Court adjourns #EndSARS protester Eromosele's trial due to COVID-19 rules

The second wave of COVID-19 has compelled the court to only entertain cases that are urgent or crucial.

Eromosele Adene at the Chief Magistrate Court in Yaba, Lagos on Monday, January 11, 2020

Adene stands accused of criminal incitement, cyberstalking, provoking breach of public peace, and conduct likely to cause the breach of peace due to his involvement in nationwide protests against police brutality in October 2020.

The 27-year-old was forcefully ejected from his Lagos home by over a dozen police officers on November 7, 2020 ahead of a planned protest in Lagos, and held in custody until the court granted him bail on November 17.

When the defendant appeared in court for the commencement of his trial on Monday, January 11, 2021, his case was adjourned till February 15 due to restrictions on the court's operations.

Adene's counsel, Adesina Ogunlana, told Pulse the court registrar explained that the second wave of COVID-19 in Nigeria has compelled the court to only entertain cases that are urgent or crucial.

He said, "Our own case is not considered urgent or crucial. They're citing COVID-19 directive of the government for safety, because the courtroom is another area where there could be a large population of people."

The defendant's counsel expressed his dissatisfaction with the court's decision, noting that the government could have enforced the restriction more efficiently.

He said he felt shortchanged by the turn of events because his team had prepared well for the commencement of the trial on Monday.

Describing the restriction as unfair on his client, he said the court's sitting could have been regulated better, instead of unnecessarily prolonging cases not deemed urgent or crucial.

"What has happened today is a lazy attitude to work from government. I'm very sure this magistrate (Folarin Williams) is willing to work.

"There could have been more proactive management situation, you regulate it. I don't think it's good enough," Ogunlana said.

Eromosele's case has garnered public attention for what many believe is a case of persecution from the government cracking down on some of the most visible figures from last year's historic demonstrations against police brutality.

Ogunlana noted on Monday that there are rumours the government plans to further harass his client, but he failed to go into specifics.

"I'm not going to be alarmist, but I can't close my eyes and ears to what we hear. If there's any suggestion of my client being harassed emotionally and psychologically, we'll not allow that," he said.

Adene's arrest was effected in connection with his call to stage a protest in Lagos in November, a continuation of nationwide protests against police brutality that kicked off in early October and culminated in the deadly attack by soldiers on peaceful protesters in the Lekki area of Lagos on October 20.

The crackdown escalated into a breakdown of law and order in Lagos and across the country with many incidents of looting and vandalism recorded, resulting in losses estimated in billions of naira.

Adene was arrested only two days after the Lagos State Police Command announced that it would resist any attempts to stage protests 'either "peaceful" or violent'

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng

Recommended articles

Fashola urges state govts to enact laws on monthly rent payment

Fashola urges state govts to enact laws on monthly rent payment

Nigerian Guild of Editors asks media to stop giving publicity to insurgents

Nigerian Guild of Editors asks media to stop giving publicity to insurgents

NRC suspends train services on Abuja-Kaduna route

NRC suspends train services on Abuja-Kaduna route

NAFDAC seals off pharmaceutical store, sanctions 12 others in Sokoto

NAFDAC seals off pharmaceutical store, sanctions 12 others in Sokoto

27 students, 3 teachers kidnapped from FGC Birnin Yauri 4 months ago regain freedom

27 students, 3 teachers kidnapped from FGC Birnin Yauri 4 months ago regain freedom

Railway corporation MD says vandals, not bandits, attacked Abuja-Kaduna train

Railway corporation MD says vandals, not bandits, attacked Abuja-Kaduna train

NDLEA boss Marwa says legalising marijauna in Nigeria is a debate of money vs life

NDLEA boss Marwa says legalising marijauna in Nigeria is a debate of money vs life

FRSC boss unveils body worn cameras for patrol operations

FRSC boss unveils body worn cameras for patrol operations

NDLEA promotes 3,506 officers after 20-year wait –Marwa

NDLEA promotes 3,506 officers after 20-year wait –Marwa