“It is disheartening to note how the system is mangling the lives and destinies of those captured by government over #EndSARS disturbances in October 2020”
“Hundreds of citizens who were arrested as ‘#EndSARS protesters criminals’ by security agencies are languishing in prisons, with none of them undergoing trial at the courts”
No fewer than 300 arrested #ENSARs protesters are still languishing in Lagos prisons without being tried in court, a civil society group, New Nigeria Network (NNN) has alerted.
NNN said keeping the 300 protesters in the overcrowded prison of about 1,910-capacity is mangling.
According to the group, as at August 2021, the prison was keeping 3,654 inmates which is way over the capacity of 1,910.
It, therefore, asked the Lagos State Government and the authorities to release the protesters unconditionally or charge them to court.
“It is disheartening to note how the system is mangling the lives and destinies of those captured by government over #EndSARS disturbances in October 2020.
“Hundreds of citizens who were arrested as ‘#EndSARS protesters criminals’ by security agencies are languishing in prisons, with none of them undergoing trial at the courts,” the Co-convener of the group, Mr Adesina Ogunlana, told newsmen in Lagos.
He said huge number of the protesters in detention was discovered during a visit to the prison by members of the group.
“The prison is congested as it is currently keeping inmates that are more than the capacity the prison is built for,” Persecondnews quotes Ogunlana as saying.
Ogunlana, who is also the counsel to #EndSARS protesters at the judicial panel, said they interacted with the detained protesters.
He said: “Information at our disposal does not indicate any arraignment at all of those already slated for trial at the High Court, courtesy of the legal advice of the Director of Public Prosecution, DPP, Lagos State, acting on behalf of the Attorney-General of the state since 2020.
“The other category slated for trial at the Magistrate Courts, there has been no significant progress in the ‘alleged prosecution’ which is more of window dressing.”
Ogunlana lamented that all their bail applications were not granted including those filed before a vacation judge because the office of the DPP oppose the applications.
Citing the case of one #EndSARS protester, Seyi Awogbola, who has been in detention since 2020, he said: “He was brought before a Magistrate Court in Yaba, where a holding charge was filed against him.
“The DPP legal advice submitted that information be preferred against him at the High Court. Till date, no information has been filed against him.
“The applications of two different counsel on his behalf have been turned down in two rulings by two different judges of the High Court of Lagos State on the ground of the severity of the offence.”
“The #EndSARS protesters are not criminals, the protest was peaceful until miscreants took advantage of the killings at the Lekki Toll Gate and in retaliation caused havoc, vandalized shops, properties and burnt public buildings.”