Armed Police, Army Personnel Lay Siege at Sahara Reporters, CDHR Offices

Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, President of CDHR,
Mr. Malachy Ugwummadu, President of CDHR,

On September 18, 2019, a combined team of armed policemen and soldiers laid siege at  the Isaac John Street, Ikeja  Lagos offices of the online news platform, Sahara Reporters, denying people access to the building and preventing those inside from coming out.

The invading security personnel according to SaharaReporters, came in three vehicles and stationed themselves in front of the office banging the gate and shouting, “Open the gate! Come outside.”

A batch of armed policemen in no less than seven vehicles also laid siege to the Adeniyi Jones Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos offices of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR).

The action of the security agencies is suspected to be to forestall the planned protest against the continued detention of Omoyele Sowore, convener of the #RevolutionNow movement.

The spokesperson of the Lagos Police Command, Bala Elkana, said in a telephone conversation with the online news medium, Premium Times newspaper that the deployment of police to the areas was to serve as protection and ensure that law and order were maintained adding “They are there to provide security and ensure that there is no breach of peace.”

Sowore was arrested on August 3, 2019, following his call for a peaceful protest using the hashtag #RevolutionNow to demand that the Nigerian government ends corruption and economic inequality and guarantee education to all. He was initially denied access to his lawyers and is yet to be arraigned before any court. Although no charges have been filed against him, the DSS on August 8, obtained a Federal High Court injunction to detain him for 45 days without pressing any charges. In a ruling the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja permitted the Department of State Services (DSS) to to detain him for 45 days, without trial to enable the agency to conduct investigations under the 2013 Terrorism Act.