By Gabriel Ewepu & Fortune Eromosele – Abuja
A female police officer, Monday, allegedly fired a tear gas canister at the publisher of Sahara Reporters and former presidential candidate of African Alliance Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore, at the Unity Fountain, Abuja.
This was contained in a statement signed by Jaye Gaskia for the Peoples Alternative Political Movement, TPAP-M, and made available to Vanguard, which indicated that Sowore with members of coalition of Civil Society Organisations, gathered at Unity Fountain, where they wanted to have access to the venue to begin a peaceful protest tagged ‘National Day Of Action to Protest against Insecurity, Poverty, Hardships, Joblessness, and Mass Misery’.
However, according to the statement planned peaceful protest was violently disrupted by a large contingent of armed police personnel who stormed the venue in a convoy of over five police Hilux vehicles.
The statement also alleged that some protesters were locked inside the venue, others were prevented from coming in as Pandemonium was however let loose as soon as the convoy of armed police personnel arrived. They disembarked from their vehicle and began shooting tear gas canisters at point-blank range against the protesters.
The statement reads in part, “One of the shots hit Sowore on the back of his right lap below his buttocks, thereafter they were violently dispersed and the convoy of armed police continued to chase protesters away.
“This violent disruption of a peaceful protest is further indication of Nigeria’s slide to tyranny, the heightened level of insecurity and the failure of the state to protect her citizens.
“We demand justice for the peaceful protesters. We demand the officers who violently disrupted the peaceful protest should be fished out and prosecuted.
Also, the statement called for arrest and prosecution of the alleged officer who shot Sowore for attempted premeditated murder.
In conclusion, the statement added that “Finally, we reaffirm our fundamental rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom to assemble.
“We serve notice that we are not giving up our rights, nor shall we stop agitating for responsible governance whose sole purpose is the welfare and security of the people.”
Source: Nigerian Newspapers Online