- It’s obvious Nigeria is under siege, says musician
- Fayose: Harassment height of dictatorship
- FCTA bans unauthorised political protests in Abuja markets
Olawale Ajimotokan, Paul Obi, Kasim Sumaina, Nwafor-Orizu Ononso and Udora Orizu in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Nigerian Police wednesday gave reasons why they did not arrest those who attacked members of ‘OurMumuDonDo’ movement asking for the return or resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari from office.
The group, led by popular musician and entertainer, Charlie Boy, had gone to Wuse Market last Tuesday to protest, but were attacked by an angry pro-Buhari mob.
The incident, which led to serious tension within Abuja metropolis, prompted the police to intervene and rescue the ugly situation.
But speaking to THISDAY, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Musa Kimo, said there was no way the police would have arrested the attackers as they were a mob.
“For Charlie Boy, the police restored normalcy and we were able to rescue him and his people and even prevented the mob from burning his SUV and BMW vehicle. The vehicles have been returned to him,” he stated.
On the inability of the police to arrest the attackers, the commissioner said: “It was a mob, serious angry mob; ours was to ensure that there was no breach of peace, and in fact we were not even notified about their movement to their meeting point.
“You know how a market is; who are you going to arrest? We don’t want to provoke the situation. We were concerned with how to ensure that tempers do not rise. We do not want it to snowball into a serious crisis.”
Kimo further stated that “we also dissipated our energy in trying to rescue some of his members-as he ran away-and also to protect his vehicles.
“In the process, a DPO and some of our men were injured because they were stoned.”
But Charlie Boy, while briefing journalists at the Unity Fountain in Abuja, said with the attack on him and his group, it was obvious that Nigeria is under siege.
The popular musician and entertainer, hinted that the youths cannot continue to stay at the corridor waiting for handouts, adding that they must be in the room discussing their future with the leadership of the country.
According to him, “I must give special thanks to my colleagues, fellow journalists, who have covered all our proceedings in the most decent manner, and I want to say that the responsibility of the media is not about being balanced, but seeking the truth and exposing the truth. On behalf of me and my colleagues, l thank you for a job well done.
“It is obvious we are under siege. It’s obvious that our country, through intolerance is falling apart. I’ll like to take this time to acknowledge the people who were hurt yesterday, and today, we’ve made our point.
“The world sees our heart, the world understands and we leave it to fellow Nigerians, the youths, the masses to judge for themselves if this really is the country that they desire, and to also take this opportunity to tell Nigerian youths that nothing can change except they change their mindset and change the way they see Nigeria.”
He explained that “Nigerian youths cannot go far, and that they do not have a future in this country except they engage, ask questions and are part of the government. The youths cannot continue to stay at the corridor waiting for handouts, they must be in the room discussing their future with the leaders.”
Speaking further, Oputa said: “I see Nigeria as a country of intolerance. Looked at what happened yesterday. I have been to that Wuse market severally to do my advocacy work. It’s not the first time, but what happened yesterday shows the ugliness of our country which is a shame.
“But, I urge everybody to still remain peaceful, as we are not violent people, but we are only here to say that the Nigeria of our dreams is not what we are seeing today.”
Responding, pro-Buhari group which was equally on ground to show solidarity with President Muhammadu Buhari disclosed that it isn’t a crime to fall ill.
The group, led by the Niger Delta youths, was seen chanting solidarity songs with placards with different inscription like ‘Isoko Youths Support Buhari, ‘PDP, Stop Anti-Buhari Protest’ among others.
Speaking on behalf of the Niger Delta youths, the Public Relations Officer of the group, Chief Johnny Michael, said: “To me, I believe this is an instigated protest and I can categorically tell you that they are being instigated by the opposition party.”
Meanwhile, Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has condemned the attacks on the ‘Resume or Resign’ protesters, describing it as the height of dictatorship and demonstration of intolerance to opposing views by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government.
The governor who said he was particularly miffed by what he called orchestrated attack on the protesters at Wuse Market in Abuja yesterday, added that “why arranging hoodlums to attack Nigerians who were exercising their fundamental rights to protest against the government? The APC government has shown that it has lost support and trust of Nigerians.
The Special Assistant to the governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said in a statement issued yesterday that the governor told journalists that any attempt to silence Nigerians, especially those opposed to the APC government, would fail.
He said it was now more obvious that the APC-led federal government does not have anything in stock other than destruction of the country.
The governor, who maintained that demanding for the health status of the president is the right of Nigerians, said it was funny that armed policemen were available to protect those who protested in support of the APC government, but the same police attacked the “Return or Resign” protesters.
He said: “When PDP was in government, these same people in government now held series of protests against the government then. They held ‘Occupy Nigeria’ to protest against fuel price hike and the BringBackOurGirls protesters were everywhere then.
“Even President Buhari led protests in Abuja against PDP government. The president led protesters to the National Assembly to protest against the continued absence of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua from the country and went ahead to call for Yar’Adua’s impeachment.
“Then, no one was attacked by security men and hoodlums were not set after the protesters as was done in Abuja wednesday.
“It is therefore shameful that the same people who rode on the back of democratic principles to power are now standing against the rights of Nigerians to complain and the international community should pay special attention to the rule of brute force going on in the country.”
However, the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has banned any person or groups from staging political protest in markets and other unauthorised areas in the territory.
The decision was an apparent fallout of the skirmishes involving the ‘OurMumuDonDo’ group last Tuesday and some traders at the Wuse market, Abuja.
The protest pitted the group, led by Charlie Boy, against a segment of the traders, who were opposed to the call for the returner resignation of President Buhari.
FCTA, in a statement signed by Cosmas Uzodinma, the Chief Press Secretary to the FCT Minister, warned that it would not allow political protests to be staged in market places.
It said defaulters would be apprehended and prosecuted in accordance with the law.
The FCTA, however, said many accounts of the unfortunate event at the biggest market in Abuja were inaccurate. It said there was no loss of life due mainly to the timely intervention of the security and the market management agencies, who forestalled the riot from getting out of hand.
“The attention of the FCTA has been drawn to reports and misrepresentations on the recent clash between anti-Buhari protesters led by Charlie Boy and a segment of traders in the Wuse market of Abuja.
“It is noteworthy that this incident has spun a lot of versions and false figures of purported casualties. Indeed our findings which were confirmed by the various security agencies clearly indicate otherwise,” it said.
The administration said that the market that was shut down in the heat of the crisis, has since been re-opened to the general public and that normal activities have resumed.
It urged all the law abiding residents of Abuja to go about their business without fear of any molestations as the FCT security agencies are geared to ensure the security of lives and property in the Territory.
It also reiterated its commitment to the protection of freedom of expression and lawful assembly, but cautioned that this must be done within the ambits of law and civilised conduct.