Exactly 13 days after they wreak havoc on the National Assembly complex during a violent protest, members of Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky’s Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiite, yesterday clashed with the police in Abuja.
In the bloody clash, a deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Usman Umar and six other persons were killed. One of the victims was a journalist, Precious Owolabi, serving with Channels Television.
Owolabi died in the hospital where he was rushed to for treatment. The police had earlier announced that he was injured and taken to the hospital for medical attention.
The irate IMN members burnt down the ambulance bay of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), private and public property, including federal government’s vehicles.
In the July 9, 2019 attack on the NASS complex, the IMN members destroyed several vehicles and injured seven policemen and several innocent civilians.
On the latest incident, Force spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, said yesterday that “another violent protest by members of the El-Zazakky group involving over 3,000 of its followers, at about 12:30pm within the Central Business District (CBD) of Abuja; heavily armed and defying all sense of decency violently attacked innocent citizens and police personnel on duty.
“In the process, the deputy commissioner of police in charge of Operations, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command, DCP Usman Umar, was shot and fatally injured by the protesters. The officer who was immediately rushed to the hospital died moments later while receiving treatment. Also, two assistant superintendents of police (ASP) and a staff of Channels Television sustained serious injuries and are currently receiving treatment,” Mba said.
He confirmed that the police arrested 54 suspects in connection with the incident, adding that they were undergoing interrogation and would be arraigned in court as soon as possible.
Mba said that the inspector-general of police (IGP), who commiserated with the family of the late DCP, condemned the incident and warned that “enough is enough” as the Force and the country at large would not continue to suffer losses on account of reckless and lawless persons and groups in the society.
Meanwhile, NEMA spokesperson, Sani Datti, who confirmed the attack on the agency’s bay, said: “This is to confirm that the Emergency Response and Ambulance Bays (ERABs) of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) located on Ahmadu Bello Way beside the Federal Secretariat was attached with two vehicles burnt down.
“Members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria commonly known as Shiites carried out the attack.
“The two burnt vehicles were the Mobile Intensive Care Unit (MICU), which is a life-support ambulance and a multi-purpose Response Intervention Van (Rescue Tender).
“The ERABs was situated at the location for timely response to emergencies and disasters to reduce loss of life and property,” Datti said.
The director-general of NEMA, Engr. Mustapha Maihaja, immediately visited the bay and inspected the damage.
But unofficial sources claimed that over eight persons were killed in the attack, with the casualties on from both the Police and the Shiite members, while several others were injured.
After the attack on NASS complex, the police had restricted all protests in Abuja to the popular Unity Fountain, which the IMN members defied yesterday.
The IGP, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, who had visited the National Hospital, Abuja, where the wounded officers were receiving treatment, had cautioned aggrieved members of the public to channel their grievances through the appropriate means, instead of resorting to taking laws into their hands.
He reiterated his order for a 24-hour police surveillance in the FCT and its environs and placed the commissioners of police and their supervisory assistant inspectors-general of police (AIG) in states contiguous to the FCT on the alert to ensure maximum security in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
We Lost 11 Members – Sect
In its reaction yesterday, IMN said that 11 of its members were killed and at least 30 others seriously injured during the protest by its members in Abuja.
The violent clash with the police was reported live on Iran’s Press TV, which may have prompted the federal government to call on the Iranian government to withdraw its support for the IMN towards discouraging the Shiites’ protest.
LEADERSHIP gathered that there was a sit-in outside the Nigeria High Commission in London and a similar protest in Iran to seek the freedom of Nigeria’s IMN leader Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky who has been in detention since December 2015.
In a statement by the president, Media Forum of IMN, Ibrahim Musa, said that the trouble started when the police prevented the members who were on a peaceful protest from accessing their way to the Federal Secretariat.
Musa said that the procession was attended by thousands of members, including children, the aged, women and the physically-challenged.
According to him, ‘’Abuja today yet again witnessed one of the worst cases of blatant trampling on the rights of citizens ever seen in the federal capital, when joint security forces consisting of both uniformed men and officers of the Nigeria Police Force and others in mufti, unleashed their fury on a ‘Free Zakzaky’ protest by members of the Islamic Movement.
‘’What actually happened was that the protesters started the procession from NITEL junction and on getting to the Federal Secretariat the police cordoned off the road and started firing at them.
‘’A lot of people have been shot but for now, we can only confirm 11 deaths, but several are injured, the figure, for now, stood at 30. Though we are aware of the fact that the security agents have been going around taking off those they killed from the streets,’’ he said.
Musa alleged that some seriously injured persons numbering 11 that were rushed to University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, were taken away by the police.
‘’We strongly dispute the claim by the police that the protesters shot at them because throughout our processions we have not been carrying any arms right from 2015 till date. It was also the police who shot at the Reporter of Channels TV, another indication that many innocent people were shot at by the police, including some of their own,’’ Musa said.
He added that the brutality displayed by the police had been captured with some pictures showing the police setting up the bonfires and there were videos that captured the police carting away their victims.
PMB Summons IGP
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday summoned the Inspector General of Police ( IGP) Mohammed Adamu over the violent protest by the Islamic Movement of Nigeria in Abuja.
Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting the president,the IGP said the president charged the force to provide security for the residents of Abuja and the whole country.
“We came this morning to brief Mr. President on the security situation in the country, especially the activities of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN). Just to give him an update of what is happening in the country vis a vis their activities.
“Specifically we briefed him of the incessant act coming out of this group of people, protesting here and there. We briefed him on the fact that we have been able to curtailed their excesses and to let him understand that everything is under control.
Source: Leadership NG
It’s sad that people died. The Gov’t and IMN should have a dialogue and settle this issue to avoid further sad occurrences.