The Police Command in Oyo State says it has arrested some suspected hoodlums for allegedly stockpiling and smuggling arms into the state to cause violence, under the guise of peaceful protest over naira notes and fuel scarcity.
The Commissioner of Police in the state, Adebowale Williams, made this known during a security summit, organised by the command on Friday in Ibadan to douse the tension created by the scarcity of fuel and new Naira notes.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the summit was attended by heads of sister security agencies, officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Independent Petroleum Marketers Association (IPMAN), Association of POS Operators, market leaders, traditional rulers and religious leaders.
Williams said that the command had uncovered plans by some groups to launch vicious attacks in some parts of the Ibadan metropolis, adding that some of them had confessed to smuggling arms into the state.
He said that the duty of the police was to maintain and enforce law and order and, where necessary, enforce peace and arrest perpetrators of crime and prosecute them.
Willams said that citizens had the right to peaceful protests and assembly, stressing, however, that some individuals used the such opportunity to cross lines by being violent and causing anarchy in the process.
He appealed for the cooperation of all stakeholders, adding that the police and other security agencies would continue to carry out their mandates of maintaining law and order.
“It is important to reiterate that attacks on policemen and other law enforcement agents shall not be tolerated.
“All stakeholders in Oyo State must say ‘no’ to the agents of disintegration in our midst and continue maintaining our renowned reputation of a state with a relatively peaceful ambience,” he said.
Speaking at the occasion, the CBN Controller in the state, Mrs Foluke Oluduro, appealed to the public to remain calm, especially on the issue of scarcity of the new naira notes. Oluduro said that CBN was doing all it could do to ensure that the redesigned naira notes go around and that its efforts were not sabotaged.
She said that the introduction of the new naira was not aimed at causing hardship for the masses but at improving the nation’s economy.
The IPMAN Chief of Staff, Oyo State, Chief Bayo Adeyemo, said that members of the association had been sourcing for fuel outside Ibadan, as NNPCL deport did not have the product.
Adeyemo said that the association was doing everything possible to make fuel available at an affordable price.
Other stakeholders, who spoke at the summit, commended the police for ensuring that the protest did not get out of control.