Global human rights’ body, Amnesty International, has warned the Department of State Services in Nigeria to stop intimidating protest organisers under the guise of “invitations.”
The AI Nigeria Director, Osai Ojigho, stated this, while condemning the incessant arrests of the protesters by security forces.
She also demanded the immediate release of those already detained.
Ojigho said, “Amnesty International condemns the wanton arrest of peaceful protesters against rampant insecurity across northern Nigeria.
“The organisation received disturbing reports of the arrest of protest organisers by the police and the DSS in Kano, Katsina, Bauchi, Zaria, Gombe and Kaduna.
“Yesterday the Nigerian Police unlawfully arrested five peaceful protesters in Abuja during a protest seeking an end to the escalating insecurity in Nigeria. Henry Nwodo, Moses Isijola, Marvellous Dominic (a minor) and two others were violently arrested in Apo area of Abuja as they were wrapping up the #NorthIsBleeding protests.
”Bishir Dauda has been in police detention since yesterday in Katsina, without access to lawyer or family. At least 10 protest organisers have been invited by the DSS in what appears to be an attempt to intimidate them.
”We call on Nigerian authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all those arrested for exercising the right to freedom of assembly. The DSS must stop using ‘invitations’ to intimidate protests organisers.
”The protesters have done nothing more than speaking up for the protection of right to life. The arrests appear to be an attempt to intimidate and harass those who refused to be silent in the face of government’s failure to protect lives”
SaharaReporters had on Wednesday reported that the protesters were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatments since their arrest at the Area 1 roundabout in Abuja when they were about to conclude the peaceful protest.
They were thereafter transferred from the FCT Police Command to the facility meant for the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) popularly known as Abattoir where they were being tortured and denied access to lawyers.
In an attempt to arraign and file bogus charges against them, the police on Thursday hurriedly took the young men to a Magistrate court located at Wuse Zone 6 Abuja where it was gathered that the magistrate allegedly rejected the case.
The police in their desperation later took them to another Magistrate court at Wuse Zone 2 where the police prosecutor could not get the case registered and assigned.
The lawyer to the protesters, Samuel Ihensekhien who spoke to SaharaReporters had said, “They brought the innocent protesters of #NorthIsBleeding but it is quite unfortunate they couldn’t get the police prosecutor to get the matter assigned because of bureaucratic delay.
“The innocent protesters have been sent back to the detention with reference that they will be produced tomorrow (Friday) for proper arraignment in the appropriate magistrate court.”
Meanwhile in a video clip obtained by SaharaReporters, the detained protesters were seen lamenting how they were tortured and brutalised by the police.
One of them said a police officer hit him in the eye. The protesters also showed the injuries on their bodies.