The police should bury its head in shame for shoveling teargas fumes down the throats of a group of protesters and escorting the other.
In coming out, they had the ‘Our Mumu don do’ group in their crosshairs.
The group has been staging sit-ins from the Unity Fountain; while demanding that Buhari resumes work or resigns.
Buhari has been away from Nigeria on an open-ended medical vacation since May 7, 2017.
The ‘Our Mumu don do’ group has eccentric entertainer Charly Boy as convener.
This other group showing support for Buhari is called the Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative.
The latter group held aloft placards as they made their way to the presidential villa, with the inscriptions: "Our president is recuperating, Nigeria is moving forward. No cause for alarm", "Nigerians unite for peace", "We stand against terrorism", "If we don't kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. - Buhari".
Unlike the Charly Boy group of demonstrators who were met with police teargas canisters and water cannons for daring to demand that their president returns to his work desk after spending close to 100 days in London, the pro-Buhari crowd was shepherded courteously into the villa by police officers on horseback.
It was like living the Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem all over again.
This was an altogether different police from the one that smashed cameras and smartphones of photo-journalists just hours earlier.
The police should hide its face in shame for the double standard.
It didn’t matter to the police that this pro-Buhari protesters were obstructing free flow of traffic while at it.
In contrast, the Charly Boy led anti-Buhari marchers sat huddled in a park for most of their demonstrations.
And unlike the anti-Buhari protesters, the police couldn’t find “hoodlums and miscreants” from among the pro-Buhari trekkers.
There’ve been allegations that some of the pro-Buhari campaigners were handed as little as N2,000 to join the march to the presidential villa. It is little wonder that some of the women on the protest train held their placards upside down without even realising it. Most buried their faces as journalists encircled.
A reminder that hired protesters didn’t disappear with ‘LIVE Diezani alone.’
In any case, our police force must learn to play by the rules of modern policing and remain fair to all—be they agitators, civil society or government hirelings.
Both sets of protesters were covered by the law once they had hit the streets and the police should be protecting them all--not harassing one set of supporters and kissing the other on the cheek.
And for the pro-Buhari demonstrators, isn’t it time they got for themselves real jobs?