Sowore
Sowore being taken to the hospital after being shot

OBINNA EZUGWU

The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command has denied shooting activist and Sahara Reporters publisher, Omoyele Sowore in Abuja on Monday.

This comes even after video evidence showing that the activist was shot on his thigh, and witnesses saying police fired the shot that him.

Sowore had also in a tweet, identified a certain ASP Altine, a female police officer, as the person who shot him.

Sowore and other protesters had converged on the fountain at 8:30am. But the police allegedly denied them entry into the facility.

Sowore was said to have been speaking with a detachment of police officers stationed at the public facility when an officer shot at the crowd.

But in a statement on Monday, Mariam Yusuf, the FCT police spokesperson, said the activist was not shot at by the police.

“Contrary to the speculation, Police operatives professionally restored calm at the Unity Fountain following attempts by a group of protesters to incite public disturbance,” she said.

“The protesters who went on the rampage were resisted by Police Operatives in order to prevent them from causing a breakdown of law and order.

“There is no record of such incident as at the time of this report.”

In the meantime, a rights group, Socioeconomic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has demanded prosecution of the officer involved in the shooting.

“We condemn reports that Omoyele Sowore, a journalist, and activist, was shot at by the police in Abuja this morning during peaceful protest at the Unity Fountain,” the rights group said in a statement via its twitter handle, @SERAPNigeria.

“Authorities should end the crackdown on protesters, and allow people to peacefully exercise their rights.

“Nigerian authorities should promptly, thoroughly, and transparently investigate the allegation of shooting of Sowore and crackdown on protesters, publish the report of their investigation, and ensure that anyone suspected to be responsible is brought to justice.”

Also, global rights group, Amnesty International (AI) said it “received disturbing report that activist Omoyele #Sowore was shot by the police, during a protest against rampant insecurity in Abuja. Protesters deserved to be listened to, not shot at.

“We call on Nigerian authorities to investigate the incident and bring perpetrators to justice.”