The Amnesty International Nigeria, has called for the immediate release of the Otodo Gambe protesters, this was confirmed on Thursday, for the unconditional release of protesters.
The statement, which was signed by the Media Manager of the group, Isa Sanusi, said the police had no right to arrest the protesters who were peaceful in their conduct.
“Nigeria police must immediately release 158 residents of Otodo-Gbame and other informal settlements across Lagos who have been in detention since being arrested and beaten up by the police at around midnight on November 15 as they peacefully protested outside the Lagos Governor’s Office. The photos seen by Amnesty International show injuries sustained by several protesters, including children.
“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all arrested protesters and for an independent and impartial investigation into allegations of excessive use of force. The residents were demanding that the governor speak to them about a series of forced evictions that had made more than 30,000 people homeless, as documented in Amnesty International’s report, ‘The Human Cost of a Mega City: Forced Evictions of the Urban Poor in Lagos, Nigeria’, and the threat to forcibly evict more of them.”
The head of the task force team, SP Olayinka Egbeyemi, denied that task force officials assaulted the protesters, adding that he was only aware that policemen across the state were deployed to provide security around the governor’s office.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the police would not condone any act of security breach, adding that where such occurred, it was normal for those involved to be questioned.
He said, “The protest was peaceful. Around 2.30am, they were dispersed. If they later went to the place at the hour they were not supposed to be there, that would be a security breach and definitely they would be called in for questioning.
“The state governor’s office is not a place for every Tom Dick and Harry. Even if you are a worker of the state government, you must have an ID card that allows you to move around with a destination in mind. So, there is no way we will sit down and watch while some people conduct themselves in all manner of lawlessness. If there is a security breach, we will address it squarely.”
Source: ( Punch Newspaper)