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22.12.2021 news After 14 Months in Jail, Beninese Detained Over #EndSARS Protest Regains Freedom

Published 22nd Dec, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

For 14 months, Robert Kpanou, a Benin Republic national, languished in the Kirikiri correctional facility in Lagos.

Kpanou was accused of joining Nigerians to demand a disbandment of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), and was locked up with convicted criminals on October 22, 2020.

On Tuesday, he regained freedom after a magistrate in the Ogba area of Lagos struck out his case for lack of merit. He is now receiving medical attention in hopes of regaining his once graceful self.

Although the matter had been struck out since Friday last week, he was not set free until Tuesday with the help of Festus Ogun, his legal representative.

READ ALSO: 9 Months After Arrest Over #EndSARS Protest, Sunday Okoro Remains in Kirikiri Prison

Sebastine, his brother, told FIJ that Robert neither participated in the 2020 #EndSARS protest nor caused any damage to property as hoodlums did, but was returning from work on that fateful day when he was stopped by policemen in the Lekki Tollgate area.

“He was a tiler. That day, he took a bike from CMS, because he was going to Agbara. When he got to the tollgate, police told him to stop,” Sebastine told FIJ. “He came down from the bike and that was how they arrested him.”

READ ALSO: More Misery for #EndSARS Prisoners as Judiciary Workers’ Strike Lingers

He said they both came into Nigeria in 2010, and had been working as tilers since then.

Robert was not the only innocent Nigerian arrested during and after the #EndSARS protest in 2020. Over 300 Nigerians were incarcerated. While some have regained freedom, others continue to await justice.

Published 22nd Dec, 2021

By Daniel Ojukwu

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