A combined team of policemen and men of the Department of State Services on Monday halted a peaceful procession of the Bring Back Our Girls group at the Independence Avenue, Abuja.
The protesters, who were clad in red shirts and armed with placards, had taken off from the Unity Fountain, Maitama, with the aim of seeing President Muhammadu Buhari to demand an update on the abducted Chibok girls.
However, on getting to the Independence Avenue which leads to Aso Rock, about 60 security agents formed a barricade, effectively preventing the protesters from proceeding.
The BBOG had declared a 14-day line-up of activities to force Buhari to act more decisively in rescuing the Chibok school girls who have been in captivity for over 800 days.
The co-convener of the group/former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, told the police that they had come to see the President, arguing that he is answerable to Nigerians who elected him into office.
She also asked the policemen to allow the protesters to move closer.
She said, “Who is the officer in charge of this command? The problem is that we still have our members on the highway. For many years, we have been advocating, we have never engaged in anarchy”
However, the policemen did not allow the protesters to get beyond the Independence Avenue.
The policemen, led by CSP Chuks Obasi, said they were acting under strict orders.
Obasi subsequently approached Ezekwesili to explain his position, but she took offence, warning the senior officer to address her in civil manner.
“Don’t point your finger at me. Respect me because I did not point my finger at you,” she said.
In his response, Obasi said, “Well, I have my mandate and my mandate is to ensure that the protest does not assume a violent dimension.”
The protesters therefore resorted to sitting on the road and playing protest music.