Police authorities in Abuja have explained why 115 members of the El-Zakzaky Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) were arrested after a protest in the Federal Capital Territory.
Members of the Islamic movement ended in a clash with police officers on Monday, after they took to the streets in Abuja to demand the release of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky. Their leader has been in custody for over two years, without trial.
To disperse the protesters, police officers near Unity Park and Transcorp Hilton Hotel on Monday, were seen teargassing the protesters, as the protesters in return hurled stones at the police patrol vehicles.
In a statement on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, police authorities in Abuja said 115 members of the group have been arrested after attacking innocent citizens, disrupting business activities, obstructing traffic movement and smashing the windscreen of innocent citizens’ vehicles in the affected areas.
The statement which was signed by the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Anjuguri Manzah explained further that investigation has commenced into the incident.
Manzah said 22 police officers were injured during the protest, adding that those arrested will be charged to court at the end of the investigation.
“One hundred and fifteen (115) members of the sect were arrested at the scene by Police operatives. Joint Team of detectives from the Command in conjunction with operatives from the IGP Monitoring Unit have commenced an investigation into the incident. The arrested suspects will be charged to the court upon the conclusion of the investigation.
“Following the unfortunate incident which also resulted in the destruction of some government and Police operational vehicles, the members of the Shiite group also injured twenty-two police personnel during the protest.
“Exhibits recovered include catapults, iron bars, stones, ball bearings, pink headbands,” the statement read in part.
The police authorities also warned Shiites movement from disrupting peace in the FCT and advised parents from allowing their children to be used as instruments of violent.
“The FCT Police Command hereby warn members of Shiites movement from further disrupting the peace, harmony and free flow of traffic in FCT.
“This is to also to urge the members of the public particularly parents not to allow their children or wards to be used as the instrument of violence in any demonstration by any group that could jeopardise public peace and harmony. It is therefore imperative to state that anyone caught in the act of violent demonstration or any act capable of causing the breach of public peace will be made to face the wrath of the law.”
The Police also said no life was lost in the violent protest as the police operatives deployed to quell the protest were professional in handling the situation.