Men of the Nigeria Police on Thursday disrupted a peace walk organised by civil society groups in Abuja.
The Groups included the Stop Impunity Nigeria, SIN, Campaign, Citizens Wealth Platform and Say No To Corruption.
The protesters, comprising hundreds of Nigerians with women in majority, had mobilised at the Millennium Park in Abuja to embark on a peace walk to the National Assembly to protest wasteful spending and impunity in public finance management, when they were dispersed by the police, using teargas.
It was gathered that in the process of dispersing the peaceful men and women, one Tule Tatiana sustained serious injuries and has been hospitalized.
According to the group, the police led by a very senior officer claimed to be acting on orders from above to disperse the protest and tore the banners and posters used for the walk.
“We recall that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 guarantees the right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association and freedom of movement to all Nigerians. We further recall that these rights are guaranteed in a multiplicity of domestic and international instruments binding on Nigeria,” the group said on its website.
It said further that “A walk against fiscal impunity has been met with aggravated physical impunity that threatens the lives and limb of innocent citizens who have been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment. A Police that turns its guns and arsenals on its employers is not a Police fit for a civilised nation, while an administration that fails to allow peaceful display of banners and placards cannot be described as democratic.”
SIN has therefore demanded “an unequivocal public apology, compensation and guarantees of non repetition,’ from the police.
The police is yet to respond to the accusation, but it would be recalled that it had earlier this month banned gatherings, receptions and carnivals in and within all airports across the nation.
According to the force spokesman, Frank Mba, the ban was part of a deliberate effort aimed at averting any security breach.
It is not clear now whether the ban extends to all gatherings suspected to be against the present administration as some Nigerians now perceive the clampdown.
On September 23, the police stopped a meeting of the leadership of the Abubakar Baraje-led faction of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Bauchi, sealing off Awala Hotel, venue of the meeting and preventing officials and members of the faction from gaining entrance, saying it acted on order from higher authorities.
Another meeting of the G7 governors, this time in the Kano State Governor’s Lodge in Asokoro area of Abuja was on November 4 disrupted after men of the Nigeria Police stormed the venue of the meeting.