Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has condemned the torture and arrest of peaceful protesters in Abuja on Wednesday.
The protesters had on Wednesday morning staged a protest in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja to demand an end to the killings and abductions going on in the northern region.
The protesters had gathered using #NorthIsBleeding as a hashtag to draw attention to the plight of people in Northern Nigeria, and in the country in general.
However, the police stormed the protest ground, assaulted and arrested some of them.
Falana, who condemned the action of the police, described the arrest and detention of the protesters as a violation of the Police Establishment Act 2020.
The senior lawyer said instead of harassing and arresting peaceful demonstrators, the responsibility of the police to protesters is to give them protection.
“About 5 of the protesters are being detained by the police contrary to Section 83(4) of the Police Establishment Act 2020 which has imposed a duty on the police to provide adequate security for citizens who participate in peaceful meetings and rallies,” he said.
Videos earlier obtained by SaharaReporters show how the protesters were being brutalised and harassed by police officers.
But despite police presence, the protesters repeatedly chanted, “Buhari is a terrorist”, “Buhari is a bandit”, “Buhari is a failure” to show their disapproval of President Muhammadu Buhari's administration.
One of them explained that a Divisional Police Officer had asked his men to ensure the arrest of at least one protester, to discourage others from going ahead with the protest.
According to activist, Omoyele Sowore, the protest was going on peacefully before police officers arrived at the venue with thugs to attack and coerce protesters to forsake the cause.
He noted that about three of the protesters were thereafter arrested by the police.
He said, “#NorthlsBleeding Protest hit Abuja today and it was going on peacefully until @nigeria Police Force came with thugs to attack/brutalise protesters and arrest some three protesters @muhammadu Buhari Is a real disaster. #SecureNorth #Revolutionnow #BuhariMustGo.”
Since last week, SaharaReporters has been reporting protests against killings, kidnappings and other forms of insecurity in the North.