Human RightsNews

#EndSARS Meeting At Fela’s Shrine Not Welcome, Will Sabotage Peace ㅡ Police Warn

Lagos Police Command has warned the management of New Afrika Shrine, where the annual Felabration music festival is held, against hosting a meeting on the EndSARS movement, citing possible security risks.

Tagged “Mass Meeting of a Movement of the People: End SARS Movement: Lessons and Tasks,” the event was scheduled for today, November 17. The organisations invited to participate included the Nigerian Resistance Movement, Socialist Vanguard Tendency, Democratic Socialist Movement, Joint Action Front, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, and a host of others.

In a letter signed by the Lagos State Police Commissioner and dated Monday, the command, however, described the meeting as unwelcome.

The letter said the recent EndSARS demonstrations ended up being “violent, causing multifarious destruction, looting, and burning down of government and private properties within the borders of the state as well as causing deaths and injuries to both security agent [sic] and innocent law-abiding citizens”.

Because of this, the police said, the planned gathering “is not welcome at this perilous time when the security of the nation is trying to find her feet to stabilise all threats to life and properties”.

“You are hereby warned to suspend such gathering as any infraction that may emerge from this gathering will be tagged a deliberate action to sabotage the transition and restoration of the peace in Lagos State by the Lagos State Government and the Nigeria Police Force,” the letter concluded.

The convener of the meeting, Seun Anikulapo Kuti, however, says there is no going back.

“Yesterday, the government called my eldest sister, Yeni Anikalpo Kuti, and threatened to close the shrine if I hold my event there tomorrow and also sent a letter to back it up,” said Seun, one of the sons of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the late Afrobeat legend.

 “I respect my families’ decision not to hold the event as is but I will still go ahead with all the other organisations to launch THE MOVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE tomorrow and start our political resistance to the tyranny of this oppressive regime,” he insisted in a series of tweets.

“This is a meeting, just a meeting of organisations and they are basically banning the right of association. Why are they afraid of the people organising? What is democratic about this act? The last time we tried to launch the government quickly called curfew and this time they have used threat but you can’t stop the will of the people.”

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'Kunle Adebajo

Head of Investigations at HumAngle. ‘Kunle covers conflict alongside its many intricacies and fallouts. He also writes about disinformation, the environment, and human rights. He's won a couple of journalism awards, including the 2021 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, the 2022 African Fact-checking Award, and the 2023 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.

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