Says remand of six Abuja demonstrators till January 2021 reeks of ‘unholy alliance’ between court and police
By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – The Centre for Liberty has advised members of the judiciary to be wary of what comes out of politicians who seek to clampdown on #EndSARS protesters, especially those in positions of authority, so as not to be misled into ruining “the sanctity of Nigeria’s democracy.”
The civil society organization (CSO) gave the advice when it reacted to the report of how six peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the National Assembly were arrested by the Police, taken to court, and then remanded last Friday in Suleja Prison till January 25, 2021 by Magistrate Abdulrazak Eneye of the Chief Magistrate Court, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja.
The group, in a statement jointly signed by Comrades Adebayo Raphael, Deji Adeyanju and Ariyo Atoye in Abuja on Sunday, condemned in strong terms what they described as the ‘obvious deterioration of human and constitutionally-guaranteed rights in Nigeria.’
According to them, some efforts being made to clampdown on the protesters reek of an ‘unholy alliance’ between the court and the police.
The statement reads in part: “Centre for Liberty notes the unsettling trend of wrongfully and arbitrarily arresting and intimidating peaceful #EndSARS protesters across the country. We condemn in its entirety this obvious deterioration of human and constitutionally-guaranteed rights in Nigeria.
“On Friday, November 6, 2020, we received reports of how six peaceful #EndSARS protesters at the National Assembly in Abuja, namely; Oluwatosin Adeniji, Paul Akinwumi, Davo Chom, Abdulsalam Zuberu, Kabiru Gasali and one other were illegally arrested by the Nigerian Police and subsequently taken to court without any charge leveled against them, and then remanded in Suleja Prison till January, 202.
“We note with utmost disturbance how this hurriedly executed anomaly reeks of an unholy alliance between the court which is meant to be the last hope of the common man, and the Nigerian Police from whom the Nigerian People have been demanding more accountability and professionalism in the last four weeks.”
The equally noted how the development followed the seizure of the traveling passport of at least one of the relief coordinators for the peaceful #EndSARS protests, and the freezing of the Bank Accounts of no less than 19 individuals and a public affairs company linked to the protests.
“As if those weren’t bad enough, another peaceful protester in Lagos, Eromosele Adene, was recklessly whisked away by members of the Nigerian Police on November 7, 2020 in broad daylight, after harassing his mother and sister in their home in Lagos State.
“Needless to say that these GESTAPO-style operations are unbefitting of a democratic country. They at once suggest that Nigeria’s democracy has been replaced by unbridled tyranny that could plunge our country into an abyss of chaos and disorder.
“This pattern also concretizes suspicions across the country that the Nigerian Government is bent on shrinking our civic space and criminalizing constitutionally-guaranteed rights of citizens to freely express themselves and assemble peacefully.
“We are, therefore, unequivocal in our demand that all arrested protesters, including those mentioned above be released immediately, and the traveling passports seized from #EndSARS activists be immediately released, and an unreserved apology be made to them by the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Government. Similarly, all Bank Accounts that have been frozen or deactivated due to their owners’ participation in the protests must immediately be reactivated.
“In conclusion, we strongly urge the Nigerian Judiciary to be circumspect of politicians who intend to use its hallowed institutions to carry out their nefarious political agenda and ruin the sanctity of our democracy. Before it is too late, the Nigerian government must retrace its steps and remember that democracy thrives when all arms of government function to serve the people without limitations.”