2 Policemen Feared Dead, 8 Injured as Shiites March on N’Assembly
- IG warns troublemakers not to test will of state, orders 24-hour surveillance, 40 arrested.
Two police men was feared dead yesterday as members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), popularly known as Shiites, marched on the National Assembly to protest the detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who had been incarcerated along with his wife, Zeenatudeen, since 2015.
Other policemen were luckier, surviving the incident with injuries even as the police said 40 members of the sect were arrested.
The Shiites had marched on the National Assembly to demand the release of El-Zakzaky, who was arrested along with his wife in 2015, following a clash with the Nigerian Army and the subsequent Zaria massacre, in which three of his remaining sons, as well as hundreds of his followers, were killed.
El-Zakzaky has remained in detention despite being granted bail by the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja. Yesterday, Shiites, who had in April threatened to change tactics in their demand for the release of their leader and his wife, clashed with security agents when they stormed the National Assembly.
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, irked by the brutality unleashed on the policemen, warned the sect members not to test the will of the state. He also ordered a round-the-clock surveillance on the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) and adjoining states.
The clash between the sect members and security operatives prompted the National Assembly to order an immediate beef-up of security in the legislature. Although sources said two policemen died from injuries sustained during the protest, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command in a statement, said eight of its personnel were injured just as it accused the sect of an attempt to violently take over the National Assembly.
The statement by the Command spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said two police officers were shot and were later rushed to the National Assembly Clinic.
It added that six others suffered various degree of injuries when the protest turned violent.
It said: “The FCT Police Command yesterday foiled a violent move by members of the El-Zakzakky Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) to forcibly invade the National Assembly.
“Meanwhile, the IG has ordered a speedy and diligent investigation into the incident as well as prompt prosecution of all the persons arrested and now in police custody in connection with the incident.
“The IG reiterated his displeasure with the unwarranted and unjustifiable attack on, and injury to nine police officers by members of the El-Zakzakky group and commended the restraint, maturity and professionalism displayed by police personnel in containing the protest.
“The IG also directed the AIG in charge of Police Medical Department to ensure that proper and prompt medical attention is given to the injured officers and wished the victims quick recovery,” Mbah said. Earlier, sources had said one of the shot policemen later died in the hospital.