#EndSARS: Activist Sues Lead Campaigners, Demands Justice

#EndSARS: Activist Sues Lead Campaigners, Demands Justice

…Claim His Properties Were Destroyed …Case is Frivolous…Adeyemi An Activist, Mr Kenechukwu Okeke, has filed a criminal complaint before a Chief Magistrate’s court in Abuja against 50 persons for their alleged roles in the 12 day #EndSARS protests that took place across the country in October, called by the organisers to press against Police brutality

…Claim His Properties Were Destroyed

…Case is Frivolous…Adeyemi

An Activist, Mr Kenechukwu Okeke, has filed a criminal complaint before a Chief Magistrate’s court in Abuja against 50 persons for their alleged roles in the 12 day #EndSARS protests that took place across the country in October, called by the organisers to press against Police brutality and rising infraction on the rights of the citizens, particularly youth.

The largely peaceful protests were later hijacked by hoodlums believed to have been sponsored by the state which later resulted in wanton destruction of public and private properties.

It was climaxed by the shooting of protesters at Lekki Toll Plaza by soldiers, leading to the death of 15 protesters with scores suffering severe injuries, according to global rights group, Amnesty International. But the state seriously disputes this claim though President Muhammadu Buhari reveals that 69 persons comprising 51 civilians, 11 policemen and 7 soldiers, were killed during the nationwide protests..

Okeke alleged that during the riot, his properties were destroyed and the defendants who promoted the #EndSARS protests must be brought to justice.

Those listed as defendants include Musician Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy, David Adeleke popularly known as Davido, Folarin Falana popularly known as Falz; and social media comedians, Debo Adebayo aka Mr Macaroni, and Maryam Akpaokagi aka Taoma.

Other musicians sued include Peter and Paul Okoye, Innocent Idibia aka Tuface, Bankole Wellington popularly known as Banky W, Tiwa Savage, Michael Ajereh aka Don Jazzy and Yemi Alade.

Apart from musicians, others listed as defendants include Senior Pastor, Daystar Christian Centre, Pastor Sam Adeyemi; activist, Aisha Yesufu; ex-Super Eagles legend, Kanu Nwankwo; a former Director-General, Bureau for Public Sector Reform, Dr Joe Abah; journalist, Kiki Mordi, and actors, Yul Edochie and Uche Jombo.

Others are social media influencers – Feyikemi Abudu, Olorunrinu Oduala, Pamilerin Adegoke, Japhet Omojuwa, Ayo Sogunro and Deji Adeyanju were also joined in the suit.

The case was instituted on Monday pursuant to sections 88, 109(a), 110(1)(c) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.

In his supporting affidavit, Okeke said the defendants played active roles in the #EndSARS protest which later became violent.

It read in part, “That the 1st to 50th accused persons between the 3rd day of October 2020 and the 28th day of October 2020, using Twitter, an Internet web source with URL https://www.twitter.com within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did conspire amongst themselves to commit misdemeanour, to wit, promoting and acting in such a manner, with intent to assist in the promotion of #EndSARS and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 97(2) of the Penal Code Act, C53 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

“That the 1st to 50th accused persons with intent to carry out some common purpose, assemble in such a manner or being assembled under the composition of #EndSARS as to cause persons in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to fear on reasonable grounds that such assembly needlessly and without any reasonable occasion may provoke other persons tumultuously to disturb the peace.

“Properties belonging to the complainant were egregiously destroyed by some riotous and tumultuous persons instigated and incited by the 1st to 50th accused persons.”

Okeke said, “I shall instigate a private criminal prosecution against all the alleged perpetrators and coordinators of the #EndSARS riots on Twitter. The nation bled, lives lost, and properties worth billions destroyed as a result of the sheer recklessness of some persons.

“Having initiated criminal proceedings against the #EndSARS riots promoters at exactly 1052hrs WAT, 09/11/2020, we shall ensure that same is diligently prosecuted in the interest of defence, public safety and public order. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is country of laws.”

But Daystar Christian Centre Founder, Pastor Adeyemi has said the suit filed against him and 49 others by Okeke is frivolous. Reacting to the suit on his twitter handle, Adeyemi said it was frivolous.

He asked: “Who sent this guy to file this frivolous law suit?”

This court case is being seen as part of the widespread crackdown by the Buhari government, which is using different agencies and surrogates, to bring the leaders of the EndSARS protests to book. Their international passports have been flagged with one, Modupe Odele who attempted to travel being told by Immigration officials at the airport that she could not make the trip after confiscating her passport. The Interior Ministry however described as “fake news” reports that it has compiled a “no fly list” to prevent leaders of the EndSARS protests from travelling out of the country..

Last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) via a court order, froze the accounts of 20 persons perceived as haven spearheaded the protests.  Adegoke Pamilerin and Bolatito Oduala, popularly known as Rinu whose accounts were also involved say they won’t be discouraged from their convictions.

The request filed by the CBN in October 20 was granted by Justice Ahmed Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja to freeze transactions on 20 accounts for a period of 180day.

Others also affected are Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Saadat Temitope Bibi, Bassey Victor Israel, Wisdom Busaosowo Obi, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.

The action also affected Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.

Rinu took to her Twitter page, saying the court order would not discourage nor stop her from protesting if the need be.

Her tweet read: “My name is even the first on the list, such a criminal that I am, that I protested without arms only putting on a white shirt stained red to say the Police should stop killing we youths.

“Freeze my account from today till tomorrow. I no get car. I go trek !#EndSars.”

On the other hand, Pamilerin said his account has been frozen for the past two weeks even with no court order.

On his Twitter page, he wrote: “My account has been frozen for over 2 weeks. Apparently CBN froze my account before they got a court order.

“Nigeria My Country, where the big and mighty do as they wish.”

The absence of the two youth representatives serving in the Lagos Judicial Panel on #EndSARS protest on Saturday on account of the freezing of their accounts, stalled proceedings as the panel could not form a quorum.

Brig.-Gen. A. I. Taiwo was already on hand to give Nigerian Army’s testimony on the alleged shooting of peaceful protesters at Lekki on October 20 but the panel failed to form a quorum.

The two youth representatives – Mr Temitope Majekodunmi and Ms Olorunrinu Oduala – did not make an appearance at the panel on Saturday in protest against the freezing of Oduala’s First Bank account by Central Bank of Nigeria.

Oduala’s bank account was allegedly frozen along with that of 19 others on November 6 over alleged sponsorship of the #EndSARS protests.

Justice Doris Okuwobi (retired), chairperson of nine-member panel, said that due to the absence of Oduala and Majekodunmi, proceedings will not hold because the panel could not form a quorum.

She said: “We are confronted with a situation which prevented her from coming. We do not know if the two youth representatives will eventually pull out.

“We do not want a situation where proceedings will go on and it is impugned that with controversy due to a lack of quorum.

Justice Okuwobi stressed the importance of all the panel’s sitting being in accordance with the law. “In all matters, we have to wait for them to join us, without them we are handicapped,” the retired judge said.

Reacting, Mr Akinlolu Kehinde (SAN), counsel to the Nigerian Army, noted that the military were at the panel in response to a summons dated October 28 and asked the panel when the military should return to give evidence.

Mr Kayode Enitan (SAN), counsel for the Lagos State Government, aligned with the submission of the counsel for the Nigerian military. He however noted the importance of a quorum.

“The issue of quorum is of utmost importance as to the competence of the panel to proceed and as to the integrity of recommendations to be made at the end of proceedings.

“Therefore, the directive that the panel should adjourn is quite appropriate,” the LASG counsel said.

Justice Okuwobi later adjourned the panel’s proceedings to November 14.

 

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