No fewer than 24 traders, including two women, under of the aegis of Association of Wuye Ultra Modern Market Allottees were arrested and detained by the police in Abuja on Wednesday in connection with the ongoing ownership tussle over the Wuye market.
The association has been embroiled in an ownership tussle with All Purpose Shelters Limited, owned by the wife of a former governor of Benue State, Mrs. Yemisi Suswam.
A statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (FCT Command), Anjuguri Manzah, obtained by The PUNCH said, “It is pertinent to state that a total of 24 persons who attempted to forcefully ingress the market were prevented and arrested. Members of the public are therefore enjoined to disregard this baseless rumour as it is only an attempt by its proponents to mislead the public against the police.”
This is as the National Human Rights Commission summoned the Commissioner of Police in the Federal Capital Territory, Mustapha Mohammed, to appear before it today (Thursday), to respond to alleged human rights violations and disregard for the implementation of the judgment of the Federal High Court and Court of Appeal in the Wuye market.
Mohammed according to the agency will also respond to allegations of highhandedness and bias against the market association in its case with All Purpose Shelters Limited.
The Executive Secretary of NHRC, Prof. Bem Angwe, stated this in Abuja on Wednesday, when members of AWUMMA led a protest to his office.
He said, “The Commissioner of Police in FCT will be invited to appear before the commission tomorrow (Thursday) to provide justification for the continuous harassment by the police as you have alleged. The commission will commence investigation immediately and we will find out the facts and act in accordance with the provisions of the law.”
Events in the ownership tussle took a new dimension when the Director of Monitoring in the commission, Tony Chukwu; Deputy Director (Protection and Monitoring), Lamber Opara and about 20 other officers of the NHRC were barred by armed police officers from the Wuye Police Station led by their Divisional Police Officer, Ms. S.H. Jimbes, from entering the Wuye market.
The NHRC delegation had gone to the market to investigate the allegations levelled against the FCT Police boss, who was said to have allegedly ordered a clampdown on the traders with fierce-looking police officers stationed at the entrance of the market.
During the altercation, over 30 police officers led by Jimbes stopped the NHRC members from gaining access to the market.
The DPO specifically told them that they could not get access to the market because she was acting on instructions from above.
Jimbes said, “I cannot allow you to go in without taking permission from the Police Headquarters or you have to come with both parties.”