Over the last couple of weeks, Nigerians have sought to use their collective power to pressure the government to first of all end the notorious Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) and then reform the Nigerian Police. The government, in all their wisdom, have responded through the use of brute force in unleashing the military on peaceful protesters. In effect, this sense of state-sanctioned violence had a chilling effect on the protests and the government have sought to capitalize on this by clamping down on protesters in the misguided belief that by potentially making scapegoats of them, they could deter future protests and movements.
Below, we document a timeline of the government’s response to the protests.
A Timeline of the Government’s Clampdown
20th October – Court orders Freezing of Bank Accounts of Protesters
A court order addressed to the head offices of Access Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank Nigeria, Guaranty Trust Bank, United Bank of Africa, and Zenith Bank, directed the banks to freeze transactions on twenty accounts for a period of 180 days pending the outcome of an investigation being conducted by the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN). In the second week of October, the CBN froze twenty accounts and thereafter approached the court to seek an ex parte order to freeze the accounts.
There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations.
In the case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed, the CBN made no mention that the accounts were owned by persons involved in the #EndSARS protests, but told the court that the funds might have emanated from terrorist activities. The CBN through its head of economic intelligence, Joseph Omayuku, told the court that following investigations: There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations.
Some of the affected individuals are Bolatito Racheal Oduala, 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, Mosopefoluwa Odeseye, Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, and Gatefield Nigeria Limited.
3rd November – Seizure of Moe Odele’s Passport
Moe Odele, a lawyer involved in the protests providing legal aid to illegally detained protesters was limited from traveling on a birthday trip as her passport was seized at the airport. She said;
I went to the airport, passed through immigration, and while I was putting my bags through the body and baggage scanner, the immigration officer who had previously cleared me, called me back. He told me he had orders from above to detain me. Okay, at this point I’m like ‘excuse me, my flight is in an hour. On what grounds are you detaining me?’ He didn’t respond. Instead, he goes to his computer where he typed in my name and something that looked like a ‘wanted poster’ popped up on the portal.
He blocked my view so I couldn’t see most of it but I saw some of it. And it read something like – This person is under investigation by XYZ intelligence agency. If seen, they should be apprehended on sight. Since the #EndSARS peaceful protests started in Nigeria about three weeks ago, I and some super courageous women have been providing support to Nigerians as they came out to peacefully exercise their constitutional rights.
I was specifically in charge of legal aid and so co-led www.endsarslegalaid.co where we succeeded in helping over 80 peaceful protesters who were arrested get released. It was back-breaking and emotionally tasking work but the joy that the family expressed when being reunited with loved ones made it all worth it. I’m not a full-time activist or human rights attorney. I am a corporate lawyer at the moment so dealing with police stations isn’t my area of expertise. I did what needed to be done in the face of gross injustice and had the support of over 800 wonderful volunteer lawyers.
7th November – The Arrest of Protesters
Six people involved in the #EndSARS protests at the National Assembly complex in Abuja on November 6th were arrested and have been remanded at a correctional center until the next adjourned date of 25th January 2021.
The Lagos Judicial Panel set up to look into Police Brutality in Lagos was suspended due to the withdrawal of two youth representatives, Bolatito Olorunrinu and Temitope Majekodunmi. Their withdrawal from the panel followed the freezing of Olorunrinu’s account for participating in the #EndSARS protest. The sitting was suspended until November 14th.
8th November- Lagos State releases 253 people and announces it will prosecute 92 of them
Meanwhile, on the 8th of November, Moyosore Onigbanjo, Lagos State Attorney-General (A-G), ordered the release of 253 people arrested by the police over their alleged roles in the unrest following the #EndSARS protests. However, 92 of them will be prosecuted.
Odeole’s passport was released two days ago, the Defence Intelligence Agency of the Nigerian military was accused of generating ‘a no-fly’ list for leaders of the protests.
10th November – “Activist” files criminal complaint against 50 protesters
An “activist”, Kenechukwu Okeke, filed a criminal complaint before a Chief Magistrate’s court in Abuja against 50 #EndSARS promoters for roles in the protests, with the looting and destruction of properties, that took place in October.
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 a 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 complaint were egregiously destroyed by some riotous and tumultuous persons instigated and incited by the 1st to 50th accused persons.
Those on the list include Musician Damini Ogulu (Burna Boy), David Adeleke (Davido), Folarin Falana (Falz), Debo Adebayo (Mr Macaroni), Maryam Akpaokagi (Taoma), Peter and Paul Okoye, Innocent Idibia aka Tuface, Bankole Wellington (Banky W), Tiwa Savage, Michael Ajereh (Don Jazzy), Yemi Alade, Pastor Sam Adeyemi; Aisha Yesufu, Kanu Nwankwo, Dr. Joe Abah, Kiki Mordi, Yul Edochie, Uche Jombo, Feyikemi Abudu, Olorunrinu Oduala, Pamilerin Adegoke, Japhet Omojuwa, Ayo Sogunro, and Deji Adeyanju.
10th November – Deregistration of ‘Enough Is Enough’ by the Corporate Affairs Commission
The Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA)through the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, deregistered Enough is Enough with BN 2210728 for being deceptive.
The section provides amongst others that the Commission has the power to cancel the registration of a Business Name where the name is deceptive or objectionable.
The Business Name “Enough is Enough” which was registered in 2012 to engage in General Contracts, Sales of Sport Equipment/Promotion deviated from its main objectives over the cause of time. Consequently, the Commission has removed it from its database and advised the proprietors to surrender the certificate earlier issued to them.
However, Enough is Enough, a coalition of Nigerian youth advocacy groups to promote better governance and political accountability in the country was registered as The EiE Project Ltd/Gte, not Enough is Enough meaning in its bid to punish those it views as critics, the wrong group was deregistered.