BY SEGUN ADEBAYO, ABUJA – It was a trying moment for popular musician, Charles Oputa, a.k.a Charly Boy, and some of his colleagues who converged at the popular Millennium Park, opposite the Unity Fountain, Maitama in Abuja, to demand that President Muhammadu Buhari resumes or resign if incapable of performing his mandate as president.
A detachment of policemen fired tear gas fired, just as a journalist from Silverbird was beaten by a police sergeant. Leader of the protest that was organised by a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), led by Charly Boy and Deji Adeyanju, turned sour on Tuesday when policemen began firing tear gas canisters and high velocity stream of water to disperse them.
The daily protest, which started on Monday, is being carried out by a group of concerned Nigerians under the auspices of ‘Our-Mumu-Don-do Movement’. Tuesday also witnessed the slumping of Charly Boy after inhaling tear gas fired by the policemen drafted to disperse the protesters.
Reacting to police action, according to a press statement signed by the Police Public Relations Officer of the FCT Police Command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, “It will be recalled that ‘Our-Mumu-Don-do Movement’ carried out their protest on Monday 7th August, 2017 at the same venue and were accorded necessary Police presence to safe guard public safety and public peace, and protect their rights to freedom of expression, rights to peaceful Assembly and Association, and right to freedom of movement as provided for in sections 39, 40, and 41 of the 1999 constitution as amended.
“However, today 8th August, 2017 the same group assembled at the same venue but allowed miscreants, hoodlums and other unruly individuals to infiltrate the protests, who started blocking the major roads adjoining the Unity fountain, obstructing traffic and preventing movements of other innocent citizens from going to their means of livelihood, and thereby exhibiting unruly behaviours and other violent acts very likely to cause the breakdown of law and order and disturbance of public peace.
“The Police personnel intervened at the point that the concerned Nigerians Group lost control of the crowd and prevented miscreants, hoodlums and other criminal elements from hijacking the protest to cause mayhem and chaos.
“It is pertinent to state here that the FCT Police command is fully aware and recognizes the constitutional rights of every citizen including “Our Mumu Don do group” to assemble and move freely in any part of the Federal Capital Territory, but the command will not allow any protest under any guise to turn violent and jeopardise the prevailing peace, law and order currently being enjoyed in the FCT.
“The command wishes to assure all residents and visitors to the territory of adequate security and protection of lives and property of everyone including those who choose to express their constitutional rights of protest with decorum.
“Consequently, members of the public, parents and guardians, religious/opinion leaders and other interest groups are advised to prevail on their children and wards, followers and adherents not to allow themselves to be used by any group to cause disturbance of public peace and break down of law and order.”