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Falana Calls For Renewal Of #EndSARS Protesters’ Passports

Channels Television  
Updated January 17, 2021
#EndSARS protesters during a candlelight procession in honour of victims of police brutality.

 

Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has called for the renewal of the passports of the #EndSARS Protesters

Falana made this call in a statement he personally signed on Sunday, identifying the affected protesters as Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye.

“The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has confirmed that the Nigeria Immigration Service has willfully refused to renew the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye for taking part in the #EndSARS protests,” the statement partly read.

“Apart from repeatedly stating that Nigerian citizens are entitled to protest against the Government President Muhammadu Buhari said on January 1, 2021 that “2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability.

“This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”

The senior lawyer also lamented that the thugs that attacked the #EndSARS protesters last year were treated as sacred cows.

While accusing the police authorities of releasing the criminals who the protesters handed over to security agencies, he said the thugs were yet to face persecution.

“While scores of those who engaged in murder, arson and looting of properties have since been arraigned in various courts the thugs who attacked the #EndSARS protesters have been treated like sacred cows.

“Indeed, some of the criminal elements who were arrested by the #EndSARS protesters in Abuja and handed to over to the Police have since been released without any prosecution.

“The protests were hijacked by other armed thugs who engaged in the destruction of properties and killing of security personnel,” he added.

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Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana

 

Falana alleged that Nigeria’s security forces, instead of providing security for the protesters as required by section 94 of the Amended Electoral Act 2010 and section 83 (4) of the Nigeria Police Act 2020, colluded with sponsored thugs to unleash brutal attacks on the protesters.

According to him, many of the protesters were killed in Benin, Lagos, Ogbomoso, Port Harcourt and other cities as a result of the attacks.

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However, the military and the police have consistently claimed innocence of such accusations.

This comes three months after many young Nigerians marched out in many states of the federation to embark on peaceful protests against incessant police brutality in October 2020.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

RENEW PASSPORTS OF #ENDSARS PROTESTERS

In October last year, Nigerian citizens, in many states of the Federation, embarked on peaceful protests against incessant police brutality. Instead of providing security for the protesters as required by section 94 of the Amended Electoral Act 2010 and section 83 (4)  of the Nigeria Police Act 2020 the security forces colluded with sponsored thugs to unleash brutal attacks on the protesters. As a result of the attacks many of the protesters were killed in Benin, Lagos, Ogbomoso, Port Harcourt and other cities.

Thereafter, the protests were hijacked by other armed thugs who engaged in the destruction of properties and killing of security personnel. While scores of those who engaged in murder,  arson and looting of properties have since been arraigned in various courts the thugs who attacked the #endsars protesters have been treated like sacred cows. Indeed, some of the criminal elements who were arrested by the #endsars protesters in Abuja and handed to over to the Police have since been released without any prosecution.

However, the revelations oozing out of the various judicial commissions of enquiry currently probing police brutality in many states of the Federation and the federal capital territory have justified the #endsars protests. But despite the promise made by the Presidency and Police Authorities to reform the Police the leaders of the protesters have had their bank accounts frozen and passport seized on the illegal orders of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Immigration Service respectively. So far, the heads of both agencies have not been called to order by the President.

The Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has confirmed that the Nigeria Immigration Service has  willfully refused to renew the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye for taking part in the #endsars protests. Apart from repeatedly stating that Nigerian citizens are entitled to protest against the Government President Muhammadu Buhari said on January 1, 2021 that “2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability. This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”

In spite of the open declaration of President Buhari to meet the genuine demands of the #endsars protesters the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service  have continued to embarrass the federal government. In Nasiru El-rufai v Minister of Interior (2011) the Federal High Court held that the decision of the Federal Government not to renew the passport of the Applicant was  illegal and unconstitutional. In consequence, the Court awarded N1 million damages against the Respondents. Since the Court has held that the Ministry of Interior lacks the power to subject citizens to denial of consular services the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye should be renewed without any further delay.

 

17th January, 2021.

 

Femi Falana SAN

Interim Chair,

Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond

(ASCAB).