The Nigeria Police Force, NPF, has confirmed the arrest of 25 suspects over a recent protest in Minna, Niger State.
The protesters had on Monday blocked the ever-busy Minna-Bada Road and Kpakungu roundabout to protest the skyrocketing food prices in the country.
But the spokesperson of the Niger State Command of the Force, Wasiu Abiodun, in a statement on Wednesday, said the command has arrested the initiator of the protests, Aisha Jibrin, and some other miscreants.
The statement said: “It could be recalled that on 5/2/2024 at about 0700hrs, a large number of women and miscreants mobilised themselves and blocked Minna-Bida road and Kpakungu Roundabout, claiming to be protesting against increase in food 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 initiators 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.”
According to Mr Abiodoin, items recovered from the miscreant include “a bench and a stick used as barricade, Three knives, one pair of scissors, one cutlass, and 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 mobilising 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.
He disclosed that the suspect will be charged to court upon completion of investigation.
“Meanwhile, all suspects were taken to SCID Minna for investigation, and they will be charged to court for prosecution as efforts are ongoing to arrest other identified members of the violent protest,” Mr Abiodun added.
He said the Commissioner of Police, Shawulu Ebenezer Danmamman, urged Nigerlites and members of the public to be law-abiding and should not resort to self-help but rather approach appropriate authorities to address issues whenever the need arises.