Utomi, Falana, others condemn ‘victimisation’ of protesters as court grants bail
• Group petitions ICC over senior lawyer’s alleged involvement
Prominent Nigerians, under the aegis of Concerned Professionals, have warned the Federal Government against the danger inherent in the “ongoing clampdown on #EndSARS protesters by way of arresting some of their suspected financiers and freezing of bank accounts of over 20 of the leaders.”
In a statement signed by former National Legal Adviser of All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN), spokesman, Middle Belt Forum, Dr. Isuwa Dogo, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), Senior Pastor, Trinity House Church, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, Olutola Mobolurin and Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi, the eminent citizens condemned the alleged victimisation.
They urged government to “show maturity and stop the adoption of undemocratic and inhuman methods in dealing with the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests”, adding: “Protest is a constitutional and democratic right, which cannot earn the kind of victimisation going on.”
Following meetings by relevant stakeholders, the senior Nigerians held: “Aftermath of the #EndSARS campaign was believed would make the government adopt a more realistic approach to solving the problems confronting this country, which led the youths to go on peaceful protests in the month of October, 2020. It is unfortunate that rather than developing trust in the youths that their complaints would be convincingly addressed as promised when the protests were on, the government has embarked on victimisation and witch-hunting of the sponsors by seizing their passports, arresting and detaining them sometimes with spurious charges and freezing the accounts of the said sponsors.”
They also bemoaned the role of some legal practitioners in the whole episode, stating: “It is regrettable that some magistrates and judges are being used to freeze accounts and deny citizens their fundamental rights of hearing and bail for bailable allegations.”
BESIDES, a Chief Magistrate in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Musa Abdulrazaq Eneye, yesterday, granted bail to six protesters for N50,000 each with sureties in like sum.
Including Olutosin Adeniji, Yasidu Bashiru, Abdulsalam Zubairu, Kabiru Garzali, Paul Akinwumi and Devour Chomo, the demonstrators were said to have been arrested for donning #RevolutionNow T-shirts during the protests in front of the National Assembly.
He thereafter adjourned hearing in the matter till January 25, 2021.
ALSO yesterday, a group, Make Nigeria Better Initiative (MNBI), has dragged Lagos lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, before the International Criminal Court, Hague, for allegedly “instigating #EndSARS protests that led to the death of innocent citizens, wanton destruction of properties and other heinous crimes against humanity in Nigeria.”
The petition filed by Joseph Nwaegbu, a Senior Associate of Pathfind Attorneys on behalf the group, read in part: “On the recent #EndSARS protests which turned violent across the country, we beg to submit that the role played by Mr. Falana before, during and after what observers described as ‘the mother of all protests in Nigeria’ was not only ignoble but criminal.”
The body further accused the senior lawyer of “spreading fake news to further incite the youths in the country against the government, which resulted in killings and destruction of properties.”
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