Human rights lawyers and pro-democracy groups on Monday protested at the British High Commission, the United States (US) embassy, and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) the alleged detention of some of their members by the Department of State Services (DSS).
In separate petitions to the embassies, the lawyers accused the Federal Government of deliberately attempting to gag the opposition in Nigeria.
In a copy of the petition made available to The AUTHORITY, the group called for the “immediate investigation of all those who incited violence during the run up to the rerun elections in Rivers State including Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Governor Umar Ganduje of Kano State and the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi.”
The lawyers added that their “inflammatory comments heightened tension and created a veritable ground for violence to fester and remotely led to the deaths of DSP Mohammed Alkali, his orderly and all other citizens who lost their lives in the Rivers’ rerun election.”
On December 22, 2016, the lawyers wrote letters to inform the police of a planned protest march to raise alarm on the imminent threat to Nigeria’s democracy and the “ignoble” role of security agencies in the Rivers’ rerun election by security agencies which they alleged “are being covered by the establishment.”
Narrating the group’s ordeal in the hands of security agencies, the lawyers said that, “at about 2:00am on the day of the protest, officers of the DSS stormed the law office of our member at Suite B29, Shakir Plaza, Area 11, Garki, Abuja, ransacked it, carted away case files, laptops, phones, all materials for the rally including the Nigerian flags, posters and banners, all documents in the office and also arrested four members who are still in detention till date and have not been charged to court for any offences.”