Police fire teargas, arrest June 12 protesters

The Federal Capital Territory Police Command on Saturday has said that they fired teargas canisters at protesters to prevent members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria and others from inciting public disturbance.

The FCT Police Public Relations Officer, Yusuf Mariam said this in a statement hours after the incident occurred at Gudu area of Abuja.

She said that calm has been restored in the area and said nobody was arrested.

“The FCT Police Command on Saturday, June 12, 2021, successfully restored calm at Apo-Gudu axis after professionally dispersing a protest by some members of the proscribed Islamic Movement of Nigeria – Shiites and others targeted at inciting public disturbance and breaching public peace,” the statement read.

“Consequently, the action of the command was necessitated by the concerns of some agitated residents. However, no arrest was made.

“In view of the above, the command wishes to state that it is committed to ensuring that FCT residents enjoy a hitch-free Democracy Day celebration and will not hesitate to bring to book every person or entity that attempts to breach the peace or cause a breakdown of law and order in the Federal Capital Territory.

“The command implores residents to remain calm and law-abiding while reaffirming its unwavering commitment to the protection of lives and property within the FCT.”

Also, the Police Command in Lagos said it arrested five persons suspected to have participated in protests that rocked some parts of the state on Saturday.

Mr Hakeem Odumosu, the commissioner told newsmen that the five persons were arrested in front of Gani Fawehinmi’s Park (GFP), Ojota and that they have been released.

He spoke during his situation assessment visit to GFP.

“As at now, no suspect is being detained in connection with the protest.

“I want to emphasise that no single person is in Police custody as a result of the protest (as at 1.30 p.m. press time).

“Five persons were arrested at Ojota, I ordered my men to release them. I thank God no one was injured, no vehicle was damaged,” he said.

The Police boss said that everywhere he had visited was calm, stressing that reports from officers showed that everywhere was calm in Lagos.

Odumosu said the Police had nothing against protesters as long as they were peaceful in their conduct, stressing that the only thing he requested from them was information about their protest, not permit order.

He said the information sent out by the protesters, through the social media, requesting residents to sit at home created panic in the state, stressing that through a press statement on Friday, the directive was countered.

The Police boss said that his men were deployed to various areas noted to be black spots as early as 2 a.m. on Saturday, stressing that his directive to his men was that protesters have the right to do so peacefully.

“The only thing I need from protesters is notification of their protest and not to seek for permit, so that we can provide them with security. It is their constitutional right to protest. If Police are not involved, hoodlums may hijack the protest.

“I also advised the protesters to write to the state government to make use of parks for their protest, that way, they will not block the major roads and cause heavy traffic gridlock.

“While they have the right to protest, other road users have right of free movement on the road.

“The Police gun shots this morning at Ojota was as a result of some people blocking the roads leading in and out of Lagos at Ojota. I have the recorded video. The protesters may have good intention, but criminally minded people blocked the road to commit crimes.

“I quickly ordered my men to appeal to the protesters to leave the road and use minimum force to liberate the road so that those going out of Lagos or coming in will not be held up in traffic, particularly this time where we have traffic robbery,” he said.

Odumosu also appreciated the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS), who withdrew from the protest because of intelligence report they got indicating that some hoodlums were planning to hijack the protest.

Some protesters later met with the commissioner at the park, where he advised them against violent protest.

The protesters, who were happy after the meeting with the Police officer, assured him of peaceful protest.

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