Charles Oputa, a.k.a Charly Boy, has said that he was brutalised during the protest organised on Tuesday at the Unity Fountain in Abuja by a coalition of civil society organisations acting under the aegis of ‘Concerned Nigerians’.
Oputa, in a telephone interview with our correspondent, said that one of the anti-riot policemen, who attacked the protesters with tear-gas and water cannons, hit him in the eye with the butt of his rifle.
He said, “We were not even up to 10 people that set out for the Unity Fountain. When we got there, we met close to 200 policemen. Initially they tried to stop us from going further. But we explained to them that ours would be a peaceful demonstration. I gave them the assurance that we were not going to anywhere else and the protest would not be hijacked by hoodlums.
“Before we knew it, they started with the water cannon. Then they tear-gassed us and set their dogs against us. Worried, I went to one of the policemen who was standing near me and asked him why they resorted to such action. Instead of responding to me, he suddenly raised the butt of his gun and hit me in the eye.”
Oputa said he was immediately rushed to a clinic for treatment. But he expressed concern over the health of another victim, a TV journalist, said to be severely beaten up by the police.
“I saw them beating up that man and smashing his camera. I hope they have not killed him,” he said.
However, the self-styled ‘Area Father’ vowed to continue with the protest, in spite of the attack. “We are coming out tomorrow. It is better they kill me now because I will never stop speaking for the masses of this country,” he said.