May 9, 2024

317 people deported to Osun must be brought back to Lagos — Falana

Some govs'll use state police as means of oppression — Falana

Human rights activist, Femi Falana has demanded that the 317 people deported from Lagos State to Osun State must be relocated to Lagos.

Falana made this demand in a statement made available to Vanguard on Thursday.

Recall that last weekend, 317 Nigerian citizens of Osun State origin were rounded up in several parts of Lagos State and loaded into several luxury buses, which drove them to Osun State. 

They were later dropped off at various points including Ilesa-Akure Express junction, Breweries; Ilesa – Ibodi – Iginla to Ife Express junction; Osun Ankara Express junction; Imelu Express junction; and Iperindo Express junction in Osun State. 

Speaking on the illegal deportation of the 317 citizens, the Lagos State Police Command stated that “in keeping with its mandates of prevention and detection of crime, [it] conducts raids of black spots from time to time, and promptly arraigns only culpable suspects in courts of competent jurisdiction in the state after a thorough screening of the people raided.”

In its official reaction to the illegal deportation, the Lagos State Government claimed that “450 miscreants were at the weekend rescued. Of the lot, 371 pleaded for assistance to relocate to their various states due to the hardship they are facing in Lagos; 79 have been absorbed into some government facilities for rehabilitation after showing signs of being unwell.” 

Reacting to the deportation, Falana said the victims of the illegal deportation have contradicted the account of the Lagos State Government. 

He said, according to them, they were abducted and forcefully loaded into several luxury buses and expelled from Lagos State without their consent.

Falana said it is indisputable that the deportation of the so-called miscreants violated their fundamental right to freedom of movement guaranteed by Section 41 of the Constitution which stipulates that  “every citizen of Nigeria is entitled to move freely throughout Nigeria and to reside in any part thereof, and no citizen of Nigeria shall be expelled from Nigeria or refused entry thereby or exit.” 

The senior lawyer added that in Federal Minister of Internal Affairs and Others VS Shugaba Abdulrrahaman Darman 1(982) 3 NCLR 915, the then Federal Court of Appeal affirmed the order of the Borno State High Court which directed the Federal Government to bring back the Respondent who had been illegally deported to Chad. 

He stated, “The illegal deportation also contravened article 12(5) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act which has prohibited  mass expulsion that targets national, racial, ethnic or religious groups. In Anudo Ochieng Anudo v  United Republic of Tanzania (2018) 2 AfCLR 248 para 100, the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights declared that “a state can not turn a citizen into a foreigner for the sole purpose of expelling him.”

“Since the deportation of the 317 citizens was not authorised by the Lagos State Government, Governor Sanwoolu should ensure that they are  brought back to Lagos State as soon as possible. 

“The Osun State Governor, Mr. Ademola Adeleke, who has protested on behalf of the deportees, should contribute to their resettlement in Lagos State.  Furthermore, the officials of the Lagos State Government who carried out the illegal deportation of the 317 citizens should be brought to book to prevent them from further expelling other poor people from Lagos State,” he stated.

Falana, the Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB), added, “The said officials should be made to realise that the poor and the rich have equal rights to breathe the air of freedom in Lagos State and other parts of Nigeria.”