The authorities of the Nigerian Police and the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, clashed in Abuja on Wednesday after a rally organised by the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC.
The APC, which held what it termed “Salvation Rally”, was said to have marched to the Police Headquarters with some of its supporters to lodge a complaint with the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Suleiman Abba.
On getting to the gates of the Louis Edet House, the procession, which the police said was led by the party’s Chairman, John Oyegun, and Mr. Amaechi, were barred from entering the premises to deliver the party’s message to Mr. Abba.
Apparently frustrated, the APC leaders and supporters blocked the entrance to the expansive compex housing top officials of the Nigeria’s Police Force.
PREMIUM TIMES learnt that the party leaders and supporters sang solidarity songs in front of the police headquarters.
The APC leaders and supporters were said to have left the location when it became obvious that the IGP would not give them audience.
In an exclusive interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the Police Public Relations Officer, Emmanuel Ojukwu, alleged that Mr. Oyegun and Mr. Amaechi led APC supporters to disrupt normal activities at the Force headquarters.
“After the party finished its rally here in Abuja, the APC chairman and Amaechi led a large crowd of supporters and said they wanted to see the IG without any prior notice. When they were stopped, they barricaded the Force Headquarters,” Mr. Ojukwu said.
Inspector General Abba later issued a statement, expressing resentment at the blockade of the gates to the Force headquarters by supports of the opposition party, and advising political parties to take their campaigns to the electorate and stop disrupting government activities.
Mr. Abba bared his mind in a statement signed by the police spokesperson, Mr. Ojukwu.
Part of the statement read, “The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Suleiman Abba, hereby advices political leaders to take their campaigns to the electorate, rather than engage in disruption of government activities and daily chores of Nigerians engaged in the pursuit of their lawful businesses.
“The IGP further urges members of the political class and their followers who have grievances to seek redress in the court of law, rather than disturb the peace of innocent, law abiding citizens.
“These admonitions are the fallout of an ugly event today, Wednesday November 19, 2014 when some politicians led by the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Governor Rotimi Amaechi, barricaded the entrance gates of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters, Abuja.”
In spite of what the police described as the uncivilised conduct of the APC leaders and supporters, Mr. Abba said the police exhibited maximum restraint.
Repeated attempts by this newspaper to speak with the leadership of the APC and Mr. Amaechi failed as calls to their mobile telephones were not answered.
Mr. Amaechi’s Chief Press Secretary, David Iyofor, who sent a terse reply, said, “It was an APC party event. Please speak with Lai Mohammed.”