President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja reacted to the wave of protracted violent protests by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in the nation’s capital, asking the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, to resist attempts by the group to create anarchy in the capital city.
Fielding questions from newsmen after meeting the president at State House, Adamu said he was in the State House to brief Buhari on the activities of the group particularly the frequency of its protests. The IG further said he told the president that activities of the group have been put under control. According to him, the president, in his response, instructed him to ensure that all citizens are protected and no group should be allowed to foist lawlessness on the country.
The President’s directive came after a senior police officer was killed on Monday during renewed clashes between the police and the Shiite group, in Abuja. The slain officer, Umar Bele, was a Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations and a former Principal Staff Officer (PSO) to former Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris. Police authorities are yet to officially react to the death of the officer. This is the third time in five days that the Shiite group will clash with security operatives.
The protesters alleged that the Monday rally was peaceful while marching to the federal secretariat until they were shot at. A Shiite member who identified himself as Yahaya Mohammed, said they were having a peaceful protest when military officers attacked them. “Which clash? There was no clash between us and anybody. It was a peaceful protest. Until these security officers just came and started shooting and attacking us,” Mohammed said.
The protest turned violent as some persons were shot and a vehicle was set on fire on the road opposite the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Police officers summoned firefighters to the scene, as roads leading to the Villa, National Assembly and Police Force Headquarters were cordoned by the military and other security agencies.
“They used live bullets on our members and many have been killed,” Abdullahi Musa, a spokesman of the group said. The protesters are calling for the release of their leader El-Zakzaki, who has been in detention since 2015.