RevolutionNow: Police arraign 5 for unlawful assembly in Osun, NLC wants detained activists released

Osun state Police Command Wednesday arraigned five persons in connection with the RevolutionNow protest in Osogbo Monday.

They are: Owolabi Olawale (32), Fagunwa Temitope (29), Oluwafemi Johnson (28), Owoeye Olaoluwa (22) and Omoleye Stephen (21).

They were arraigned at the magistrate court sitting in Osogbo, the state capital, for unlawful assembly.

The five accused were arraigned on a three-count charge of unlawful assembly, conduct likely to create neighbourhood fear and conduct likely to cause breach of public peace.

The offences, according to the police, were contrary to and punishable under sections 517, 69 and 249 (d) of the Criminal Code Cap 34 Vol II, Laws of Osun State of Nigeria, 2002.

However, the accused persons all pleaded not guilty to the offences preferred against them.

 Their counsel, Mr. Alfred Adegoke, pleaded with the court to grant the accused persons bail in the most liberal term.

The presiding magistrate, Mr Ajanaku A. O. granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N50, 000 with one surety in like sum and adjourned to the 16th of August 2019 for hearing.

NLC wants activists arrested

But the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has  said Nigerian Constitution does not empower security agencies to attack peaceful protesters.

NLC General Secretary Peter Ozo-Eson in a statement Wednesday in Abuja, said peaceful protests, assembly and associations were fully guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under sections 39 and 40.

He therefore called for urgent release of the Convener of the #RevolutionNow protest Omoyele Sowore and others  arrested by the State Security Service, saying such action is against their fundamental human rights.

“It is with deep consternation that we view the attacks and arrests of peaceful protesters in some parts of the country by security agencies and military personnel on Monday during a protest by some Nigerians in Lagos, Osogbo, Ibadan, Abuja and other cities.

“There is nowhere in our constitution or laws that the security agencies are empowered to so brazenly attack peaceful protests and hound its organisers into detention as the right to peaceful protests, assembly and association is fully guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under sections 39 and 40.

“We view the violent attack on the peaceful protesters by security forces as a total violation of the fundamental rights of not just the protesters but all Nigerian citizens as guaranteed by the constitution as well as various reported judgements of our courts”.

Comrade Ozo-Eson further said  peaceful protest against bad governance or perceived anti-people government policies was one of the critical fundamental rights that expands the entrenchment and growth of democracy.

He also said, “security agencies must not be allowed to continue to portray themselves as anti-democracy forces as the Monday attacks so clearly demonstrated.”

“We view the midnight arrest of one of the organisers of the protests, Mr. Omoyele Sowore as an affront on his fundamental rights as well as our collective rights to freedom of expression and association as enshrined in all the international and national instruments that strengthens democracy,” he said

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