The police in Lagos on Thursday arrested protesters of fuel and electricity tariff hike around Ojuelegba, Surulere.
The operatives also seized the work tools of four journalists – Ifeoluwa Adediran, Abiodun Ayeoba, Awoniyi Oluwatosin and Daniel Tanimu – who were covering the protest organised by the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN).
File Photo: Protest in Lagos It was learnt that 18 persons were arrested, including Dagga Tolar, Ayo Ademiluyi, Chinedu Bosah, Lexan Ali, Fidel Davynovich, Oluwole Engels and Hassan Soweto.
In a statement by its National Organising Secretary, Dimeji Macaulay, SPN said: “It is completely unacceptable. We enjoin all Nigerians interested in preserving this country’s hard-earned democracy to condemn this emboldened descent into a civilian-military dictatorship.
“We demand a public apology from the police for this ridiculous and unprofessional action taken against our comrades. We ask that proper disciplinary measures be taken against the security officers involved.
“It’s important for you to note that demonstrations and protests are a global phenomenon and are a part of the development of any society.”
Raising the alarm about the arrest, Soweto, who is SPN’s National Youth Leader, said: “We have just been arrested alongside some journalists for protesting this morning against fuel price and electricity tariff hike as well as the deregistration of SPN. I am typing this message at the back of a police van taking us to Area C of the Police Command in Lagos.”
The International Press Centre (IPC) in Lagos also condemned the arrest of the four journalists.
A statement by its Programme Officer/Safety Desk Officer, Melody Akinjiyan, reads: “The IPC in Lagos, Nigeria, hereby condemns the unlawful arrest of four journalists – Ifeoluwa Adediran of Premium Times, Abiodun Ayeoba of Sahara Reporters, Awoniyi Oluwatosin of Objective Media and Daniel Tanimu of Galaxy Television – early today (September 10, 2020), while covering a peaceful protest on the fuel price increase in Yaba, Lagos State.
“Spokesperson for the organisers of the protest – the Socialist Party of Nigeria – Comrade Hassan Soweto, who was equally arrested, confirmed that ‘the cameras and phones of the journalists were seized while they were taken to the Lagos State Police Command’.
“IPC disapproves the harassment and brutalisation of the journalists in the course of legitimate duty and particularly decries the seizure and damage to 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.
“IPC reiterates that the right to peacefully assemble and ventilate grievances over government policies is covered by the laws of the federation and should not be tampered with arbitrarily.”
Also, the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has said it will begin a nationwide protest on the increases in fuel price and electricity tariff as from Monday, September 14, 2020 to demand a reversal.
Addressing reporters in Abuja, NANS National President Danielson Akpan said: “Nigerians are bewildered that having been under months of lockdown and restrictive measures, welcoming them back to normal life with increases in prices of essential commodities is a burden too harsh for the citizens to bear.
“Nigerian students, in particular, will be hard hit by these policies and, therefore, cannot concentrate or cope with studies as their usually managed ‘101’ feeding standard can no longer be guaranteed. Many students have been forced out of school already due to high cost of living and deteriorating economic conditions of their families.
“As you already know, Nigerian students have been protesting against the latest announced prices as directed by the National Secretariat of the association. The protests will continue as planned…
“Precisely, on Monday, September, 14, 2020, Nigerian students shall be making a loud statement in a mass protest across the six geo-political zones and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to demand outright reversal of the insensitive price hikes.”