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Senate ‘attacks’ police for brutalizing anti-Buhari protesters

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The Senate on Wednesday faulted men of the Nigeria Police Force for brutalizing protesters campaigning for the return or resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Police men had yesterday used force on some groups protesting against the medical vacation of the President.

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Explaining the reason for the attack, the Force said its men shot tear gas canisters at the group in order to prevent breakdown of law and order, and disturbance of public peace.

However, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, condemned the action of the police operatives.

Abdullahi said while it condemned the subject of the protest which was aimed at forcing Buhari to either terminate his medical vacation or resign, the Senate would not support any violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.

He said, “While we are opposed to the subject of the protest, the Senate acknowledges the fact that the protesters have the constitutional right to gather and express their views in a manner that will not breach public peace, order and tranquility.

“Since the ‘Our-Mumu-Don-Do’ protesters did not conduct themselves in such a manner as to disturb public peace, it is not right for the police to brutalize the people as they reportedly did yesterday.

“The police should review their rules of engagement and ensure that they are in line with that of modern democratic societies. The rights of the people should not be violated by the police employed to protect these rights.

“Where the Police suspect that hoodlums are trying to hijack the protest, it is the duty of the Police to apprehend the hoodlums and those who break the law rather than generalise and thus brutalize innocent protesters.

“We however urge the organizers of the protest to join other Nigerians in praying for the safe return of President Buhari. They should note that any mortal being can find himself in the situation where one needs medical attention and more time to fully recuperate. More so, when in the present case, the President complied with the provisions of the Constitution and all organs of government are not impaired nor hindered by his medical vacation.”

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