Police arrest 18 protesters, journalists in Lagos

Men of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested 18 protesters, including four journalists, during a protest against the hike in the pump price of fuel and electricity tariff in the country.

The protesters, who gathered under the aegis of the Socialist Party of Nigeria, displayed  placards demanding a reduction in the prices of goods and services.

The group was at the Ojuelegba area when they were intercepted by the police and arrested.

The youth leader of the SPN, Hassan Soweto, in a post on his Facebook page, said they were taken to the Area C Police Command.

He stated, “We have just been arrested alongside several other members of the Socialist Party of Nigeria and journalists for protesting against fuel price hike, electricity tariff and deregistration of SPN. A total of 18 arrested, including four journalists.”

The National Chairperson of the party, Abiodun Bamigboye, in a statement, demanded an end to the violation of human rights by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).

Bamigboye said, “We demand immediate release of all arrested, public apology from the police and payment of medical bills and other damages to those arrested. The unjust arrest today again reveals the despotic character of the Buhari/APC government and further betrays its anti-democratic and anti-masses character.”

The International Press Centre, in statement, condemned the arrest of the journalists.

The statement, released by the IPC’s Program Officer, Melody Akinjiyan, said, “IPC disapproves of the harassment and brutalisation of the journalists in the course of legitimate duty and particularly decries the seizure and damage of their working tools.

“IPC demands the immediate and unconditional release of the journalists. The police should also return their seized gadgets and pay compensation for the damaged ones.”

The Joint Action Front, in another statement by its Secretary, Abiodun Aremu, also condemned the police action.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Muyiwa Adejobi, said the journalists had been released.

He said the others were charged for conducts likely to cause breach of public peace and were discharged by the court.

Adejobi said, “The protesters were picked by police personnel in the Surulere area. The four journalists were released, but others were taken to the task force base at Oshodi, and they were charged to court under Section 168 (1D) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015. They were warned by the court and discharged. As we speak, we don’t have anyone in our custody.

“This is just to serve as a warning that any procedure that you want to do must follow due process. We were not informed of the protest today; it was a surprise to us. We will never tell anyone not to have a peaceful protest.”

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