Femi Adeyeye, one of the Coordinator of the #RevolutionNow protest in Lagos, has narrated how policemen arrested and charged 19 of the protesters to Ikeja Magistrate Court for conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
Adeyeye who spoke with Daily Times, through our correspondent, Chioma Joseph, said that protesters had converged at Ikeja Under Bridge early on Wednesday for a peaceful protest, but were dispersed with teargas by policemen and military personnel.
Not deterred by the security operatives, he stated that the protesters reconverged at Railway Line in Ikeja, where the journalist, Agba Jalingo, joined them.
He said that policeman and taskforce operatives in fierce manner shot and teargassed the protesters, gave them a hot chase, and arrested 19 of them.
Narrating their ordeal with the security operatives, Adeyeye said: “It was the usual act of repression of the state and their agent, the police officers, soldiers, and the rest. So what happened today was that we had a match at Ikeja Under Bridge, we were dispersed with teargas. We had to reconverge when Agba Jalingo joined us at Ikeja Railway Line.
“While we were addressing the market women, the police officers and taskforce operatives came and started shooting, teargassing and pursuing us down to the express. People were running to cross the express to the other side. Eventually, 19 persons were arrested including Agba Jalingo and I.
“We were taken to the police headquarters in Ikeja, from there to Area F and we appeared before a magistrate court. The charge was conduct likely to cause breach of peace but at the end of the day, we pleaded not guilty and the prosecutor withdrew the charges. We were all released including Agba Jalingo. ”
Bala Elkana, the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, however, stated that 25 persons were arrested and charged to Ikeja Magistrate Court.
Elkana a Superintendent of Police (SP), said: “Twenty-five of them were arrested and charged to Ikeja Magistrate Court. We charged them for unlawful assembly, causing obstruction on the major road, because it took us effort to clear the traffic they caused, and driving vehicle with covered plate number which is am offence in Lagos. It is a traffic offence and they know.”
Reacting to the arrest of the protesters by security personnel in Abuja, Lahos and other states, the Director of the Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), Okechukwu Nwanguma maintained people have a freedom of expression as guaranteed under Nigerian Constitution and other regional and international human rights legislations which Nigeria is a signatory to.
“Peaceful protest is one of the means of exercising the right to freedom of expression,” he said.
He explained further saying the protesters had not committed any crime or offence by protesting to demand an end to corruption, growing insecurity and mismanagement of the affairs of the country by the current administration led by Buhari.
“They are making legitimate demands for good governance which will benefit the majority of oppressed Nigerians including members of the Nigeria Police, military and other security agencies who are also victims of bad governance by corrupt politicians in government and their allies.
“Those that security agents should tackle are bandits and corrupt elements within and outside government including those engaged in massive corruption and various acts of criminality” he said.