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#FreeJuwon Protesters

12.06.2024 Featured #FreeJuwon: CSOs Demand Release of Lagos Protest Coordinator Arrested by the Police

Published 12th Jun, 2024

By Daniel Ojukwu

The civil societies protesting in Lagos are demanding the immediate release of Sanyaolu Juwon, the national coordinator of the Take It Back (TIB) movement, who was arrested on Tuesday night.

The TIB movement is a Lagos-based human rights organisation. The protesters, chanting “Sanwo-Olu, Free Juwon”, “Tinubu, Free Juwon”, and “Free Juwon Now”, among others, have said the protest will continue until Juwon is released.

FIJ is aware that the civil society organisations earlier announced the plan to hold a nationwide protest on Wednesday to commemorate Democracy Day and kick against the economic hardship in the country.

Juwon is one of the coordinators of the protest. FIJ gathered that the police arrested him in his home in Lagos around 10:15 pm on Tuesday, the eve of the planned nationwide protest.

Although he swiftly notified his colleagues of his arrest via a WhatsApp group that night, no one knows which police station he was taken to.

Juwon Sanyaolu
Juwon Sanyaolu

READ ALSO: VIDEOS: Show of Force by Police as Civil Societies Protest in Lagos

Speaking on Juwon’s unknown whereabouts, Ayinde Olawale, the deputy chairman of the Lagos chapter of the African Action Congress (AAC), said, “They kidnapped him yesterday evening. Up till now, we don’t know his whereabouts. He chatted with us on our platform yesterday that he had been arrested.

“The police said it was the national force that picked him up, that it was not Lagos. He is one of us. He did not plan a coup. He did not plan to attack the state or the country. It is a peaceful protest that we are doing. Is it a crime that he’s part of the organisers of the protest?”

Hassan Taiwo Soweto, the coordinator of Education Rights Campaign, also revealed during the protest march that an agent of the Department of State Services (DSS) attempted to lure him to his arrest on Tuesday.

“Around 12.30 pm yesterday (Tuesday), I myself received a phone call from a DSS agent pretending to be a friend. She was a lady. And she thought that by calling me and asking to see me, I was going to rush out to see her, but she was actually trying to lure me out in order to arrest me. The same yesterday, Lagos policemen laid siege on the venue of our press conference at the International Press Centre (IPC), that they had their invitation to clamp down on us.”

S.O. Kuti, the deputy police public relations officer in the state, who was present on the protest ground, told our reporter that the Lagos police command was not aware of Juwon’s arrest.

He also said there was nothing the command could do about it at the moment but they were going to coordinate and find out about Juwon’s arrest after the protest was over.

He also said he learned of the arrest at the protest ground and added that he could not ascertain the unit that might have arrested him.

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Published 12th Jun, 2024

By Daniel Ojukwu

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