- …Tear-gas, arrest organisers
By Stanley Onyekwere
Police have prevented some youths from gathering at Unity Fountain square in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), in protest at the perceived Federal Government’s poor handling of the lingering Boko Haram insurgency in the country.
Some youthsdressed in different attires with placards, gathered at about 10: 30 aminside the Unity Fountain ground, near Transcorp Hilton hotel, to voice their anger, but officers around the vicinity refused to allow them, as they disperse them with tear gas canister.
Our correspondent reports that police trucks with heavily armed officers, swapped in and arrested the organsers and some of the protesters.
The protests come amid reports that the Federal government has been paying lip service towards tackling the activities of the dreaded Boko haram sect in the North eastern states of the country.
This followsthe February 25 horrific attack on the Federal Government College Buni Yadi, in Yobe state, which the insurgents reportedly murdered about 59 students of the college.
However, when approach for explanation for their action, the Leader of the Police team, Daniel Akpan, said the organisers of the protest did not obtain Police permission to hold the protest.
One of the protest organisers, Ibrahim Garba Wala, said they don’t require to obtain prior police permissionto express their civic rights as citizens of the country, and no body, not even the police should resort to using force against people staging a peaceful protest against wanton killings in the land.
According to him, the insecurity in the land should be a threat to anything, including even the ongoing centenary celebration of the country.
He said: “May be because of the centenary celebration, it appears that the impression that the security men are giving us is that we are here because we want to embarrass the government; no.
“We are all aware of what is happening in the north eastern part of the country; the number of killings, just recently girls between the ages of 16 and 18 in schools were abducted for sex slavery, 39 students in federal government school were slaughtered.
“In fact the figure keeps increasing every day; we are now hearing the latest development that it is even up 80 students that were killed by the insurgents in Yobe state.
“So I wonder what kind of spirit does the leadership of this country possess;that we don’t care about the daily happenings on the streets; things that concerns the lives of the common man on the streets?”
He continues: “But what are doing; we are telling Nigerians and the authorities to be mindful of not allowing people to express their anger and frustration over state of things in the society; it is part of their democratic rights.
“We should be given the room to express our civic rights as citizens of this country; so no body, not even the police should resort to using force against us.
“Whatever it is, we are here to tell Nigerians that, no the killings have to be stopped; politicization of the issue must stop; and the President should sit up and live up to expectations.
“Nigeria: north, east, south and west; Christians or Muslims including even pagans, whatever! We are all Nigerians, and issues that what concern north east, concerns every part of this country.
“So we are not here for anybody, but rather to tell Nigerians that this is the only country we have, and it is only us that we protect this country.”
Peoples Daily reports that the organisers had circulated a message via the social platforms and phone SMS, calling on Nigerian youths to join them at the unity fountain, to demand for a proactive measure by the government to ensure that people in the troubled states, especial women and children are protected, even as it tries to end the insecurity there.