Zakzaky: Cop, 3 others feared dead as Shi’ites invade NASS

 

A policeman and three members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shi’ites, were feared dead Tuesday as hundreds of the sect members stormed the premises of the National Assembly.
The cop, who was one of the two officers wounded in the fracas at the entrance of the assembly, was said to have given up the ghost a few hours after he was rushed to the assembly clinic for treatment.

During the violent protest, several vehicles were also vandalised.

Sources told Blueprint that as a result of his critical condition the cop was to be referred to the National Hospital in Abuja before he died.

The late policeman was said to have lost much blood after he was stoned in the head by the protesters before being rushed to the clinic.

Also, an eyewitness account said three members of the sect died during the melee, “and their corpses were carried away by their members.”

Six other policemen who sustained various degrees of injuries were also treated at the clinic when the protest by members of the radical Shi’ite Islamic movement at the Assembly turned violent.

Confirming that seven persons were rushed to the clinic, Director of Medical Services at the National Assembly Dr. Bashir Hamza said: “The seven were brought here as an emergency. As usual, when patients come like that we don’t have to confirm whether it is a staff (member) or a visitor; we just first of all rush to save the life. 

“That was what was exactly done. As soon as they were brought in, we had doctors on ground who quickly received them. There were other medical personnel also on ground who attended to them.

“One of the patients had a cut which looks like knife cut on the head and was bleeding profusely. That was immediately attended to, to stop the bleeding. There was another one with gunshot wound on the left shoulder he was quickly attended to too.”

He further said “in all the cases that we have seen, we have seen seven persons with various degrees of injuries, we made sure that they were stabilised, with the exception of the first one that I mentioned who has been losing a lot of blood and has started becoming restless. 

“In our medical knowledge, we know that people (patients) who start to become restless are getting out of control, probably the bleeding is much higher than we anticipated or there is internal bleeding in the head, because it is appearing (to be) swollen.

“That one is to be transferred to the Trauma Centre of the National Hospital (Abuja). That will be ensured because we have ambulances on ground, ready for evacuation.

“Majority of the casualty are police officers. As we learnt, it was a protest. So, people who would try to go against a protest are usually police officers, except if you are unlucky to (have been) caught up between (them). The majority are police officers.”

Blueprint further learnt that three members of the sect lost their lives during the protest that lasted over two hours before the situation was brought under control by security forces.

There were, however,  sporadic gunshots at the second gate of the National Assembly premises as security men attached to the assembly made frantic efforts to wade off the Shiite protesters who were forcing their ways into the legislative arena.

‘NASS security to be beefed up’

Reacting to the incident, Chairman of the Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Publicity, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, said security within the Assembly will henceforth be beefed up.

He said the upper legislative chamber at Tuesday’s plenary discussed the issue of security within the premises vis a vis the Shiites invasion of the Assembly.

Adeyeye said: “One of the issues we have discussed is the security within the National assembly premises. It is a matter that is being looked at because parliaments across the world are not this porous.”

“All Nigerians reserve the right if they follow proper channel and procedure to come in here and meet with their representatives.

“But where there are breaches in terms of procedure and regulations guiding such matter, the matter will be looked at inside the chambers,” he said.

The Shi’ites, had for several weeks staged peaceful protests at the Assembly gate demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim Yaqoub el-Zakzaky, currently being held by the Department of State Service and facing charges of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly, and disruption of public peace.

We were proactive -Police

Meanwhile, the FCT Police Command has said its officers and men foiled the violent move by the protesting Shi’ites to forcefully invade the National Assembly.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) for the command, DSP Anjuguri Manzah, in a statement Tuesday in Abuja, said: “The group, which started its activity, camouflaged in a peaceful procession became violent trying to force their way into the National Assembly. Police operatives on the ground, however, acted proactively, professionally and used minimum force to disperse the unruly protesters.

 “Members of the sect during the violent protest shot two police personnel on the leg, while clubs and stones were used to inflict injuries on seven other policemen.”

The spokesperson said the injured policemen had been taken to the hospital for medical attention, while 40 members of the sect were arrested even as investigation remained in progress.  

 “In view of the foregoing, the command wishes to state unequivocally that while it recognizes and respects the right of citizens to peaceful procession, an attempt by any individual or group of persons to cause the breakdown of law and order will not be tolerated. Those arrested in the process will be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate law of the land,” Manzah further stated.

FCT placed on red alert 

In a related development, Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu has ordered a 24-hour surveillance in the FCT and its environs.

A statement by Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO) DCP Frank Mba Tuesday in Abuja, quoted the IGP as placing Commissioners of Police (CPs) and their supervisory Assistant Inspectors General of Police (AIGs) in states contiguous to the FCT on the alert to ensure maximum security in their respective areas of responsibility (AOR) to avert possible breach of public safety and security.

While saying  the Force was not against citizens expressing their grouse against the state, the police boss said such ventilation must be done through legitimate and acceptable processes and not by taking the laws into their own hands.

He, therefore, warned that citizens should not test the collective will of the people and the state by engaging in lawless acts likely to cause the breach of the peace.  

Also, the statement also said the IGP has ordered a speedy and diligent investigation into the incident as well as prompt prosecution of all the suspects arrested in connection with the incident.

Adamu reiterated his displeasure at the “unwarranted and unjustifiable” attack on, and injury to nine police officers by members of the sect and commended the restraint, maturity and professionalism displayed by police personnel in containing the protest.

The IGP also directed the AIG in charge of Police Medical Department to ensure  proper and prompt medical attention was given to the injured officers and wished them quick recovery.

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