Independence Day: Reps reject motion on illegal arrest, brutalization of protesters.

Members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected a motion which seeks to investigate allegation bothering on illegal arrest, detention and brutalization of peaceful protesters in Abuja on Independence Day.

The Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu who sponsored the motion expressed displeasure over the breach of the citizens’ fundamental rights and illegal detention of citizens without access to legal representation.

He observed that some Nigerian youths as guaranteed by Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) had on the 1st October, 2021 assembled peacefully at Dantata Bridge, Airport Road, Abuja to demand good governance, transparency and end the menace of insecurity in the country.

Hon. Elumelu argued that peaceful protests represent a policy feedback mechanism by which citizens express their discontent with governments inhuman or degrading policies that subtract from their rights as national stakeholders.

He however lamented that a detachment of armed Anti-Riot Policemen led by ASP Altine Daniel arrived at Dantata bridge and violently opened fire on the peaceful protesters with a view to disperse them.

According to him, some of the protesters were arrested by the officers of the Nigerian Police Force and beaten to stupor while others chased into the bush in violation of section 34(a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

While frowning at the development, the Minority Leader alleged that four protesters who were arrested were taken to Galadimawa Police Station, and later moved to the FCT Police Command and to date denied access to either their families or their lawyers.

Hon. Elumelu who expressed grave concern over series of allegations of human rights violation, extrajudicial killings, intimidation and harassment of Nigerians by the Police Force, argued that some of these allegations triggered the EndSARS protest last year.

He added that if these excesses of the Police are not curtailed and erring Officers called to order, it could lead to a mass rebellion by the people against the government, hence the need for an urgent investigation.

In a swift reaction to the motion, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase who decried the worrisome security situation of the country, argued that the protesters should have brought their protest to the National Assembly rather than blocking movement of people going about their daily lives.

On his part, the Speaker sought to know if there’s a confirmed report that the Police officer actually opened fire on the civilians, as alleged by the Minority Leader.

In his response, Hon. Elumelu who quoted from the media report, argued that the Police officer fired into the air.

When the Speaker called for the voice vote, majority of the lawmakers who shouted ‘Nay’ voted against the motion.


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