About 10 members of the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) group were detained by the police at the Transcorp Hilton Junction area, Maitama, Abuja, yesterday.BBOG convener, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, alongside others, was whisked away in a police van to the FCT Police Command.
The group’s planned #BBOGMarchToTheVilla was supposed to have taken off at the city’s Unity Fountain. It was, however, interrupted by the police who cordoned off the protesters. But while the intercept lasted, another batch of the group moved on to the State House. The second team had met at Eagle Square, a few blocks from the Unity Fountain, while the first group kept the police busy.
But the Spokesman of the FCT Police Command, Anjuguri Manzah, later released a statement titled: “Prof. Ezekwesili was not detained by the police.” It insisted the command did not arrest or detain Ezekwesili and some BBOG members as “speculated” on some social media platforms.
“It is pertinent to state that they were only brought to the command to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order, as some members of the group reacted violently and broke down security barriers set up by the police to restrict their protest to Unity Fountain.
“The members of the group were addressed by the Commissioner of Police FCT, Sadiq Abubakar Bello, who reiterated the commitment of the command to protect life and property and enjoined the BBOG members to go about their lawful businesses,” the statement reads. Ezekwesili, however, took to her Twitter handle, saying: “President @MBuhari at your instruction, the IG of @PoliceNG continues to detain me and have arrested some of our members.
“President @MBuhari, the police officers deployed by IG of @PoliceNG are violating my freedom of movement by locking me in broad daylight at the Unity Fountain. This is a democracy. Officer Tina Ishaya just again refused to let me out of their wall.“The FG of President @MBuhari instructed the IG of @PoliceNG to detain me and other members of @bbog nigeria here at the Unity Fountain.”
She said further that policemen and women had built an impregnable wall and locked her in. “I have asked them more than 30 times to let me out and they refused,” she said. A picture in circulation showed Ezekwesili and some members of the group sitting on the floor at the command. They had reportedly queried the reason for their detention and sought a formal charge.
Ezekwesili alleged that when she asked the commissioner to state the reason for the arrest, she was rebuffed. In further tweets, she said: “Without stating the reason for our arrest and detention, Commissioner of Police at the FCT Command Bello has asked us to be let out of their station. We insisted on a formal charge and release but his response was, ‘I am the commissioner and now release you to go. ’
“You sympathisers of PDP and APC, please keep your sympathies and gloating to yourselves on our @BBOG Nigeria being harassed and arrested by @PoliceNG. It started four years ago, and to prove my point that your parties are Siamese Twins, it continues today. Yet, we shall stand on.
“They have cleverly forgotten that the previous Federal Government rolled out tanks and battalions of AIG Mbu-led police men and women several times to disrupt our bring back our girls meetings and marches.
“They have cleverly forgotten that the then CP Mbu banned us and we took the Nigeria police to court and won the case. They have forgotten. How about the lies by the then DSS that BBOG members were part of a terrorist cell?”
From: Guardian online news