By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—THE Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Police Command, Wenesday, arrested 52 members of the El-Zakzaky-led Islamic Movement in Nigeria,IMN, following yesterday’s protest embarked upon by the group seeking the release of their leader,Sheik Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
El Zakzaky had been in detention for almost two years without trial.
The police said the arrest led it to the recovery of some bottles of improvised petrol-bomb, stones and catapults used by members of the sect to attack police operatives and damage police operational vehicles.
The FCT Police Command, in a statement by its Public Relations Officer,Anjuguri Manzah, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, said some of the group members were arrested because they attacked innocent citizens, including police operatives, leaving some with injuries.
The Shi’ites group numbering over 100, had started their protest from Garki Area 10 heading towards Area 1 before their route along Moshood Abiola Road on Area 2 junction was barricaded by armed police operatives.
The policemen fired tear gas canisters at the youths, who equally responded by throwing stones at the policemen.
The incident, which caused pandemonium in the area made traders to quickly closed their shops, while motorists looked for alternative routes for fear of being attacked.
But the police said it successfully arrested 52 of the protesters, saying they will be charged to court on completion of investigation.
The police statement read: “Following the violent protest by members of the El-Zakzaky Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) group who went on rampage and were attacking innocent citizens including Police operatives on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, the FCT Police Command has arrested some members of the sect and recovered some bottles of improvised petrol-bomb, stones and catapult used by members of the sect to attack police operatives and damage police operational vehicles.
“It is pertinent to state that the unlawful action of members of the sect, which started on Monday, January 8, 2018 is constituting a serious security threat to the peace of the Federal Capital Territory and at the same time disrupting innocent citizens from going about their lawful businesses.”
“ In view of the current security situation in the Country, the Command wishes to unequivocally state that while it will continue to be professional in the discharge of its constitutional and statutory roles of the protection of lives and property of the good people of FCT; and equally recognise the rights of citizens to express their lawful grievances, the command will not fold its arms and watch some persons hold the capital city to ransom by disrupting government and legitimate business activities.
“In view of the forgoing, the command wants to state that any person or group of persons arrested for violating the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution while registering their protest will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the appropriate section(s) of the law.
“Meanwhile, the fifty-two (52) members of the El-Zakzaky group arrested by police operatives during today 10th January, 2018 violent protest that left some policemen with injury will be charged to court upon the conclusion of investigation.”