Police Arrest Activist for Questioning Local Government Chairperson in Lagos

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Mr. Abdulganiu Olushipo

On March 4, 2024, an activist, Mr. Abdulganiu Olushipo, was arrested by officers of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) for demanding good governance and transparency from the Lagos Mainland Local Government Chairperson, Mrs Omolola Essien, on the local government’s WhatsApp platform. His arrest triggered a protest by the youths in the area leading to the launching of an online campaign to get the activist freed. 

Mr. Olushipo, a resident of Lagos Mainland was reportedly arrested and detained at a police station in Surulere, Lagos State.

The Mainland Youths Initiative, in a viral message they shared, accused the Local Government Chairperson of orchestrating Mr. Olushipo’s arrest after posting “unconfirmed” local government allocation figures.

Before his arrest, Mr. Olushipo had reportedly forwarded a WhatsApp message to the platform detailing how much Lagos Mainland Local Government got in recent times which amounted to a total of N15.152 Trillion. He told the group: “Hold your chairman for development no excuse. Asiwaju is working.”

The post reportedly got the chairperson infuriated and ordered his arrest for alleged cyberstalking and cyberbullying.

Mr. Jeffrey Anyasi, Chief Press Secretary to the Local Government Chairperson while reacting to the arrest, denied the figures and accused Mr. Olushipo of cyberbullying. He, however, confirmed the arrest of Mr. Olushipo stating that he was arrested in connection to his post demanding transparency.

The activist’s arrest sparked reactions from concerned citizens and groups who condemned his arrest and detention stressing that freedom of speech is a fundamental right that must be safeguarded, and that expressing opinions on governance matters is a crucial aspect of a democratic society.

They called for the release of the activist and for all charges to be dropped as well as urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate the spending of the local government.

The activist was later released on March 5, 2024, after being detained at a police station in Surulere area of Lagos State.