A Karshi Magistrate Court, Abuja, has remanded an activist and Convener, Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju; Daniel Abobama and Boma Williams in Keffi prisons, Nasarawa State, for protesting against alleged partisanship by the police.
The three accused persons had led a peaceful protest to the Force headquarters, Abuja, on Wednesday, against the police for sealing the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on Tuesday, when they were picked up and hastily arraigned in court.
The men were charged with “criminal conspiracy, public nuisance, disturbance of public peace, and threat to public security and safety, criminal defamatory and derogatory conduct” against constituted authority and breach of law and order under Sections 96, 113, 114, 152, 183 and 391 of Penal Code.
The accused persons were, however, granted bail by the presiding Magistrate, Aliu Kagarko, but they could not immediately meet the conditions which included two sureties one of whom must be a level 14 civil servant with a cover letter from his superior, and also a businessman with a verified address.
They were subsequently taken to Keffi prisons by the police after they failed to provide the sureties.
Adeyanju and his co-accused had stormed the police headquarters with a big banner inscripted, ‘Police are not politicians; This rally is about saving democracy, 2019 elections in danger.’
Justifying their arrest, the police spokesman, Moshood Jimoh, claimed the men were arrested for contravening the law, adding their alleged defamatory comments and utterances, were capable of “inciting public disturbance, threat to public security and safety, criminal defamatory and derogatory conduct against constituted authority and breach of law and order.”
The protesters had earlier expressed concern about the current state of affairs in the country “where the Nigeria Police Force is increasingly becoming a tool to be used against real and perceived political enemies of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress.”
They condemned the deployment of policemen in Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to provide security cover for five members of the 26-member legislature in their illegal attempt to impeach the Speaker.
The campaigners said, “We urge the Federal Government to institute an investigation into the invasion of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly by the Police, to determine the officer(s) who gave the orders for this illegal action and to bring such officers to book.”
The group alleged that the event was linked to the deaths in police custody of the prime suspect in the April Offa bank robberies, Michael Adikwu, and the major suspect in the allegations against Senator Dino Melaye for gun running, Nuhu Salisu.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Writers Association has stated that the police action of targeting opposition politicians and civil rights leaders was a prelude to the larger plot to undermine the year 2019 poll, “so as to allow the incumbent President to set up a full-blown tyranny.”
It called on all patriotic Nigerians to speak out now to stop “the full-blown dictatorship from manifesting because the silence and inaction of world leaders is stoking the embers of tyranny in Nigeria.”
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