Molly Kilete, Abuja
Shiite group Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) took again to the streets of Abuja to protest the continuing detention of their leader Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
The protesters, who came into the country’s capital from the Gwagwa/Karmo/Jabi axis of the city, however did not have any confrontation with the police this time around, who provided escort for them.
They were also escorted by men of the Vehicle Inspection Office(VIO) to prevent traffic gridlock.
The presence of the VIO officials not withstanding, motorists around the Jabi, Utako and Berger junction had a hectic day to heavy traffic, spending hours waiting for the protesters to march pass the areas.
Traffic wardens had a tough time in preventing motorists from driving headlong onto the crowd.
The protesters, comprising mostly children, young boys and girls and the elderly, came in chartered buses, SUVs and other vehicles.
They chanted various abusive slogans, calling on government to released El-Zakzaky and vowed not to give to their protest until he is freed.
Unlike in the past when the police usually chased and dispersed the protesters with tear gas and water canons, the use of force by the police seems to have reduced as they now provide escort for the protesters.
Security sources told Daily Sun that the change in tactic by the police may not be unconnected with security reports of a counterattack by the protesters using dangerous weapons to fight the police.
The security source said there are fears that when that happens, innocent persons may also be attacked.
Asked why the police have resorted to providing security for the protesters in the last few days, FCT Police Command public relations officer Anjuguri Mamzah said he was not aware that the Shiite group embarked on a protest Wednesday.