While speaking during a Channels TV’s programme, Sunrise Daily on Thursday, the Nigerian Police Public Relations Officer, Jimoh Moshood, accused the leader of a group of protesters under the aegis of Concerned Nigerians, led by Adeyanju Deji and Charley Boy, of being overly dramatic.
The Police PRO defended the reason why the Police resorted to using tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters, saying that it is in order to prevent a breakdown of law and order.
Recall that the protesters had on Monday taken to the streets of Abuja calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to either resume work or resign. However, on Tuesday, the Police alleged that hoodlums had infiltrated the protest which would have led to a total breakdown of law and order if not for their prompt intervention.
Although the group, numbering less than 10, in what appeared to be a peaceful protest were seen sitting at the Unity Fountain, the Police claimed that hoodlums and miscreants took over the process, hence the need for them (the Police) to take necessary action.
The leader of the group, 66-year-old Charles Oputa, popularly known as Charly Boy, had collapsed twice during the protest as a result of the teargas and water which Police officers sprayed at him and others
The Police Pro stated that the account of the incident as narrated by Charley Boy was wrong as the Police did not initially prevent the group from embarking on the protest, but rather showed their support on the first day.
“His first account alleging some Police men to have told them that they shouldn’t come out to protest in the first instance is not correct. No Police officer would do that. Anything that has to do with politics or people protesting lies in the rim of the responsibility of the people as provided for in the Constitution.
“But like I said, we noticed the mix up in them of miscreants and hoodlums and that is why the police have to intervene to ensure that the protest doesn’t go beyond that. Like I have explained situations of riot to you, we don’t want this protest to dovetail and end up in riot and that is why we quickly intervened. So his account is not correct at all.
“When the Camera comes in must have been when Police intervention had been done and they see smoke of tear gas. The smoke of tear gas can go up for quite some minutes without subsiding until after the normal time that the tear gas ought to subside.
“So any camera man can pick a picture of that and you can see over dramatisation by the leader of the protesters who was sitting on the chair because the camera was coming to his side he decided to fall down,” Moshood said.
Watch the dramatic video interview below;