Members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement on Wednesday, January 24, 2018, defied the police order and marched from the Unity Fountain and blocked the Ask Rock entrance gate.
The protesters demanded an apology from President Muhammadu Buhari over Tuesday’s police arrest of the group’s leaders.
The movement said that the manhandling, arrest and detention of its members by the police was unlawful, stressing that no security agency has the right to disrupt any peaceful protest by citizens who are demanding actions on some issues that violate the constitutional rights of citizens.
Maureen Kabrik, one of the leaders of the movement, said the welfare of cattle had taken over the heart of President Muhammadu Buhari, who now “responds more promptly to issues that affect the herdsmen than the human welfare”.
She accessed the president of being insensitive to the huge loss of lives following the herdsmen’s violent campaigns nationwide.
Kabrik alleged that the President also “values oil more than human lives, hence he chose to be the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” instead of the Minister of Defence despite the high level of insecurity in the country.
Oby Ezekwesili, the co-convener of the movement, said President Buhari needed to apologise to the group for directing the police to grossly abuse BBOG members who were out on their periodic peaceful protest to raise awareness on the Chibok Girls, the Lassa fever, policewomen and the lecturers of University of Maiduguri who were abducted by Boko Haram in the North-East.
Ezekwesili argued that having gotten a favorable court judgement against the previous government when it tried to ban the BBOG, the police could not be used to disrupt the group’s peaceful demonstration when “the constitution guarantees every citizen the right to hold leaders accountable”.
She said: “The President needs to tell us while our fundamental rights have been abused, because our movement has steadfastly been known as a movement that has never behaved in an unruly manner. We are well organised, disciplined and have never disturbed public peace, so why will the police be sent after the BBOG.
What kind if repressive era we entered into? We will not accept that. The President is the one in control of the police, he needs to say to us that the police harassing us was a big mistake and apologise to us and assure us that it would never happen again. “Having gone to court to challenge the previous administration when it tried to ban our movement and winning in courts, nobody has the right to stop us.
I have also served this nation therefore nobody can shut me down, I will continue to ask for the Chibok Girls.”
In a related development, Concerned Nigerians group and members of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) otherwise known as the Shiites, also occupied the Unity Fountain in continuation of their protest to demand the release of their leader, Sheikh El-Zakyzaky, his wife and other members of the group still being detained by the Department of the State Services (DSS).
Read more at New Telegraph.