Nigerian Police Disperse ‘Paid Protesters’ Mobilised By Ex-Governor Yahaya Bello In Abuja

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Officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday attacked and chased away some Kogi youths who had stormed the commission’s headquarters in support of ex-Governor Yahaya Bello over alleged political persecution.

There were two protests at the EFCC headquarters on Monday, one allegedly organised by opposition party members in the state in support of the EFCC and the other in support of Mr Bello.

While a protest in support of the anti-graft agency, organised by the Kogi Conscience Movement, went on peacefully, the other, which demanded that the rule of law be respected in the trial of the former governor, was interrupted by the officers.

However, some of the aggrieved protesters, who spoke to journalists under the auspices of the Kogi Youth Coalition, expressed disappointment over the development.

The group’s leader, Otitoleke Richard, alleged that the EFCC had finally fueled suspicion in many quarters that the agency sponsored the purported rally in support of the commission.

Mr Richard said: “We have been intimidated and harassed. The EFCC says we do not have the right to express our opinions on national issues.

“We have been shot at; they have used their stick to beat ordinary Nigerians that are harmless.

“We’re saying the rule of law must be applied in all corruption files. You cannot fight corruption with lawlessness.”

A member of the group, who simply identified himself as Malik, said it was unfortunate that peaceful protests that were a right of every Nigerian had now been made selective by the commission.

“Why didn’t they attempt to disperse the other group that protested against the former governor? Nigerians should not be fooled into thinking anybody is fighting corruption.

“They just want him (Bello) out, period. But we say they can’t disgrace him. Yahaya Bello has done more than any governor for us in Kogi State, and all these people know,” the protester said.

Abdulmajid Wahab, another member of the group, alleged that the security operatives destroyed one bus and impounded two others.

According to Mr Wahab, they (the officers) said the protest’s leader should come and bail out the two vehicles.

At least 10 people were alleged to have been arrested among the pro-Yahaya Bello protesters, and some were injured.

All efforts to have a chat with the leadership of the Kogi Conscience Movement were unsuccessful.


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