Shiites Abuja Protest: PDP, NIM call for probe

Police cracking down on Shiites protesters in Abuja today
Police cracking down on Shiites protesters in Abuja on Monday

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has demanded an immediate inquest into the violent clash which erupted when police forcefully dispersed Shiite protesters in Abuja on Monday.

The protesters had taken to the Unity Fountain, demanding the release of the leader of Islamic Movement of Nigeria, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been detained without trial for over two years. This is not the first time they would be protesting.

The action came a few days after the the FCT Police Commissioner, Sadiq Bello, placed an indefinite ban on daily sit-outs at Unity Fountain by activists and protesters. The Bring Back our Girls Group (BBOG), who have been protesting the continued incaceration of the 2014 abducted Chibok school girls also regularly use the spot.

According to eyewitnesses, security officers from the army, police as well as civil defence forcefully dispersed the protesters with tear-gas and gun shots.

A Shiites spokesperson, Ibrahim Musa, said at least one person was killed and over 30 injured, an information, PREMIUM TIMES is yet to verify.

The PDP in a statement on Monday signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan said it is gravely worried over the handling of security in the nation’s capital and ”the near breakdown of law and order”.

The party said the continued show of force by the government is an infringement on the rights of citizens.

”The PDP and indeed all lovers of democracy across the country are deeply concerned by the continued erosion of democratic tenets by the APC administration, resulting in avoidable crisis in various parts of the country. The PDP sues for calm while demanding for an immediate inquest into the cause of this clash.

“We also urge security high commands to ensure that this matter is nipped in the bud with the highest level of professionalism.”

Also, a group, the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM) also condemned the action of the police.

The movement made this known on Monday in a statement signed by Nasser Kura, its Deputy Director General.

“The grand national coalition of Nigeria Intervention Movement, NIM wish to condemn the federal government in the strongest terms for using operatives of the Nigeria police to inflict brute force against the peaceful protest organised by members of the Shiites movement of Nigeria, leading to the reported murder of scores of Shiite peaceful protesters today.

“We find the killings of defenceless citizens by the Nigerian police during a peaceful protest as inhuman and mindless, something that has further accentuated the reputation of the Nigerian government as irresponsible, reckless and anti-democratic.

“NIM as the emergent alternative political leadership of the Nigerian peoples, shall however, not stand aloof, fold its arm and watch the country turned into a police state, where defenceless are terrorised and murdered by the incompetent cabalistic government of General Muhammadu Buhari.

Asides demanding for justice, the NIM also called for ”an apology and compensation to the Shiite movement from President Muhammadu Buhari’s government”.

“We hereby demand that indicted happy trigger police operatives involved in this unfortunate cruelty and criminality be immediately brought to book and withdrawn from further confronting the peaceful protest of the Shiites movement.

“NIM demands a strong apology and compensation to the Shiite movement from General Muhammadu Buhari’s drowning government as we shall not hesitate to provide fraternal solidarity to the peace-loving Shiites movement in their legitimate cause and protest for an injustice to one is an injustice to all,” the group added.

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Lois Ugbede is a junior politics reporter at PREMIUM TIMES. She currently covers some of the nation’s big political parties and the Independent National Electoral Commission. Twitter: @ugbedelois

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