The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command said it has arrested 40 members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), also known as Shiites in Abuja.
Their arrest followed a clash by the group and the police around the National Assembly and Federal secretariat area where their members turned out in their hundreds to demand unconditional release of their leader who has been in detention since 2015.
The protesters mostly young boys came out in their hundreds at about 12:30pm and took over the road leading to the National Assembly before they went violent, destroying vehicles of innocent motorists.
They also opened fire on police men deployed to maintain law and order injuring two policemen in the process.
The injured policemen according to the FCT, command Public Relations Officer, Manzah Anjuguri, are currently on admission in an undisclosed hospital.
Manzah who in a statement announcing the arrest of the Shiite members said: “The FCT Police Command has foiled a violent move by members of the El-Zakzakky Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) to forcefully invade the National Assembly on Tuesday, 10th July, 2019.
“The group which started its activity, camouflaged in a peaceful procession became violent and were trying to force their way into the National Assembly. Police operatives on the ground, however, acted proactively, professionally and used minimum force to disperse the unruly protesters.
“Members of the sect during the violent protest shot two police personnel in 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.
“Meanwhile, 40 members of the sect have been arrested in connection with the violent protest. Investigation is in progress.
“In view of the foregoing, the command wishes to state unequivocally that while it recognises and respects the right of citizens to peaceful procession, an attempt by any individual or group of persons to cause the breakdown of law and order will not be tolerated. Those arrested in the process will be dealt with in accordance with the appropriate law of the land.
“Members of the public are enjoined to go on with their lawful activities as normalcy has been restored, and adequate security measures have been emplaced by the command to forestall any security breach.”