Jan 14, 2014

Ogoni: Protests Over Incident With Senator Abe

Ogoni are protesting after Senator Abe was hit by rubber bullets shot by the police on January 13. MOSOP calls for non-violence and a thorough investigation into the incident. 

Below is an article published by the Daily Times Nigeria: 

Ogoni youths on Monday [13 January 2014] disrupted commercial activities in parts of Rivers state and blocked the Eleme axis of the East-West Road in protest over the attack on the Senator representing Rivers South East district in the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, by officers of the Nigerian police in the state.

Senator Abe, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum (Down-Stream), was allegedly shot twice with rubber bullets by the police while attending a rally organised by a political pressure group, the Save Rivers Movement (SRM), at the Rivers State College of Arts and Science, Rumuola, Port Harcourt.

The senator, an indigene of Beta community in Gokana local government area of the state, was first treated at two hospitals in Port Harcourt, before he was flown to London on Sunday for further medical attention.

The youths barricaded the road, especially the axis linking the Port Harcourt Refinery, the Eleme Indorama Petroleum Company, and the Onne Sea Port, amongst others, chanting anti-police songs.

The youth, who were billed to march through the East-West Road, and Aba Road, to Government House, Port Harcourt, were, however, stopped by the police, who fired teargas canisters into the air to disperse them at Akpajo, in Eleme local government area of the state.

Meanwhile, the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) sued for calm among Ogoni youths following the attack on the senator, and called for a thorough investigation into the incident.

In a statement in Port Harcourt, MOSOP President, Legborsi Saro Pyagbara, condemned in strong terms the highhandedness and excessive use of force, saying it was in clear violations of his fundamental human rights and the disruption of the rally scheduled at the venue.

Pyagbara said, “We had hoped that politics in this dispensation will be played with civility, decency and devoid of political violence. The current level of political  intolerance in the country and in Rivers State in particular is deeply troubling and condemnable.

“Even if Senator Abe or members of his group had committed any offence, there are civil and lawful options available that the police would have adopted in dealing with the situation instead of resorting to violence and shooting.

At least, the fundamental right of this citizen to peaceful assembly and association is guaranteed by our constitution and international human rights law should have been respected.”