Premium Times (Abuja)

11 May 2014

Nigeria Police Move Against #bringbackourgirls Protesters in Abuja

Photo: Chine Ezekwesili
Police forcibly prevent protesters from their daily sit-in at Unity Fountain Abuja on Sunday.

Armed police officers on Sunday shoved protesters demanding the rescue of the 276 abducted school girls, after initially blocking their access to the venue of their meeting in central area of Abuja city.

Over 50 police men took over the Unity Fountain venue and tried to forcibly prevent protesters from their daily sit-in.

The demonstrators are asking for a more decisive effort by the government to rescue the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram from their secondary in Chibok, Borno State, nearly a month ago.

There is an ongoing international effort to assist in locating and rescuing the girls. New reports say the girls may have been split into units and moved from Sambisa forest in Borno state where they were initially believed to be held.

The Nigerian government's first crackdown on the protesters last week sparked widespread condemnation.

The leader, Naomi Mutah Nyadah, was arrested by the police reportedly on the orders of First Lady, Patience Jonathan. She was released amid public uproar.

Sunday's sit-in was attended by a former education minister, Oby Ezekwesili, and a former House of Representatives member, Dino Melaye.

Indications the authorities were planning to stop the meeting emerged early Sunday as officers were drafted to the venue of the rally as early as 7am.

At about 8.30am, a sound system company that was setting up speakers and microphones for the rally was ordered out of the Unity Fountain.

The meeting finally held as protesters refused to be cowed by the armed officers.

"Despite all the security opposition & intimidation, we held the #bringbackourgirls meeting successfully," one protester tweeted.

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