Molly Kilete, Abuja
Against the backdrop of the attack by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shi’ites, on security personnel at the National Assembly, in Abuja, on Tuesday, the military and the Nigeria Police Force have beefed up security in the country’s capital.
Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, specifically vowed to go after the Shi’ites and has warned that he would no longer tolerate the situation where police officers are attacked without provocation.
The IGP handed down the warning when he visited some wounded police officers currently on admission at the National Hospital, in Abuja, yesterday.
The wounded police officers are Umar Ndabrana, DSP Samuel David, Corporal Mohammed Seriki and Corporal Joseph Abutu.
The IGP, accompanied by the FCT Police Commissioner, Bala Ciroma, arrived the hospital at about 12:28pm.
He said: “In the course of protecting our citizens and giving room to people to express themselves, a group of people went overboard and attacked police officers in the course of performing their duties and you see the result; our officers were shot.
“I have seen them, they have bullet wounds in their bodies and some were attacked with clubs and stones. We showed restraint in terms of not going the same way the protesters went but it is an act that is not tolerated and it is an act we will not condone again.
“The right to express yourself does not mean the right to trample on other people’s rights to the extent of causing havoc and sufferings on other people.
“Those people we have arrested amongst them, we will make sure they are prosecuted and those who are yet to be arrested, we will go after them and make sure they are arrested and justice is done.”
Asked about the threat made by the group to continue their protest until their leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky and his wife are released, the IGP replied: “We are ready for them. We will not explain our strategy, but we will make sure we don’t allow them disrupt the peace of the city.
“We have arrested 40 members of the El-Zakzakky Islamic Movement of Nigeria and we will make sure those on the run are also arrested.
“The doctor has assured us that the policemen you have seen here are in stable condition and they are doing well. As you know, police, as an institution will take care of their bills, welfare and insurance.
“So, for now, everything is in order and the rest of their actions are left to us; in terms of how to handle the Islamic movement.”
The IGP reiterated that the police has put in new strategies to curb the activities of Shi’ites; who have been disturbing the peace of Abuja, with their incessant protests. He said the Tuesday protest would be the last to be conducted by the group in Abuja as the police have put everything in place to ensure they no longer have free access into the city.
On Tuesday, Shi’ites broke through the National Assembly security cordon and attacked security personnel.
Scores were injured on both sides and many Shi’ites were also arrested by the police.