By Stanley Onyekwere
No fewer than 40 protesters who were arrested yesterday by a joint security personnel at Unity Fountain, Abuja, for allegedly violating the established Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19 health protocols have regain their freedom, following the intervention of the FCT Administration.
It was gathered that the protesters after their arrest were arraigned before the FCT Mobile Court for prosecution.
However, Magistrate Idayat Akanni, who was to preside over the case had several other cases in other court, and couldn’t sit.
Speaking on behalf of the FCT Ministerial Task Team on COVID-19, comrade Ikharo Attah, admonished the protesters to always conform with all COVID-19 protocols for the good of all.
Attah noted that people can protest and still be alive, and those enforcing the law will do same and be alive.
He revealed that the protesters violated the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 guidelines of social and physical distancing, and most of them were seen without face masks.
According to him: “About 40 of them have all been released and been tasked to always conform with Covid-19 whenever they are out to protest.
“You have the right to association, right to protest , a right to freedom of speech and expression but as you do all of this you must always conform to Covid-19 health protocols.
“The enforcement team went out in our normal routine operation and this time around and we made some arrest of some persons who came to protest; and it is very clear that this is a democratic nation and everyone has the right to protest, to voice out but this must be done within the rules that governed the country
“And one of such rules is to obey the issues of Covid-19 , so they were brought to the Mobil court inline with Covid-19 violations.
“When there is protest, social distancing is very difficult to observe, so when they came to the court, the magistrate had several other cases in other court and couldn’t sit.
“And in our own wisdom, as person’s with listening hears, we talked to them, and it was agreed by all parties that they should go and observed all the laid down Covid-19 protocols before they will be released and they agreed to that do that”, he explained.
Earlier, the General Secretary, United Action for Democracy and a leading member of Take It Back Movement, Comrade Kunle Ajayi said they came out to protest for free functional and standard education and health before they were chased out , beaten and taken to the court.
“We are here to lead the revolution and protest for free functional and standard education at all levels, free functional and advanced healthcare, a very good example is under this Covid-19 pandemic that we are in.
“Hospitals are not working, Doctors are on strike, a lot of things are wrong with the country. We decided to mobilize community by community, street by street for people to come out and tell the government that enough is enough.
“That Nigerians want better education, better healthcare and social welfare and topmost of it all is the issue of security. You cannot continue to do as if the country is a grave yard.
“As it is today in most part of this country, everybody is living without security. And that is why we Wondered , why we legally and constitutionally came to protest at the specific place that is assigned for protest in FCT, which is the Unity Fountain.
“We are in the place, with face mark and we observed social distancing and we came out to protest peacefully but we were chased out of the place not only are we chased out, we were beating out”, he stressed.