For leading a peaceful protest to the Kogi State House of Assembly on the 19th of March and the headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission in Abuja demanding fresh governorship election in Kogi State in compliance with the Supreme Court judgment delivered on January 27, 2012 ,the Kogi state police command arrested and detained the leader of the   Association for Justice and Good Governance of Kogi State and Patriotic Elders of Kogi State,Akwu Umar Goodman, last saturday and arraigned him at a magistrate court in Lokoja on monday. When the matter came up for hearing, he was charged for  thuggery before  Magistrate, C.O Oyelude,who in his ruling ordered  that Akwu be remanded  in prison custody till 15  April .

Akwu Umar Goodman at the police station

Akwu Umar Goodman at the police station

Our source gathered that,the men of the Nigerian Police stormed the residence of  the pro-democracy activist in Idah,Kogi state allegedly on the orders of the Kogi Governor,Capt.,Idris Wada at  or about 5am on Saturday, with about three trucks of fully armed mobile policemen, beat him up, shoved his wife and children aside and whisked him away to the police headquarters in lokoja where he was detained all through the weekend.

The presence of the state?s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,Joe Abraham?s at the court sitting stunned many and heightened speculations as to the State Governments desperation to silence the group. But the state government denied such claims through Jacob Edi, the SA Media ?it is totally  untrue that the Governor ordered his  arrest,but for the attorney General to be at magistrate court, shows that he is working?.

The Investigating Police Officer, sergent Olayinka,in a telephone  interview confirmed he arrest and  said ?Akwu will be charged for false publication and illegal procession of classified documents?. Efforts to reach the state police commissioner  Saidu Madaki  as well as the PPRO proved abortive as their lines could not be reached.

At the police station - some of the police officers were sleeping.

At the police station ? some of the police officers were sleeping.

Recall that,the  247Ureports reported how over 200 youth groups stormed the headquarters of INEC a forth night ago demanding for fresh Governorship elections in Kogi state in compliance with the orders of the the Supreme Court. Mr  Akwu,now confined to the prison walls in Koton Karfe , told newsmen on the said date that,  ?in an action calculated to ridicule and rubbish the Supreme Court, Governor Idris Wada procured the services of a Customary Court of Appeal Judge to swear him into office on that same day and was, thereafter, accompanied by heavily armed policemen into the governor?s office in Lokoja.?

He said, ?The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, provides that the swearing-in of state governors (will) be performed by the State Chief Judge or in his absence by the Grand Khadi. The President of the Customary Court of Appeal is not vested with such power. No state governor has ever been sworn into office by the President of the Customary Court of Appeal.?

The protesters, under the aegis of Association for Justice and Good Governance of Kogi State and Patriotic Elders of Kogi State carried placards with various inscriptions which included, ?INEC must conduct fresh election as ordered by Supreme Court?, ?We demand justice and good governance in Kogi?, ?Kogi must be free from illegal hands?,  ?On Supreme Court judgement of 27/01/12 we stand? and ?Wada must go?. 247Ureports can exclusively report that the arrest of Mr Akwu Umar,may not be unconnected to the letter written to the Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, the Attorney General of the Federation,The PDP National Chairman as well as the Inspector General of Police  by the groups? Solicitors,Sule Paul and Co of the Zion Chambers,Abuja.

A copy of the  letter which was exclusively obtained by The Punch  is entitled: RE: THE ILLEGALITY CALLED THE GOVERNMENT OF KOGI STATE UNDER CAPT. IDRIS WADA: A CALL TO VACATE THE CONTRAPTION.

letter inec kogi

The group in a reaction to the arrest and subsequent arraignment,said in a statement signed by Public Relations Officer, Adeyemi Martins,that the right to peaceful protest is not only fundamental, but protected by the different international protocols and conventions of which Nigeria is a signatory to including the dictates of the constitution of Nigeria.

The statement, made available to 247Ureports  reads: ?That the Police could brutalise,arrest and detain our Chairman, Mr Akwu Goodman, for leading a peaceful protest against the desecration of the Nigerian constitution as well as the show of unbridled and arrogant impunity by the PDP and INEC in Kogi State  at this time in our history shows the insensitivity of those at the corridors of power to the sensitivities and demands of the times.

?This is nothing but a callous desecration and arrogant disregard to the spirit and letters of the Nigerian constitution.For avoidance of doubt, disobedience of an order of Court, whether prohibitive or mandatory, whether made ex-parte or upon hearing both parties, interim or perpetual, amounts to contempt, if it is calculated or tends to interfere with the administration of justice, or brings it into disrespect or disregard.?

Gov Wada, the civilian dictator

Gov Wada, the civilian dictator

?So,the right to peaceful protest, Assembly and Speech remains an inalienable right of every Nigerian citizen and groups. This right is not only fundamental, but protected by the different international protocols and conventions of which Nigeria is a signatory to including the dictates of the constitution of Nigeria.It is an ugly and dangerous trend to see these various manifestations of criminal intimidation and harassment of the populace who have suffered so much deprivation in the hands of the government becoming a daily occurrence in our body polity.This, if not checked, immediately would become a habit that is anti-democratic and runs counter to every known principles of freedom and practice of civilian democracy.?

?This would erode democratic culture and enthrone a culture of fear creating a mass of people clearly dissatisfied with the affairs of the state but incapable of contributing towards making it right. A mass of suppressed anger is like a smouldering volcano that can erupt without any warning and may be difficult to contain when it starts consuming everything on its path?,he concluded

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