Lagos went to bed on Monday, wondering what brand of security architecture Nigeria was practicing that would result in a blatant murder of an innocent journalist and a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), in the course of merely quelling a protest by group which had hitherto left no one in doubt that they were determined to be heard.
Many of those who spoke to the Maritime First have also insisted on the need for police to back their explanation with footage, more so, as the protesting group had insisted that they were not responsible for the avoidable deaths, because, ‘they were not violent’!
While the Police on Monday confirmed the death of DCP Usman Umar, in the course of quelling violent protest by members of the Shiitte movement in Abuja, other sources confirmed the death of vibrant, Youth ‘Corper’ journalist, Precious Owolabi serving with the Channels TV, alongside about nine others.
“Is it still a disagreement between the Police and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria? Is the Channels a Police or it the young innocent Corper a Shiite”, asked a woman resident in Apapa, soliloquizing, as she described the pains of a mother; even as another resident, who declined to give a name wondered if the Government actually knew how far the country has degenerated to, in terms of insecurity.
“Each action, generates a reaction. Each chain of actions, generates multiple body of actions. I can assure you that the next time these Shiites would come out on their next ‘peaceful’ protest, it would be very bloody. The police would expectedly come out, armed to the teeth. And I won’t be surprise, if the Shiites protesters also come out, wielding knives!” he remarked, cautioning every journalist wanting to further cover the Shiites- Police ‘peaceful’ protests to do so, like those covering war zones.
Different persons spoke, mournfully; with most insisting that police must produce footage, to show that Nigeria was not truly applying a ‘Mungo Park’ approach, in the current tackling of the present crisis.
A woman, a civil servant who works Central Business District, Abuja in a telephone called told a Maritime First correspondent that she was glad to make home, adding that they were officially informed in the office to go home.
“Even then, many of us couldn’t leave office o. I was sorely afraid. The destruction of cars and other people’s property was just too much!” she noted further.
However, the Force Spokesman, DCP Frank Mba, in Abuja in a statement, said two other officers and a Channels’ Television Reporter were injured in the incident.
He also said that 54 suspects had been arrested in connection to the protest that involved no fewer than 3, 000 members of the group, protesting the continued detention of their leader, El-Zakzakky.
Mba disclosed that the protest took place within the Central Business District of Abuja, with the heavily armed protesters defying all “sense of decency and violently attacked innocent citizens and police personnel on duty’’.
“In the process, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations, FCT Command, DCP Usman A.K Umar, was shot and fatally injured by the protesters.
“The officer who was immediately rushed to the hospital died moments later while receiving treatment.
“Two Assistant Superintendents of Police and a Staff of Channels Television sustained serious injuries and are currently receiving treatment,” he said.
According to him, the violent protesters also razed down a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Response Post with two vehicles close to the Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
He said the 54 suspects arrested in connection with the protest were undergoing interrogation and would be arraigned as soon as possible.
Mba said that the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) had commiserated with the family of the late DCP and condemned the incident, warning that “Enough-is-Enough”.
He said that the IGP had warned that the Force and the nation would not continue to suffer losses on account of reckless and lawless persons and groups in the society.
Earlier, the Police had in its Tweeter handle said that normalcy had returned to the FCT after the violent protest by members of the group.
It said the protest by the group had been brought under control and called on the public to remain calm.
It said that the areas earlier affected by the protest were Central Business District and the three Arms Zone.