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LAGOS: Protest during Buhari’s visit and be arrested, police threatens NBA

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Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, has threatened to arrest and prosecute members of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) over their plan to protest the Lagos State Land Use Charge law on Thursday, same day as the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state.

A statement from the Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos State, Chike Oti, said the attention of the Commissioner of Police had been drawn to the news credited to the Nigeria Bar Association Chairman, Ikeja branch,  Adesina Ogunlana ,that they would use the occasion of the visit of the President to protest the Land Use Charge policy of the Lagos State Government.

The statement said the CP believed strongly that the planned protest by the NBA was the handiwork of mischief makers who were using the NBA to compromise the security in place for the president’s visit.

“It must be recalled that on the 12th of March, 2018, the Lagos State Police Command availed the NBA, Ikeja branch its security assets and escorted them to the Government House, Alausa to protest the increase in the Land Use Charge. At Alausa, they were addressed and afterwards escorted back to their base.

“It is baffling that the same NBA whose right to protest has never been denied to use the auspicious occasion of the President’s visit to protest and disrupt the occasion and by extension compromise the security of the President is to say the least most incomprehensible.

“For the avoidance of doubt, the Lagos State Police Command will not tolerate any protest from the NBA or from any group or individual for that matter during the visit of Mr President whom Lagosians are ready to receive warmly. The NBA and any group wanting to protest at this time are warned to jettison the idea or face dire consequences which may include arrest and prosecution of participants,” the statement warned.

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“It is curious that of all the NBA branches in Lagos, it is only the Ikeja branch that has been using the option of protesters and civil disobedience despite several options available to it, thus, lending credence to the intelligence report that the Chairman of the NBA is a pawn in the hands of some disgruntled politicians. Please be warned,” the statement added.

A report by Premium Times Wednesday had claimed that dozens of armed police officers had laid siege at the secretariat of the Ikeja branch of the Nigerian Bar Association over the body’s decision to stage the protest.

Adeshina Ogunlana, the chairman of Ikeja NBA, had confirmed the development to Premium Times.

“The police have invaded my secretariat, there are about 50 of them who are armed, and they are saying that they don’t want the protest tomorrow.

“And we told them that we are not interested in disrupting the presidential visit, our protest is not going to take place in Ikeja, and that there is no need for any alarm. We are not blocking any route”, Ogunlana was quoted as saying over the phone on Wednesday night.

 

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