President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday warned that the protesting members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, otherwise known as Shi’ites, were testing the patience of the Federal Government with their violent protests in Abuja.
He said the FG might be forced to act with maximum force to defend the interest of the majority of Nigerians.
Reacting to the killing of Deputy Commissioner of Police Usman Umar and National Youth Service Corps member, Precious Owolabi, during Monday’s protest by the sect, Buhari called on any group carrying out violent protests to stop now, else the government would take decisive actions against them.
“Let nobody or group doubt or test our will to act in the higher interest of the majority of our citizens,” a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, quoted Buhari as saying on Tuesday.
The President said he was deeply touched by the death of Umar and Owolabi as he condoled with their families and the management of Channels TV, where the corps member was attached to.
He described the two as “law-abiding, hard-working and vibrant Nigerians with a promising future.”
Meanwhile, Police launched tear gas canisters and fired gunshots to disperse members of the IMN who filled the streets of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Tuesday in continuation of their protest against the continued detention of their leader, Ibraheem El-Zakzaky.
The FCT Police Command said it had arrested 12 Shi’ites who were on the rampage in the Banex area of Abuja on Tuesday.
Spokesman for the command, Anjuguri Manzah, said in a statement they acted professionally by using minimum force to restore calm to the FCT.
He said, “The police moved swiftly to the scene and arrested 12 members of the sect. The suspects were arrested while attacking innocent people, blocking roads and disrupting activities in the Banex area.”
‘Why Channels TV corper died’
The NYSC on Tuesday mourned Owolabi’s death.
The NYSC Director-General, Brig-Gen Shuaibu Ibrahim, led other officials to the National Hospital, Garki, on Tuesday morning to retrieve Owolabi’s corpse which was later conveyed to his parents in Zaria, Kaduna State, via an ambulance.
The NYSC said this in a statement on its Facebook page.
The statement said, “Until his death Owolabi, a graduate of Performing Arts from the University of Ilorin, was a serving corps member with Channels TV.”
Spokesman for the National Hospital, Dr Tayo Haastrup, confirmed to one of our correspondents on the telephone that Owolabi’s body had been removed from the hospital by the NYSC.
An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Owolabi would not have died if a surgeon had quickly attended to him at Garki Hospital where he was initially rushed to.
The source said, “When the incident happened, the first point of call was the staff hospital because we were thinking he only suffered bruises. But were told to take him to the nearest hospital.
“When we got to Garki Hospital, he (Owolabi) was still walking. The hospital said the surgeon that should do the operation to remove the bullet was not around. They tried his line and could not reach him. Eventually, when they did, he said he was far from the hospital and he is the only surgeon there.
“We took him to the National Hospital, but it was too late as he had suffered much internal bleeding. He was from Oyo State.”
However, Garki Hospital Clinical Director, Dr Aker Ityo, said the hospital did not abandon the deceased as alleged.
Ityo said, “He was brought in with gunshot wounds in the abdomen. He was already in shock. We gave him two units of blood and other appropriate treatments. We helped him to maintain his breathing and we put him in our ambulance with our officials to the National Hospital.