Detained activist, Sanyaolu, regains freedom

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Human rights activist and National Coordinator of the Take It Back Movement, Juwon Sanyaolu, has regained his freedom from police custody.

Sanyaolu was released from the Ikeja headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command on Thursday night, two days after his whereabouts became unknown.

 

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Afam Osigwe

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

Chukwuemeka Mbamala

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, has not immediately responded to inquiries but a member of the state chapter of the TIB Movement, Ayoyinka Oni, confirmed his release.

 

In the video shared with our correspondent Oni was seen leaving the police station with the activist. “Solidarity forever!” Sanyaolu was also heard saying.

The publisher of Sahara Reporters and former presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, Omoyele Sowore, condemned Sanyaolu’s arrest in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday.

 

“It is very sad that after 25 years of Nigeria’s return to civilian rule, a bunch of people in the government led by Bola Tinubu – a person who purportedly participated in the quest for democracy; these elements of retrogressive politics have completely destroyed the very fabric and tenets of democracy, particularly, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms!” he said.

 

How the activist got the police custody is still sketchy as the police had earlier noted he was not in their custody.

Civil society groups began calling on the DSS to free the activist following police denial.

 

But Sowore added that he later got information that “he (Sanyaolu) was taken to the Lagos State Police Command” after allegedly being in the custody of the DSS.

 

“They (the DSS) confided in me that Sanyaolu was detained in Lagos and even asked us to send lawyers yesterday (Wednesday) but then claimed their director was not available,” Sowore said.

 

On Thursday, the DSS’ spokesperson, Peter Afunanya, denied the agency’s involvement in the arrest.

 

“Juwon Sanyaolu, the Coordinator of the Take It Back Movement is not with the DSS. He was not invited, arrested or detained by the Service,” Afunanya stated in the chat.

 

On Tuesday night, Sanyaolu raised the alarm about his arrest.

In a distress message sent to our correspondent via WhatsApp, Sanyaolu wrote, “I have been arrested (by the) police.”

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