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Protesters arrested for violating COVID-19 safety protocols – FCT official

THE Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has disclosed that Revolution Now protesters who converged at the Unity Fountain, in Maitama, on Wednesday were arrested because they violated COVID-19 safety protocols.

Earlier in the day, about 60 protesters were reportedly arrested after police took over the protest which was staged to demand good governance.

The arrests were also made in Lagos, Ondo and Osogbo, capital of Osun State, where citizens trooped out, holding placards with several inscriptions, depicting the state of poor governance across the country, while demanding better governance.

However, Ikharo Attah, Chairman of the FCT Ministerial Task Team on COVID-19, said the protesters violated the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 guidelines of social and physical distancing, noting that most of them were seen without face masks, leading to their arrests.

Attah further stated that the protesters have been released, advising that they (protesters) always conform to all COVID-19 protocols to avoid the spread of Coronavirus.

“About 40 of them have all been released and been tasked to always conform with COVID-19 whenever they are out to protest,” he said.

“You have the right to association, right to protest, a right to freedom of speech and expression but as you do all of this you must always conform to COVID-19 health protocols.”

Although Attah said that protesters had the right to peaceful protests, Deji Adeyanju, a human rights activist who was part of the Abuja protest posted on his Twitter page pictures of protesters who were ordered to lie faced down by a team of heavily armed security agents.

“Security agents harassing peaceful protesters but they run or cry when they see Boko Haram or bandits,” Adeyanju wrote.

He lamented that the country is back in the era of military, noting that the government deployed a combined team of police, soldiers, DSS and others because of the protest.

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Meanwhile, Olawale Bakare, convener of RevolutionNow in Osogbo and Agba Jalingo, a Cross River based journalist, were arrested for participating in the RevolutionNow Protest on Wednesday.

They  were arrested by operatives of the State Security Service (SSS) while converging at the Correspondent’s Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Chapel in Osogbo.

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