*Mr. Macaroni to test for COVID-19, appear in court March 2
The Interim Chair, Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond, ASCAB, Femi Falana(SAN) has said it was crude to arrest young men and women that wanted to participate in a peaceful protest tagged #OccupyLekkiTollgate and cramp them in a Black Maria instead of protecting them.
Falana noted that the fundamental right of the protesters to dignity guaranteed by Section 34 of the Constitution “was crudely breached by the police personnel, who arrested the protesters and caged them inside a Black Maria.”
The fiery human rights lawyer and activist made the clarifications in a statement on Friday.
However, he added, they would appear in court on March 2 with the certificates of their COVID-19 tests.
The statement read: “The command has arrested forty (40) suspects at Lekki Tollgate plaza, Lagos State, on Saturday, February 13, 2021, for conspiracy, conduct likely to cause breach of peace and violation of COVID-19 protocols.
“The suspects had gathered at the Lekki Toll Gate plaza creating tension and behaving in such a manner that could cause breach of public peace without due regard for COVID-19 protocols major of which are use of nose masks and social distancing.
“The command has, however, arraigned the suspects today(same day) to the mobile court at Panti, Yaba accordingly but were however granted bail by the court.
“They will appear in court on the next date of adjournment, March 2, 2021, with the certificate of COVID-19 test.
“The command, therefore, assured the general public that it will always discharge its statutory duties as expected within the ambit of the law, while appealing to Lagosians to be law-abiding and go about their lawful businesses.”
In his statement, Falana said: “By arresting the protesters instead of providing them with adequate security the Police engaged in a provocative contravention of section 83 (4) of the Nigeria Police Act which states as follows:
“‘Where a person or organisation notifies the police of his or its intention to hold a public meeting, rally or procession on a public highway or such meetings in a place where the public has access to, the police officer responsible for the area where the meeting rally or procession will take place shall mobilise personnel to provide security cover for the meeting, rally or the procession’.
“ASCAB calls on the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of the protesters because they did not commit any criminal offence by exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and assembly guaranteed by sections 39 and 40 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria.
“However, if the protesters are dragged before a criminal court by the Police after their illegal arrest and detention, we call on the Judiciary in Lagos State not to allow the courts to be used to cover up the monstrous illegality perpetrated in Lagos this morning.”
Mr. Macaroni and others were arrested at Lekki Tollgate when they defied the show of force by security agents and wanted to continue with the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest, to push for justice for the shootings of October 20, 2020.
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