One of the prominent voices of the ENDSARS movement, Eromosele Adene, has been held without charge for over 72 hours.
He was transported to Abuja without a court order, Mbasekei Obono, his lawyer said.
The human rights lawyer, Mr Obono, protested that his client, Mr Adene, is being held illegally by the Police Federal Criminal Investigation Division (FCID) in Abuja.
On Saturday, November 7, Mr Adene was posting live updates on Twitter as security forces came to arrest him in his Lagos family home.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria are about to ‘arrest’ me for exercising my human rights. Their guns are out and they have broken my gates and are in my house!!!”, read his last Twitter update.
A self-described musician and creative director, Mr Adene has been an active member of the EndSARS movement, which has been calling for police reform and an end to bad governance.
Most recently, on Saturday, he was among a group of organizers calling for fresh protests in Lagos.
Police are said to have found him by tracking Mr Adene’s phone number, which had been displayed on the flyers calling for a renewed protest.
Though initially held in Lagos, he was transported to the Abuja FCID office on Monday. Mr Obono said this was done without a court order and was, therefore, illegal.
He added that the Nigerian constitution requires that any person being detained for more than 24 hours shall be formally charged by a court.
It has now been 72 hours since the arrest and still no formal charges have been laid, at the time of filing this report.
The FCID website, however, explains that the agency is the “highest investigating arm of the Nigeria Police, in charge of investigating crimes such as homicide, fraud and human trafficking.” This begs the question of why an activist is being held by the top investigative unit of the Nigerian Police.
When reached for a comment regarding the charges laid on Mr Adene, the FCID Public Relations Officer, Funmi Eguajoe, said, “I think all you need to know is his safety”.
Subsequent messages went unanswered.
Mrs Eguaoje’s statement was contested by Mr Obono, who said that his client “wasn’t treated well while he was in Lagos,” and that he had been taken to the FCID clinic on Monday – it remains unclear why.
It is believed that Mr Adene will be brought before a judge today, though it is not known if any charges will be laid against him yet, or for how long he will be remanded in custody.
The case has drawn similarities with that of the “Abuja 6” peaceful protesters who are being held in the Suleja Correctional Facility for their involvement in the EndSARS protests.
Onomene Adene, sister of Endsars frontliner who was arrested on Saturday November 7, narrates how the police deceived her before arresting her brother
PREMIUM TIMES reported that their lawyer believes his clients are being held on “trumped up charges.”
Mr Obono was requested to represent Mr Adene in Abuja on a pro-bono basis, while waiting for the latter’s official lawyer to travel from Lagos.