Nigeria Bush-Blair protest arrests condemned

A Nigerian rights campaigner has criticised the police for arresting him and his colleagues during a protest over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Shehu Sani and 80 others launched a peaceful rally to coincide with a visit to Abuja of former leaders of the US and UK – George W Bush and Tony Blair.

He said police ended the protest, claiming that they had no permit.

Mr Sani, who was freed on bail, said all the requirements had been met and described the arrests as “very wrong”.

He and his colleagues, who have been released on bail, said they wanted to draw attention to the bad human-rights legacy of Mr Blair and Mr Bush.

“It was a peaceful protest. I was officially invited to the banquet – so I wasn’t going to throw any shoes,” he told News Agency.

“But the police came and used force to shove me into their vehicles along with about 80 others.

“They said we needed a permit – but according to the constitution all we have to do is write to the police and tell them about the protest. We had done that.”

Former US President Bush and ex-UK Prime Minister Blair were attending a ceremony highlighting the achievements of 50 prominent Nigerians to mark 50 years since independence.

Former anti-corruption investigator Nuhu Ribadu was among the award-winners – though Mr Ribadu was not present as he fled Nigeria after being fired from his job.



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