the statement warned that every protest should be lawful because no government would allow politically-sponsored assemblage to cause mayhem under any guise. It said since elections were over, the residents should not allow themselves to be used by politicians to cause disturbance.

“Government has not banned protest. What the governor frowned at is illegal protests. If any group or association intends to protest, the consent of security agents must be obtained. Peaceful protests are organised in every part of the world, but if it must be embarked upon for the maintenance of public safety and order, such orders must be lawful.”

It debunked insinuations that the government owed pensioners over 15 months’ gratuities. The statement said Emmanuel had not owed workers since he assumed office. Rather, it said the governor intervened regularly in the payment of pensions and gratuities, including salaries to workers in the local governments.

“Each tier of government – from federal to the local government – pays its workers, including pension and gratuity, from their federal allocations. So, it would be wrong for anybody to blame the state for not paying pensioners. Even when the local governments could not meet these obligations, Governor Emmanuel always supported them.”

The local government retirees protested last Monday in Uyo, alleging non-payment of their five-month arrears. The pensioners, who carried placards with inscriptions, protested under the aegis of Association of the Welfare of Retired Local Government Staff (ASSOKWA). To read the earlier report on the protest, pls click here


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