Thursday, October 21, 2021

Lagos Police Didn’t Release Us, Court Granted Us Bail – Arrested #EndSARS Memorial Protesters Speak

 Nigerian soldiers had on October 20, 2020, opened fire on #EndSARS protesters, who had converged on the Lekki Toll Gate to protest against police brutality.


File photo

According to a report by SaharaReporters, a Lagos Mobile Court has granted bail to at least 32 #EndSARS memorial protesters after pleading not guilty to the charges levelled against them by the Nigeria Police Force.

Nigerian soldiers had on October 20, 2020, opened fire on #EndSARS protesters, who had converged on the Lekki Toll Gate to protest against police brutality.

The incident triggered global outrage, with calls for justice echoing from different parts of the world.

It was gathered that before the shooting started, some officials uninstalled the Closed Circuit Television cameras in the area.

The electricity at the protest area was also disconnected to prevent demonstrators from filming the attack.

Minutes later, heavily armed Nigerian Army personnel moved into the scene to complete the plan.

By the time the sounds of their guns died down, dozens of protesters had been allegedly killed.

Though Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, blamed ‘forces beyond our control’ for the attack, the Army in a statement later revealed that the soldiers were invited to the scene of the protest by the governor.

Also, soldiers involved in the operation confirmed they were drafted in for the mission at the request of the governor.

A year after the incident, hundreds of youths took to Lekki Toll Gate to honour those allegedly killed by the soldiers.

They were however assaulted, harassed and brutalized by the police who warned the youths against the memorial procession.

The Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, had on Wednesday said the command would deploy all legitimate means to stop or neutralise the planned #EndSARS anniversary.

Odumosu, in a statement issued by the Lagos State Police Command’s spokesman, Adekunle Ajisebutu, had said the attention of the command had been drawn to a post being circulated on the social media insinuating that the police in Lagos had agreed to allow street protests in commemoration of the one year EndSARS anniversary on 20th October, 2021.

SaharaReporters gathered that those arrested were subsequently arraigned before a mobile court by the police on charges bordering on conspiracy, conduct likely to cause a breach of peace, and others.

“We were not released but charged to a mobile court and granted bail,” one of those arrested told SaharaReporters on Thursday. 

“Lagos is embarrassed and trying to make it sound like they released us. We were not released but charged and granted bail.”

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