A detachment of riot policemen, numbering over 200 on Tuesday, dispersed over 100 protesters, led by the Executive Secretary of Anti-Corruption Network (ACN) and former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye.
They were protesting against what they described as “impunity in Rivers State and abuse of office by the state Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu.”
During the protest, tear gas canisters were fired indiscriminately even at journalists. Some of the protesters slumped and fainted in the process.
The battle-ready policemen had earlier condoned off the Federal Secretariat area, Abuja, where the protest was billed to hold.
The ACN protesters, in their bid to hold the rally, decided to march from the organisation’s office to the secretariat, but met an unyielding police blockade during which security operatives fired tear gas canisters at the demonstrators, resulting in a stampede and injuries.
Melaye described the situation in Rivers as “endemic, systemic and becoming contagious,” adding that for Nigeria to be rescued, “we should stand up without fear or favour and (without) the fear of the consequences.”
“We must do everything to rescue this country from the hands of these economic canker worm. There is intimidation, incessant arrests, threats and assassination attempts on my life. But for me, I am resolute because the battle to deliver this country from economic canker worms, financial vultures and inept leadership, as I have repeatedly said, is a battle of no retreat, no surrender,” Melaye said.
Nigerians, he said, must creep out of their cocoons and become change agents. “We need to call a bloodless revolution that will transform this nation from the hands of these economic canker worms and financial scavengers. Nigeria is not only sick but also suffering from a dreadful continental abnormality.
“In an unjust society, silence is a crime, this is the time in the history of Nigeria where silence is no longer golden. People must come out and speak because the day you stop eating is the day you start dying. Where dictatorship becomes legalised, revolution becomes a right,” he stressed.