Protesters angry with the alleged mismanagement of country’s resources.
The Police, on Thursday, in Abuja, aborted the protest organised by Stop Impunity Nigeria, SIN, and Citizens Wealth Platform, CWP, to raise awareness on the level of mismanagement in the public service.
The two groups, in the morning, had assembled protesters at the Millennium Park, close to the Federal Secretariat, only to be ejected by armed policemen who arrived at the venue before it took off.
The police officers, who arrived at about 9:14 a.m. in two vehicles with registration numbers NPF 6666 C and NPF 248, reportedly shot at a bus and fired two teargas canisters into one of the buses belonging to the Abuja Urban Mass Transportation Company, AUMTCO, which had been hired to convey the protesters.
As soon as the teargas canisters were fired, the protesters ran for their lives and relocated to another take off point close to the initial venue, which was similarly invaded by the police officers with more teargas, forcing them to leave that venue.
The officers were reportedly led by Bello Makwashi, an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
The convener of the protest, Eze Onyenkpere, speaking with journalists, lamented the action of the police. He said that it offended every rule of civil interface with government, especially as Nigerians were fed up with mismanagement of public funds.
He said the police did not have the powers under the law to stop the protest as they were duly informed of it, and had even promised to provide protection.
“The police were supposed to escort us to the place where we were going to submit our petition,” he said.
Stating that the Public Order Act, which the police usually refer to for disrupting protests, had been upturned by the Supreme Court, Mr. Onyenkpere hinted that he might sue the force for dispersing the protesters.
He added, “For emphasis, that Act has been set aside by the Federal High Court and supported by the decision by the Court of Appeal and there is no decision from any other superior Court that has set aside this popular decision of the Court of Appeal.
“That there is no fundamental right to movement, association, peaceful assembly until you get police order – there is no such thing.”
On the subject of the protest, the activist lamented that the welfare of Nigerians and development of the country were never taken into consideration by the National Assembly, the Presidency and other arms of government.
“We recall with regret the perennial sum of N150 billion allocated to the National Assembly, NASS, every year since 2010 and also projected 2016 under the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2014-2016 (MTEF); the mind boggling provisions for foreign and local travel, bloated security, entertainment and welfare; votes year after year requests for vehicles and computers; and a Presidency that is fed on more than N2 million a day and enjoying a fleet of aircrafts but still wants more.
“We further recall with deeper regret the trillions lost to oil subsidy thieves, which will not likely be recovered, the 45, 000 ghost workers that earned over N108 billion and vanished into thin air, and some pension thieves that are still at large. Oil thieves now have an official monthly allocation of about 400, 000 barrels of crude and the MTEF, taking cognisance of this, has reduced the oil production projection for 2014 in 2012.”
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