Nigerian police have arrested Aisha Jibrin and 24 others who led Monday’s protest to lament hunger, hardship and rising inflation in Minna, Niger State.
SaharaReporters on Monday reported that hundreds of men, women and youths in Minna, the Niger State capital staged a protest against the hardship under President Bola Tinubu’s government.
They had also lamented the hikes in the prices of gas and fuel in the country.
But the Niger State Command Public Relations Officer, DSP W. A. Abiodun in a statement issued on Wednesday said the protesters had been arrested for deliberately refusing to clear the road for public use.
He stated that after much persuasion by the police and that even though the Deputy Governor of Niger State, Yakubu Garba, availed himself at the scene and addressed the group, the women chose to be violent.
The police spokesperson claimed that the protesters attacked the police with dangerous weapons such as stones, bottles, sticks, and cutlasses.
According to him, they damaged police patrol vehicles and parts of the Kpakungu Division roof.
The statement reads in part, “It could be recalled that on 5/2/2024 at about 0700hrs, a large number of women and miscreants mobilized themselves and blocked Minna-Bida road and Kpakungu Roundabout claiming to be protesting against increase in foodstuff prices, causing major obstruction on the highway and deprived motorists, travellers and other road users from gaining access to attend to their lawful businesses.
“The Command immediately drafted Police patrol teams led by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Operations DCP Shehu Umar Didango to the scene, and after much persuasion by the Police, the protesters deliberately refused to clear the road for public use, while His Excellency, the Deputy Governor of Niger State Com. Yakubu Garba equally availed himself at the scene and addressed the group, yet they turned deaf ears and chose to be violent.
“However, the Police adopted minimum force to disperse the protesters who turned violent by attacking the Police with dangerous weapons such as stones, bottles, sticks, cutlasses and damaged Police patrol vehicles and parts of the Kpakungu Division roof.
“In the course of this, the Police arrested the initiator of the protest one Aisha Jibrin 30yrs, Fatima Aliyu 57yrs, Fatima Isyaku 43yrs all of Soje ‘A’ of Kpakungu area of Minna and twenty-two other miscreants with the following dangerous weapons; -A bench and a stick used as barricade, Three knives, One scissors, One cutlass, One saw blade, One iron pipe, Four other sticks, Two wraps of Indian hemp, Charms, etc.
“During interrogation, the said Aisha claimed that she was not aware that her action was illegal by mobilizing over one hundred women and miscreants to block the highway for a violent protest. She claimed further that she informed one youth leader Hassan in the area, who promised to inform the Police of their plan to protest, but did not do so.
“Meanwhile, all suspects were taken to SCID Minna for investigation and they will be charged to court for prosecution, as effort is ongoing to arrest other identified members of the violent protest.
“The Commissioner of Police, Niger State Command CP Shawulu Ebenezer Danmamman, fsi urges Nigerlites, members of the public to be law-abiding and should not resort to self-help, but rather approach appropriate authority to address issues whenever the need arises.”
However, human rights activist and candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) in the 2019 and 2023 presidential elections, Omoyele Sowore, on his X handle on Wednesday called for the immediate release of the women.
“I have just received information that the woman who initiated the food price protest in Niger State has been arrested by the @@PoliceNG for organizing this heroic act, she and other women are to be arraigned by the Police.
“The police must release them immediately. These women are going to be more of these uprising coming the way of Nigeria. #RevolutionNow,” he wrote.