#OccupyLekkiTollGate: CP Odumosu orders release of Macaroni, other arrested protesters

Mr Macaroni

Popular comedian Mr Macaroni and 34 other protesters arrested early on Saturday in Lekki area of Lagos should be freed immediately, the State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, has ordered, according to TVC.

May be an image of 2 people and people standing

Macaroni and the others were arrested and taken away by the Police after they tried to kick off the #OccupyLekkiTollGate protest against the reopening of the Lekki toll gate.

Police had earlier indicated that it will not allow the protest to hold.

They were subsequently taken away from the toll gate in a Black Maria and detained at Area J Police Command, Elemoro, Ibeju Lekki.

Their arrest sparks outrage on the social media with many calling for their release.

.Comedian, Mr Macaroni and other #OccupyLekkiTollgate protesters arraigned before a mobile court in Panti, granted N100, 000 bail , adjourned case till March 2nd 2021.

The court mandated them to present their certificate of COVID19

The protesters, including entertainer Debo Macaroni, were charged on Saturday evening for taking part in a demonstration against injustice at Lekki Toll Gate, scene of October 20, 2020, killing of protesters by armed Nigerian soldiers.

The protesters were taken to Panti, a police unit notorious for handling tough criminal cases. It was unclear why all the protesters, who have not been accused of any crime, were taken to the station in central Lagos’ suburb of Yaba.

Two lawyers working on the matter told journalists that the protesters were currently being arraigned before a mobile court system.

They are expected to be released after entering their respective pleas before the court, the lawyers said.

The arraignment comes hours after police commissioner Hakeem Odumosu said he had ordered the immediate release of the suspects.

Widespread condemnation has greeted the arrest of the protesters, with the Nigerian Bar Association reminding the Buhari administration of Nigerians’ fundamental rights to free assembly.

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The Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U General Stephen Townsend, wrapped up a three-day West African visit February 22-25, 2021, with a stopover in Nigeria to meet with the nation’s leaders and further the long-standing partnership and security cooperation between the two countries.

A press statement by the Embassy on Friday, said: “During the visit, Townsend met with the Nigerian President’s Chief of Staff, Ibrahim Gambari, and National Security Adviser, Babagan Monguno, to discuss regional security issues and to express the command’s gratitude for the assistance provided during a hostage rescue operation last year.

“When we asked for their help, the Nigerian government answered the call. Our hostage recovery mission in October would have been impossible without their support.

“They quickly provided assistance that helped the U.S. military to save an American life. That is a strong example of our partnership with Nigeria.”

Townsend also met with senior military officials, including the Minister of Defence, Bashir Salihi Magash, and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Leo Irabor, to talk about on-going cooperation in the region and greater maritime security and threat mitigation.

Nigeria is a key partner in countering violent extremist organizations throughout the Lake Chad Basin.

Townsend said furthermore: “The bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the U.S. is built on several pillars including security cooperation.

“U.S. Africa Command will do our part to advance the security cooperation pillar, so that Nigerians can enjoy the more secure future they all deserve.”

As close partners, the U.S. and Nigeria have worked at ensuring the collaborative relationship continues to grow to include a commitment to interoperability. Nigeria purchased 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, which will be delivered later this year.

“Nigeria’s purchase of A-29 Super Tucano aircraft is another example of their commitment to interoperability and security in the region,” he added. “Our economic relationship with Nigeria is already strong, and we look forward to the continued strengthening of security relationships. Nigeria’s leaders understand the importance of a collaborative approach to ensuring stability in West Africa and partnering on areas of mutual interest.”

The Commander also met with the U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria, Mary Beth Leonard.

Leonard said: “General Townsend’s visit to Nigeria demonstrates the strategic importance the United States places on our bilateral relationship with Nigeria.

“Our security cooperation partnership with Nigeria’s military will strengthen the country’s capabilities to secure land and sea borders, enhance overall security, and combat terrorism in the North East.”

As part of the visit, Townsend participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Nigeria Military National Cemetery to honour those who have given their lives in the service of their nation.

During the visit, the delegation expressed their condolences for the seven service men killed in the crash of a Nigerian Air Force aircraft in Abuja.