. 4 policemen injured, vehicles vandalized
. 40 Shi’ite members arrested
. House of Reps hurriedly adjourned sitting
. IGP orders 24-hr surveillance of FCT
ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja
There was pandemonium at the premises of the National Assembly on Tuesday in Abuja as the four policemen were allegedly shot by the protesting Shiite members.
One of the affected policemen seen by our correspondent was soaked in blood and rushed into the lobby to the National Assembly clinic.
Another civilian was seen by our correspondent being rushed to the National Assembly clinic as the protesting Shi’ites destroyed no fewer than four vehicles parked outside the National Assembly.
Police, however, claimed that 40 members of the sect have been arrested in connection with the violent protest, adding that Investigation is in progress
Also, unofficial sources hinted that three members of the sect might have likely lost their lives in car accidents during the protest that last over two hours before the situation was brought under control by security forces.
The incident occurred around 2pm while plenary was ongoing.
In order to scare the protesting Shi’ites, there were sporadic gunshots in the National Assembly premises.
The security men attached to the Assembly made frantic efforts to ward off the Shiite protesters who were forcing their ways into the legislative arena.
The Shiite protesters have been demanding the release of their leader, Ibrahim Yaqoub el-Zakzaky, who is being held by the DSS and facing charges of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace.
Speaking on the number of people rushed to the National Assembly Clinic, the Director, Medical Services, National Assembly, Dr. Bashir Hamza, said seven people who sustained various degree of injuries were brought to the National Assembly Clinic.
He said: “They were brought here as an emergency. As usual, when patients come like that, we don’t have to confirm whether they are staff (member) or a visitor; we just first of all rush to save the life. That was what exactly done. As soon they were brought in, we had doctors on ground who quickly received them. There were other medical personnel also on ground who attended to them.
“One of the patients was cut, a cut which looks like knife cut on the head and was bleeding profusely. That was immediately attended to, to stop the bleeding. There was another one with gunshot wound on the left shoulder. It was quickly attended to too.
“In all the cases that we have seen – I think we have seen seven persons with various degrees of injuries, we make sure that they were stabilised, with the exception of the first one that I mentioned who has been losing a lot of blood and has started becoming restless. In our medical knowledge, we know that people (patients) who start to become restless are getting out of control, probably the bleeding is much higher than we anticipated or there is internal bleeding in the head, because it is appearing (to be) swollen.
“That one is to be transferred to the Trauma Centre of the National Hospital (Abuja). That will be ensured because we have ambulances on ground, ready for evacuation.
“The majority are police officers. As we learnt, it was a protest. So, people who would try to go against a protest are usually police officers, except if you are unlucky to (have been) caught up between (them). The majority are police officers.”
The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command said: “Members of the sect during the violent protest shot two police personnel on the leg, while clubs and stones were used to inflict injuries on six other policemen. The injured policemen have been taken to the hospital for prompt medical attention.
“Those arrested in the process will be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate law of the land.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives on Tuesday adjourned sitting until Wednesday, with the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, citing security and legislative reasons for the action.
The motion for adjournment was moved by Rep. Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano) and was seconded by the Minority Leader, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that items on the Orders Paper of the day were not exhausted as at the time of the adjournment.
NAN reports that the House was yet to debate on the motion on the ‘Need to Address Traffic Gridlock in Apapa’ and ‘Urgent Need to Incorporate June 12 in History Curriculum of Schools in Nigeria’.
The protesting Shi’ite group had earlier vandalised some civilian and security vehicles around the entrance of the complex, throwing stones and attacking security personnel.
Three policemen, who were badly injured and rushed to the clinic within the premises.
The Shi’iites have been protesting against continued detention of their leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaki, who was arrested in December 2015, following clashes between the sect and the Nigerian Army.
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