Home News Lawyer lambast police for denying #EndSARS protesters still in jail

Lawyer lambast police for denying #EndSARS protesters still in jail

PVC -Lagospost.ng
Nigerian youths protesting police brutality
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A human rights lawyer and activist, Tope Temokun has taken a berated the Nigeria Police for denying that some #EndSARS protestors are still languishing in various prisons nationwide.

In a statement on Monday, Mr Temokun noted that it was a “fallacy of hasty generalisation” for the police to claim that all individuals arrested have been processed according to law and none remains in custody, citing the facts that Lagos governor Sanwo-Olu pardoned about 100 suspects in Lagos.

The rights lawyer was reacting to a claim by Shehu Sani, a former Kaduna lawmaker, that some #EndSARS protesters have remained in detention since October 2020, an allegation the police denied.

“The Nigeria Police affirms that no individual is being unlawfully detained by the Nigeria Police Force or any other security agency in Nigeria due to the EndSARS protest,” the police said in a statement by its spokesperson Olumuyiwa Adejobi.

The legal practitioner explained that #EndSARS protesters were arrested in several states and not only in Lagos.

“Then what is the number of the total protesters arrested in Lagos and other states? What is the number of protesters charged to court? What is the number of protesters successfully prosecuted, pardoned or discharged? What is the percentage of those arrested in Lagos and outside Lagos had legal representations and how many of those legal representations, billed or pro bono, followed those cases to logical conclusions?” he asked.

He added, “I expect the government to come up with data and statistics on these. That is when the police could now officially make a conclusive statement on the matter.”

“Just the way we always have many arrested persons, particularly larger number of the citizens who have nobody to look for them or stand in for them, languish in remands across the country, without arraignment or trial, the same way many ENDSARS protesters who had no legal representation after their arrest and since their arrest would also have been forgotten in various remand centres across the country,” Mr Temokun stated.

Noting that the Nigeria police lack genuine records and data as a primary source of information, the lawyer said it was disheartening for the security agency to hastily respond to Mr Sani’s patriotic call with denial and a vague phrase that they have been processed according to law.

He maintained that the governments of various states and the Nigerian correctional service are in the best and first position to respond from their records, not the Nigerian police.

The lawyer recalled that the police and soldiers accosted a young girl, Kemisola Ogunniyi, on the morning of October 22, 2020, around Ilesa Road over claims that she was one of the #EndSRARS protesters who razed former Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s campaign office along the Oyemekun/Ilesha road.

He said Ms Ogunniyi was detained and remanded at the Surulere prison and was granted bail by the Ondo High Court on June 22, 2021.

“How many people knew that the Ondo State government held this girl in Court since then and that we were in court since 2021 for Kemisola till 2023 when the charge was struck out. And not many were as lucky as Kemisola to have legal representation. What happened to those ones who did not have legal representation or who were never arraigned after being remanded?”

Mr Temokun called on the controller-general of the Nigerian Correctional Service and the Minister of Interior to check records and publicise the details of those detained over the #EndSARS protest and those who have regained their freedom.

“The revelation might shock us all. Maybe for President Tinubu, that is where the healing process for this bleeding country you wish to govern will start,” he added

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