Shortly after a street protest in which demonstrators reiterated their call for the new Lagos State traffic law to be reversed, the police today arrested members of the Joint Action Front [JAF], the union which led the action.
It was a strange twist in the day’s activities because the policemen had been with the protesters during a similar protest on Monday, with no incidents, only to turn around and arrest the leaders of JAF today after the group successfully staged a peaceful protest.
The arrest, glaringly an after-thought, was ordered by DCP Tunde Sobulo, who was physically with the protesters in the short distance marched from the NLC building towards Ojuelegba bus terminal. In that period, he agreed that the demonstrators had a right to protest, warning only against any violence. Making the arrests, Mr. Sobulo curiously said that they lacked the right to embark on the protest.
Among those in police custody is the chairman of JAF, Dr. Dipo Fashina, and its Secretary, Comrade Abiodun Aremu. Members of JAF arrested along with them include Hassan Taiwo Soweto, Segun Oladunni and Usman Oloyede.
The arrested protest organizers are currently being detained at the Lagos Police Command in Ikeja. A text message from JAF’s General secretary states as follows: "What exactly happend was that we had a successful procession & rallies and I was driving out of Olajuwon St Yaba by NLC headquarters in my car with four other occupants when about 5 bus loads armed police forced Dr. Fashina & Usman Oloyede out of my car to a police bus and 2 policemen entered my car and forced us to drive to their police command. We were never arrested at the protest venue. The national Human Rghts Commission lawyers are here with us already". -Comrade Abiodun Aremu, JAF Sec