A co-founder of the BringBackofOurGirls movement, Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili, said on Tuesday that she and some members of her group were arrested and detained by the police in Abuja in broad daylight.
Ezekwesili, who is also a former Minister of Education, said though the police refused to state the reason for the arrest, she was detained alongside some BBOG members.
She had announced the development in a series of tweets.
“I have been arrested along with the rest of our BBOG members and now detained without a charge by the .@PoliceNG. We are detained at the FCT command. The police here have refused to tell us why we are detained,” she wrote.
Before she took to Tweeter to state this, the Federal Capital Territory police command had prevented members of the BringBackOurGirls group from marching to the Presidential Villa,Abuja.
They also ‘arrested’ and later released the ex-minister and 10 BBOG members.
Corroborating Ezekwesili, the spokesman for the campaigners, Sesugh Akume, alleged that the police “abducted” and took them away in their patrol vans to the Maitama Police Station and later to the FCT police command.
Akume said that the coalition members were at the Aso Villa junction when the operatives “abducted and took us to the Unity Fountain and then to the Maitama Police Station.”
He said, “They grabbed us, dumped us in their van and we asked if it was an arrest, but they said it wasn’t an arrest. They took us to the Unity Fountain and asked us to get down, we said no, then they took us to the Maitama Police Station and then to the FCT police command. We walked to the gate and they locked us in and prevented us from leaving.”
“We stayed for like an hour and then the Commissioner of Police said we were free to go. We are going to take this up, we have already discussed with our lawyer, Femi Falana,” he stated.
But the police spokesman, Anjuguri Manzah, in a statement, denied that the campaigners were arrested or abducted, noting that they were simply taken to the command “to forestall a breakdown of law and order.”
The statement partly read, “The FCT Police Command wishes to clear the air and set the record straight that it did not arrest or detain Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili and some members of the BringBackOurGirls group as being speculated on some social media platforms.”
“It is pertinent to state that they were only brought to the command to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order as some members of the group reacted violently and broke down security barriers set up by the police to restrict their protest to the Unity Fountain,” he clarified.
Manzah explained that the group members were addressed by CP Sadiq Bello, “who reiterated the commitment of the command to protect lives and property and enjoined the BBOG members to go about their lawful business.”