- Say Arrest, Dehumanization of Peaceful Protesters Anti-Democratic, Unacceptable
From Segun Amure, (The New Diplomat’s Abuja Bureau)
Civil rights activists working with the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) have condemned in strong terms the police arrest and mocking of popular comedian, Mr. Macaroni and other OccupyLekki protesters after their arrest, Saturday.
Police officers in a 23 seconds viral video, had thrown banters at Mr. Macaroni and other protesters while being cramped inside a Black Maria van following their arrest.
One of the officers was heard in the video saying, “Mr. Macaroni, you don’t need it all. EndSARS, what is your problem? I don’t know what your problem is. What are your needs, what are you looking for?”
Reacting to the mass arrests and deriding of the peaceful protesters, CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said “the forceful arrest and taunting of scores of peaceful #EndSARS protesters in Lekki, by the Nigeria Police is unacceptable”
In a statement issued in Lagos, CAPPA said: ‘We are shell-shocked that in the 21st century the Nigerian police is still dehumanizing Nigerian citizens by forcefully stopping their legitimate right to converge and protest and clamping them like rabid animals into the dingy Black Maria.
“We saw video footage of the shameful display of bestiality by the police. It is disheartening to know that we have descended this low as a country and a people to stifle peaceful protests.”
“Through their repressive tactics the police have not only violated the rights of these citizens to protest but also exposed them to the coronavirus by clamping them into the poorly ventilated Black Maria. This is totally unacceptable and unimaginable.
Adding further, Oluwafemi said that the “only sin of the young protesters is that they have refused to be cowed by the state that is more interested in making profits on the blood of the alleged victims of the Lekki toll gate shootings who were only fighting for our common good, including that of the policemen who are perpetrating this tyranny.
“The Lekki toll gate remains a crime scene and should remain shut. This is the demand of the protesters and it is within their rights to demand this without molestation.
“We are surprised that our security agencies that have remained largely docile in the face of rampaging bandits across the country came out in full force against those they have sworn to protect. It is shameful and totally reprehensible.
“This sad and shameful incident reopens the wounds of the 20 October 2020 Lekki shootings which was allegedly perpetrated by soldiers and policemen with the result being the death of scores of patriotic citizens armed only with our national flag.
“We are using this medium to demand the unequivocal release of the protesters, a probe of the response of the police to this incident and full apology by the Lagos State Government for permitting this anomaly on its soil”, Oluwafemi insisted.