Buhari resume or resign protest: Police demobilise protesters with tear gas in Abuja
PROTESTERS under the aegis of Coalition of Civil Society Organisation who began their protest, on Monday in Abuja against the long vacation of President Muhammadu Buhari in London hospital were on Tuesday demobilised by a team of stern-looking police officers who stormed the venue of the protest in commando alike.
The police, who stormed the venue in a convoy, reportedly fired teargas canisters at the protesters which led to the injury of one of them.
In its swift reaction, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command said it only dispersed some miscreants, hoodlums and other criminal elements that infiltrated the protest being carried out by a group of concerned Nigerians under the auspices of Our-Mumu-Don-do Movement at Unity Fountain, Maitama, Abuja.
This was contained in a press statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), FCT Police Command, Anjuguri Manzah, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), a copy of which was made available to the Tribune Online in Abuja, on Tuesday.
It was however learnt that the injured person was quickly rushed to a nearby clinic where he was said to be currently recuperating.
Eye witnesses told the Tribune Online that the incident happened while members of the group, a coalition of some organisations, had their sit-out at the Millennium Park opposite the Unity Fountain, Maitama, Abuja.
The protesters had remained at the venue for one hour before the police descended on them.
It was further gathered that the group has again decided to march to the Presidential Villa to demand the resignation of the President Buhari.
Instead of leaving the venue, it was learnt however that the protesters continued with their meeting for up to one hour.
It will be recalled that the group, on Monday, told President Buhari to either return to Nigeria or resign because of his ill health. It further called for Section 144 of the 1999 Constitution be applied should he failed to resign. It demanded, among other things, the true health status of the President.
While speaking, the Convener, Our Mumu Don Do, Charles Oputa popularly known as Charly Boy called for the application of Section 144 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by requesting for a medical examination of President Buhari to determine his suitability to remain in office.
The Convener, Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, said “it is over 90 days that the President is absent from office and not able to perform his functions and we are demanding that the President’s handlers should disclose the true state of the President Buhari’s health as a mark of respect for citizens who voted him into power and also to further engender openness and transparency in government.”
The police who made its stand known in a press statement tagged, “Police dispersed unruly protesters and prevents breakdown of law and order and disturbance of public peace in the FCT”, therefore advised members of the public, parents and guardians, religious/opinion leaders and other interest groups to prevail on their children and wards, followers and adherents not to allow themselves to be used by any group to cause disturbance of public peace and break down of law and order.
According to the statement, “the police in the early hours of today 8th August, 2017 intervened and prevented breakdown of law and order, and disturbance of public peace in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja by dispersing some miscreants, hoodlums and other criminal elements that have infiltrated the protest being carried out by a group of concerned Nigerians under the auspices of Our-Mumu-Don-do Movement at Unity Fountain, Maitama, Abuja.
“It will be recalled that “Our-Mumu-Don-do Movement” carried out their protest on Monday 7th August, 2017 at the same venue and were accorded necessary Police presence to safe guard public safety and public peace, and protect their rights to freedom of expression, rights to peaceful Assembly and Association, and right to freedom of movement as provided for in sections 39, 40, and 41 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
“However, today 8th August, 2017 the same group assembled at the same venue but allowed miscreants, hoodlums and other unruly individuals to infiltrate the protests, who started blocking the major roads adjoining the Unity fountain, obstructing traffic and preventing movements of other innocent citizens from going to their means of livelihood, and thereby exhibiting unruly behaviours and other violent acts very likely to cause the breakdown of law and order and disturbance of public peace.
“The Police personnel intervened at the point that the concerned Nigerians Group lost control of the crowd and prevented miscreants, hoodlums and other criminal elements from hijacking the protest to cause mayhem and chaos.
“It is pertinent to state here that the FCT Police command is fully aware and recognizes the constitutional rights of every citizen including “Our Mumu Don do group” to assemble and move freely in any part of the Federal Capital Territory, but the command will not allow any protest under any guise to turn violent and jeopardise the prevailing peace, law and order currently being enjoyed in the FCT.
“The command wishes to assure all residents and visitors to the territory of adequate security and protection of lives and property of everyone including those who choose to express their constitutional rights of protest with decorum”, the statement signed by DSP Manzah stressed.