Nigerian police ban protests over abducted girls
Lagos: Nigerian police have banned any more protests in the capital Abuja concerning more than 200 schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram, saying they could be hijacked by “dangerous elements”.
Officials close to Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan say the protests are unfairly directed at the government and security forces when they should be protesting against the rebels.
“As the FCT (Federal Capital Territory) police boss, I cannot fold my hands and watch this lawlessness,” police commissioner Joseph Mbu was quoted by the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria as saying.
“Information reaching us is that too soon, dangerous elements will join groups under the guise of protest and detonate explosives aimed at embarrassing the government.”
An international campaign to get the girls freed has shone the spotlight on Nigeria’s violent five-year-old Islamist insurgency, which has killed thousands since 2009.
Mr Mbu added that the venue for the Abuja protest, the ‘Fountain of Unity’, had become a place for “cooking and selling” by hawkers to the protesters, which he said was a “nuisance”.
The government has been repeatedly criticised for failing to protect civilians in the country’s north-east. At least 530 civilians have been killed since the day of the girls’