The Nigerian Police

The youths of Nigeria took to the street of Lagos on Saturday, 13th February, 2021 to carry out peaceful protest #OccupyLekkiTollGate, against the verdict passed by the judicial panel inquiry established by the Lagos state government to probe brutality and highhandedness of the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to reopen the Lekki tollgate. The peaceful protesters who gathered at Lekki Tollgate to protest, seeking justice for the victims of the shootings of #EndSARSS protesters on October 20, 2020 met heavy presence of armed police officers at the tollgate who were ready to arrest the protesters. Some passers-by were also arrested. The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) describe the arrest of the protesters as unacceptable and demand the immediate and unconditional release of the protesters. “Video footage circulating on social media shows some of the protesters Crammed in a Black Maria and being derided by the police in scenes reminiscent of the military era when Nigerians’ right to converge and free speech was trampled underfoot. We are shell-shocked that in the 21st century, the Nigerian police is still dehumanizing Nigerian citizens by forcefully stopping their legitimate right to converge and protest and clamping them like rabid animals into the dingy Black Maria. It is disheartening to know that we have descended this low as a country and a people to stifle peaceful protest s.”

Rinu Oduala, the former youth representative on the Lagos state judicial panel of inquiry probing alleged shooting of #EndSARS protesters by soldiers at the Lekki tollgate on October 20, 2020 advised President Buhari, Lagos state governor, Sanwo-Olu, Lagos state Police command, senators and house of representative members to as a matter of urgency release #OccupyLekkiTollgate protesters arrested, warning that nothing should happen to them for demanding justice against those who were victims of the #EndSARS protests. Rinu via her Twitter handle noted that Nigerians get treated as slaves and criminals just for demanding for our rights. She said: “They are not letting lawyers see the arrested protesters. The Police said they have direct orders from the Lagos state governor to arrest protesters and known front liners of the #EndSARS protests and will soon move them to Ikeja. Jide Sanwo-Olu, are these forces beyond your control? They have started transferring protesters from Adenji police station to Ikeja state command without letting their lawyers see them. CP Odumosu, you dance to the tune of your masters, forgetting that you were appointed to serve the people. The Nigerian Ministry of Justice has nothing to say about the ongoing injustice? Mudashiru Obasa, we elected you to speak for the people. You have nothing to say? Femi Gbajabiamila, you have nothing to say? CP Odumosu says he doesn’t know where arrested protesters are being held. That was how Pelumi Onifade was killed and dumped in a mortuary. The CP didn’t also know where he was held. Odumosu, release the protesters!!”

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), in a post on its twitter account, called on the government and police to immediately and unconditionally release arrested individuals. We urge Nigerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release #EndSARS protesters detained simply for peacefully exercising their human rights. The united Nations and concerned governments should press the Nigerian authorities to end the crackdown on peaceful protesters, and unconditionally release those arbitrarily detained.” Amnesty International Nigeria has also called on the government to protect the right of peaceful protesters. “Today Amnesty International received reports of the arrest of some protesters #EndSARS at the #Lekkitollgate #Lagos. We are calling on all Nigerian authorities to demonstrate commitment to protect the right to peaceful protest.” The Lagos state government filed charges against ten of the arrested protesters for breach of the peace and violation of public health law of Lagos state. They were arraigned before a mobile court and were granted bail in the sum of #100,000 each. However, the charge was not signed and yet to be filed, probably because it was a weekend. Wakeupafrica360 correspondent report that only few protesters showed up for the protest due to heavy presence of security operatives. The few who braved the heavy security presence were promptly arrested

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