The police in Lagos have charged 40 protesters arrested at the Lekki tollgate on Saturday to court, for breaching public peace.
The arrested protesters include, Debo Adebayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, Dabiraoluwa Adeyinka, Damilare Adenola, Anjorin Joseph, Paul Terkuma and Anisere Sodiq.
The protesters were charged at the Magistrate Court of Lagos State, Yaba.
In the charge sheet obtained by newsmen, they were charged on three counts including failing to comply with the “Quarantine Law which prohibit any social gathering to avoid spreading and contacting of Coronavirus Disease”.
The other charges are “breach of public peace, harassment, and causing unnecessary alarm to the public”.
Newsmen earlier reported the arrest of the protesters and how they were manhandled by police officers. They were also reportedly denied access to their lawyers, some activists claim.
According to the charge sheet, the police said the protesters “did conspire among yourselves (themselves) to commit a misdemeanour to wit conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 412 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015″.
The second count on which they were charged also states that the protesters gathered themselves, “to harass and cause unnecessary alarm and panic in a manner likely to cause a breach of the peace and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 168 (1) (e) and punishable under Section 168 (2) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.”
The protesters were also charged with failure to comply with COVID-19 law recently passed by the federal government.
“That you the above named Defendants on the 13th of February, 2021 at Lekki Toll Plaza in the Yaba Magisterial District did fail to comply with the Restriction/Prohibition Quarantine Law which prohibit any social gathering to avoid spreading and contacting of Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 5 of the Quarantine Act Q2 Law of Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2004 as domesticated under Public Health Law CH: P: Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015,” the court document reads.
The right to protest is a fundamental human right in Nigeria but the police on Saturday clamped down on several protesters who were unarmed.
The arrest of the peaceful protesters has been condemned by different groups and individuals, with many calling for their unconditional release.