The Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) movement on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 embarked on a protest to the presidential villa after they were twice stopped by the police.
Obiageli Ezekwesili, leader of the movement, engaged Abiodun Alamatu, a police officer who told her the group could not embark on a protest, until she provided proof that they secured permission for the protest.
The movement provided acknowledged copies of the letters submitted to the police on the planned march, after which they were allowed to continue.
Almost halfway to the presidential villa at the federal high court, the movement was again stopped by M. D. Garba, a police deputy commissioner, who kept mute on why they would not be allowed to embark on the march.
However, the BBOG protesters broke through the wall of riot police officers and by running in different directions eventually got to the entrance of the presidential villa were they met a Pro-Muhammadu Buhari group identified as ‘With Buhari We Stand’.
When Aisha Yesufu, a leader of the BBOG movement, addressed journalists, she said it was not a privilege but a right to rescue the Chibok girls.
“If Aisha Buhari was in captivity, won’t they take action? It is not a privilege to bring back our girls; it is not right,” Yesufu said.
“The option of do-nothing, unfortunately, is what the government is doing.”
But speaking on behalf of the pro-Buhari group, Idris King said the “Chibok girls were only used as a scam”.
He explained that the Buhari administration was doing everything possible to rescue the Chibok girls alive.
Although the police prevented the two groups from coming close, their members were heard and observed to be saying and carrying inciting placards such as “Oby Ezekwesili is a rabble rouser and an agent of shadow parties”, “they wouldn’t be here if their daughters were kidnapped.”
Later, Anjuguri Manzah, FCT police spokesman, issued a statement, where he accused the group of creating tension among “law abiding citizens”.
“These indiscriminate actions which are carried out in disorderly and sometimes riotous manner create unwarranted tension and apprehension among law abiding citizens and in the process obstruct legitimate business activities,” he said.
“The command hereby advises any person or group of persons who wish to embark on any demonstration to notify the commissioner of police FCT in writing and secure approval.”
The recent police order is reminiscent of that June 2014 issued by Joseph Mbu, former FCT police commissioner, banning all forms of protests in the nation’s capital.
The BBOG group had sued Mbu at the FCT high court, and the court ruled in their favour, declaring that it is the constitutional right of citizens to protest.
Hattip to TheCable