Court grants bail to journalist, 5 other #EndSARS protesters arrested in Abuja

Bail is set at N50,000 per defendant, with each expected to present one surety.

Oluwatosin Adeniji, a journalist, was arrested alongside five other peaceful protesters on Friday, November 6, 2020 [Sahara Reporters]

A Magistrates' Court in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja has granted bail to six people who were arrested during a protest against police brutality last week.

Paul Akinwunmi, Davo Chomo, Abdulsalam Suberu, Kabiru Gazali, Yaziru Bashiru, and Oluwatosin Adeniji, a citizen journalist, were arrested by the police during a peaceful demonstration at the National Assembly complex in the capital city on Friday, November 6, 2020.

The six were accused by authorities of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly, public nuisance, and inciting public disturbance.

The court on Friday rejected an oral application for bail from the defendants' counsel, Tope Akinyode, and remanded them in custody, sparking public condemnation.

After the submission of a written bail request, as demanded by the court, Chief Magistrate, Abdulrazak Eneye, granted bail to the defendants on Wednesday, November 11.

The magistrate set bail at N50,000 per defendant, with each expected to present one surety.

The trial will commence on January 25, 2021.

Hundreds of Nigerians had peacefully protested in many states across the country in October to demand an end to years of wanton police brutality.

The government's call to dialogue with the protesters didn't get much audience, leading to a crackdown that culminated in the attack by soldiers on peaceful protesters in Lagos on October 20.

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

The devastation has strengthened the government's resolve to disallow any form of peaceful assembly guaranteed by the constitution.

Eromosele Adene was arrested in Lagos on Saturday, November 3, hours before a planned protest in Lagos.

The Lagos State Police Command had warned prior to the arrest that it would resist any demonstrations in the state, even if it is a peaceful assembly.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also secured a court order to freeze the bank accounts of 20 #EndSARS campaigners due to suspected terrorism financing.

The victims of the freeze had raised or received funds to bankroll sustenance, medical emergencies, and legal aid for the protesters.

Modupe Odele, a lawyer who had coordinated free legal aid nationwide for protesters arrested by the police, was also disallowed by immigrations from travelling out of the country last week.

She was told she was being investigated with no clear details of what exactly she did to be barred from travelling.

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