Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shiites again took to the streets in Abuja on July 22, 2019 in a violent protest that led to the killing of a Deputy Commissioner of Police and six others.
The senior police officer, Mr Usman Umar, is in charge of Operations at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Command.
A member of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who was one of the reporters with Channels Television was also killed by a stray bullet.
Many other persons were reported shot dead at the Federal Secretariat where the protesters threatened to burn down the sprawling foreign affairs ministry.
The police Spokesman, Mr Frank Mba, also stated that two Assistant Superintendents of Police were injured.
The police stressed that the protesters who were heavily armed, defied all sense of decency and violently attacked innocent citizens and police personnel on duty within the Central Business District of Abuja.
It also states that the protesters razed down a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Response Post close to the Federal Secretariat, Abuja and two vehicles.
Meanwhile, the police say they have arrested fifty-four (54) suspects in connection with the incidents, adding that the suspects are undergoing interrogation and will be arraigned in court as soon as possible.
The IGP, while commiserating with the family of the late DCP, condemned the incident and warned that ‘Enough-is-Enough’ as the Force and the nation at large will not continue to suffer losses on account of reckless and lawless persons and groups in the society.
The Shiites have been protesting against the detention of their spiritual leader, Sheik Ibrahim Zakzaky, who has been facing homicide trial since December 2015.
The protest, which began from NITEL junction at Wuse zone 2, was disrupted by armed policemen who cordoned off the road leading to the national assembly and three arms zone.
Mba urged residents of Abuja to be calm and reported: “There is a violent protest currently ongoing by members of the El-Zakzakky Group in some parts of the FCT – particularly the Central Business District and the Three Arms Zone. The Police are taking adequate measures to bring the situation under control,” he said.
“Citizens are advised to remain calm and avoid the affected areas in the interim. The Police will keep the public abreast with further development.”
It was observed that while the fracas lasted, operatives of the Department of State Services redirected commuters and motorists to the Muhammadu Ribadu Road to link main Asokoro outside the presidential villa.
The police have taken control of the area and made some arrests.
Counting its loss, Shiites group alleged that 11 of its members were killed in the clash with the police.
It also claimed that 30 others were injured in the fracas.
The figures were contained in an update by the President of the Media Forum of Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim Musa.
“Abuja today (on Monday) yet again witnessed one of the worst cases of blatant trampling of the rights of citizens ever seen in the Federal Capital, when joint security forces consisting of both uniformed men and officers of the Nigerian Police Force and others in mufti, unleashed their fury on a Free Zakzaky protest by members of the Islamic Movement.
“The procession, attended by several thousands of persons, including very young children, the aged, women and the physically challenged, met with an extreme rage indicative of deep seated animosity the Nigerian authorities bear for the Movement.’’
About 45 members of Shiites who stormed the premises of the National Assembly were arrested last week.
Zakzaky is currently facing trial at the Federal High Court in Kaduna over the killing of more than 300 people in a clash with the Nigerian Army in Zaria.
A panel set up to investigate the clash recommended the trial of the leader of IMN and some of his followers.
In a similar clash with the Army in 2014, three sons of Zakzaky were killed.