Police in Abuja arrested Sunday around 100 rights activists protesting the presence here of former US president George W. Bush and former British prime minister Tony Blair, protesters said.
The rally was staged in front of a hotel in Nigeria’s political capital where the two men were attending an award ceremony organised by privately-owned newspaper This Day.
“We invited the protesters for questioning over an unauthorised rally,” a senior police officer told AFP.
Shehu Sani, president of Civil Rights Congress (CRC) which organised the protest, said the activists wanted “to register our disenchantment with the anti-human policies of the two leaders while in office”.
“These men fought an illegal and unjustified war in Iraq and Afghanistan which caused and is still causing untold hardship to the people,” Sani said of two conflicts in which Bush and Blair were deeply involved.
Men with “a bad legacy on human rights are not wanted in Nigeria,” he added.
Bush stepped down as president a year ago after eight years in office, while Blair was Britain’s prime minister from 1997 to 2007.
Blair arrived in Nigeria on Friday at the start of an African tour that will also take him to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Attending a malaria training workshop in Abuja on Saturday, he called for concerted efforts to combat the disease in Nigeria which accounts for a quarter of the one million malaria deaths annually in Africa.