•Again, police stop campaigners from entering Aso Villa
From Molly Kilete, Abuja
There was a mild drama yesterday between members of BringBackOurGirls (BBOG), group and the police who prevented the campaigners from embarking on their peaceful protest in Abuja.
The members, who gathered at their usual Unity Fountain venue as early as 6am, commenced their peaceful procession at exactly 930, when a police officer, Abiodun Alamatu, approached their leader demanding a police permit.
Leader of the group, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, immediately presented the police officer acknowledgement copies of the letters submitted to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command after which they were allowed to continue.
However, not satisfied with the letter, the police again stopped the protesters halfway to the road leading to the Presidential Villa, insisting that the group did not get police approval to embark on the protest.
Led by Mr. M.D. Garba, a Deputy Commissioner, the police barricaded the road, thus forcing the BBOG members to surge through the barricade of riot policemen and officers, and eventually got to the entrance of the Villa. The march caused traffic gridlock. While the police were busy preventing the BBOG from having access to the Villa, another group which identified themselves as ‘With Buhari We Stand’, were already at the venue chanting and condemning the BBOG’s, constant demand for the release of the Chibok girls.
Not deterred by the mission of the pro-Buhari group, the BBOG went ahead to paste the photographs of each of the missing Chibok girls on the walkways after which they addressed the Press on their mission.
In her address, one of the leaders of the group, Aisha Yesufu, said rescuing the kidnapped Chibok girls was a right and not a privilege as it is being perceived by the government and its agents.
She said: “It is not a privilege to bring back our girls; it is not right, adding that “the option of do-nothing, unfortunately, is what the government is doing.”
Also speaking, leader of the pro-Buhari group, Idris King, described the kidnapping of the Chibok girls as a scam. He said the Buhari administration was doing everything to rescue the girls alive.
The two groups, which shouted and abused one another were, however, prevented by the police from attacking themselves.
When contacted on why the police prevented the BBOG from embarking on their peaceful march which they have been carrying out for some time now, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Anjuri Mamzah, denied the claim.
He said the police did not prevent members of the group or any other group from embarking on protest.
However, the FCT Police Command had on Monday, September 5, issued a statement advising individuals and groups wishing to embark on any demonstration to notify the Commissioner, in writing and secure approval.
The statement which was issued at about 9pm in the night said:
“The FCT Police Command has observed with serious concern the flagrant disregard for the law some individuals and group of persons who lay siege to the Federal Capital City in the form of protests and demonstrations.
“These indiscriminate actions which are carried out in disorderly and sometimes riotous manner, create unwarranted tension and apprehension among law-abiding citizens and in the process, obstruct legitimate business activities.”
The statement signed by the commands’s PPRO, said: “It is on this note that the command is making it clear that it will continue to be professional in discharging its constitutionally assigned roles in accordance with international best practices especially as it relates to the fundamental rights of citizens.
“However, the command will not fold its arms and watch some individuals or group of persons tamper with the existing peaceful atmosphere in the Federal Capital Territory.
“The command hereby advises any person or group of persons who wish to embark on any demonstration to notify the Commissioner of Police FCT in writing and secure approval,” the statement added.