Human rights Lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has called for the renewal of the passports of the #EndSARS Protesters.
Mr Falana made this call in a statement he personally signed on Sunday, January 17, 2021, identifying the affected protesters as Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and Mosopeoluwa Odeseye.
The statement partly read: “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.”
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.
He 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.
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.