The National leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association has condemned the arrest of peaceful protesters at Lekki toll gate on Saturday the operatives of the Nigeria Police Force.
NBA’s National President Olamide Akpata in a statement issued on Saturday after disturbing images of police arrest of Lekki tollgate protesters emerged described the actions of police operatives as not only unlawful, but shocking.
“The images & footages of the unlawful actions of the Nigerian Police at the Lekki Tollgate Lagos are truly shocking.”
Akpata who lamented that some of the protesters were denied access to their lawyers, said that NBA is working with its members to ensure that those who do not have lawyers will have one to represent them.
“The Nigerian Bar Association condemns the brazen disrespect for the fundamental rights of unarmed citizens who are merely exercising their rights to peaceful protests.
“We are currently working together with members of our Association to ensure the release of those detained.
“At the moment, we understand that the detainees are spread across Panti, Adeniji and Ikeja Police Stations and that they are currently being denied access to their Lawyers.
“This is totally unacceptable and we call on the Police to immediately release them or allow them unhindered access to their lawyers.
“For Protesters who do not have legal representation the Nigerian Bar Association is setting up a team of volunteer lawyers who will immediately represent them.”
Human Rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome while reacting to the unlawful arrest of the protesters said “The arrest, taking away in a Black Maria, and detention of peaceful protesters at the Lekki tollgate today is patently illegal and totally unconstitutional.
“At least the Nigerian Constitution has not been abrogated by this dictatorial government of impunity.
“Sections 40 and 41 of the said Constitution give Nigerians the right to peaceful assembly and association, and the right to freedom of movement.
“Even under military dictatorships, as one of the founding fathers of the the Civil Liberties Organisation – (the first indegenous human rights organisation in Nigeria founded on 15th October, 1987), I was allowed to demonstrate and protest on the streets by successive military juntas.
“The protesters have done no wrong to protest. It has not been shown that it was violent. Is the Federal government truly saying Nigerians should no longer protest?
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“Then, the FG should dissolve the people and select or elect another one of its choice.”