Pro-Bello protesters allegedly attacked by EFCC operatives at headquarters, pro-EFCC group allowed

Kogi youths who were at the headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday to protest the alleged political persecution of the immediate past Governor of the state, Yahaya Bello, were allegedly attacked by operatives of the Commission

There were two protests at the EFCC headquarters on Monday. While the other protest, organised by members of the opposition party in the state, in support of the EFCC was allowed to go peacefully, the other, which demanded that rule of law be respected, was attacked, according to the Pro-Yahaya Bello group.

Videos of the protesters struggling to make their statements while being harassed and reporters running after them flooded the social media on Monday, with a picture of a badly damaged vehicle.

This occurence, the protesters said, had fueled suspicion in many quarters that the purported rally in support of EFCC, staged by the Kogi East group called Kogi Conscience Movement, was sponsored by the Commission.

The pro-Bello protest was staged by the Kogi Youth Coalition.

As of the time of filing this report, 10 people were said to have been arrested among the pro-Yahaya Bello protesters, and many injured.

Reporters had to scramble for safety as some of them were allegedly rough-handled, one of the protesters said.
The Head of the Kogi Youth Coalition, Otitoleke Richard, while speaking with the press during the attack said, “We’re here this morning at the headquarters of EFCC in Abuja, addressing a topical national issue that has to do with the rule of law, the defence of democratic governance in Nigeria.

“We have been intimidated, we have been harassed. The EFCC is saying we do not have the right to express our opinion on national issues. We have been shot at; they have used their stick to beat ordinary Nigerians that are harmless.

“We shall continue to air our opinion for democracy to thrive in Nigeria. Nigeria is not a Banana Republic. We’re saying the rule of law must be applied in all corruption files. You cannot fight corruption with lawlessness.”

A protester, who simply identified himself as Malik, said it was unfortunate that peaceful protests that were a right of every Nigerian had now been made selective by the Commission.

“Why didn’t they attempt to disperse those Igala boys that protested against the former Governor. Can you imagine? EFCC sponsoring Muri Ajaka’s boys to come and support them and call Yahaya Bello out?

“Nigerians should not be fooled to think anybody is fighting any corruption. They just want him out. Period. But we are saying they can’t disgrace him. He has done more than any Governor for us in Kogi State and all these people know. This will not make us afraid of asking for our rights. We will continue,” he said.

Recounting what transpired, another protester, Abdulmajid Wahab, said security operatives also destroyed one bus and impounded two others.

“They said the leader of the protest should come and bail the two vehicles.
And that they want to charge the 10 people to court,” he said.

Hundreds of Youths, mainly from Kogi State, stormed the EFCC headquarters, on Monday, to protest alleged unending persecution and media trial of ex-Gov Bello.

The indigenes, who accused the anti-graft agency of conniving with enemies of the state from a particular ethnic group to fight political war, said the former Governor was backed by the law in all his actions and that he was not the first person to obtain a restraining order in Nigeria against undue harassment and persecution.

They said they staged the protest to counter what they said was an EFCC-sponsored protest in their support, vowed to resist the glaring intimidation, and called on President Bola Tinubu to call EFCC to order.

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