Two persons were feared dead on Monday when policemen attached to the FCT Police Command opened fire on members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria aka Shiites during a protest at the National Human Rights Commission in Abuja.
Witnesses said the police used live bullets on protesters as well as hot water cannons.
The police also fired on the human rights building as well as on cars and passersby, leaving hundreds injured.
Curoously, in what had now become s clear misuse of police persobbel, the command deployed Special Anti-Robbery Squad policemen in the area to quell the pritest.
The protest, which coincides with President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to British Prime Minister, Theresa May, was for the release of the group’s leader, Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, and his wife.
They have been detained by the Department for State Service since December 2015 in an unknown location.
The police also arrested a human rights campaigner, Deji Adeyanju.
The Shiites have held several protests, demanding the release of their leaders.
Meanwhile, the command said in a statement by its spokesman, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, that it arrested 115 Shiites.
It also denied killing anybody.
“The FCT Police Command restored normalcy at parts of Maitama following a violent protest by members of the El-Zakzaky Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) who went on rampage on Monday, 16th April, 2018 and were attacking innocent citizens, disrupting business activities, obstructing traffic movement and smashing windscreen of innocent citizens’ vehicles in the affected areas.
“Following the unfortunate incident which also resulted in the destruction of some government and Police operational vehicles, the members of the Shiite group also injured twenty-two (22) police personnel during the protest.
ii. Iron bars
iv. Ball bearings
v. Pink head bands
“One hundred and fifteen (115) members of the sect were arrested at the scene by Police operatives. Joint Team of detectives from the Command in conjunction with operatives from the IGP Monitoring Unit have commenced investigation into the incident. The arrested suspects will be charged to court upon the conclusion of investigation.
“The FCT Police Command hereby warn members of Shiites movement from further disrupting the peace, harmony and free flow of traffic in FCT.
“This is to also to urge the members of the public particularly parents not to allow their children or wards to be used as instrument of violence in any demonstration by any group that could jeopardise public peace and harmony. It is therefore imperative to state that anyone caught in the act of violent demonstration or any act capable of causing the breach of public peace will be made to face the wrath of the law.
Meanwhile, the command wishes to state that contrary to speculations from some sections of the media, no life was lost in the violent protest as the police operatives deployed to quell the protest were professional in handling the situation.”