March 1, 2021

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Police reportedly deny arrested protesters access to lawyers

3 min read

Nigerians on social media have attacked the police for ‘denying’ #OccupyLekkiTollGate protesters arrested at the Lekki Tollgate on Saturday access to lawyers.

Some youth in the early hours of Saturday arrived at the Lekki Toll Plaza to protest against the directive of the Lagos State Judicial Panel for the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) to reopen the tollgate where soldiers opened fire on unarmed protesters on October 20, 2020.

More than 20 youth were arrested and whisked away in a Black Maria.

Pictures and videos trending on social media show how the protesters were brutalised by police operatives, who did not mind that they were being filmed by journalists.

Already, the Socio-Economic Rights And Accountability Project (SERAP) and Amnesty International have called for the release of protesters.

However, Citizen’s Gavel (also known as Tech for Justice or Gavel), a civic tech organisation aimed at improving the pace of justice delivery through the use of technology, wrote on Twitter that, “lawyers have been denied access to the protesters at Panti”.

“Our lawyers have been refused access to protesters detained at Panti. The protesters have been alleged to be in possession of charms.

“Their statements are being taken at the moment and we have been informed by the police officer that directive from the CP is awaited,” the firm wrote.

A rights activist, Rinu Oduala, also said: “they (police) are not letting lawyers see the arrested protesters. The Police said they have direct orders from the Lagos State Governor to arrest protesters & known frontliners of the #EndSARS protests & will soon move them to Ikeja. Jide SanwoOlu, are these forces beyond your control?”.

Ms Oduala, a member of the Lagos #EndSARS judicial panel announced on Friday that she was stepping down from the panel, over allegations of injustice.

The Lagos police public relations officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, could not be reached as of the time of filing this report. He did not answer his calls and he is yet to reply text a message.

ALSO READ: TRENDING: Videos show how police harassed #OcccupyLekkiTollGate protesters

“It is a police affair. The police is there to protect the citizens and they have their rules of engagement. It has gone nothing to do with us,” Gboyega Akosile, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Sanwo-Olu, said on the phone when reached for comments.

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