Nicholas Mbah, an up-and-coming artiste, is languishing in Kikiri Prison, following his involvement in the Lagos leg of last year’s wide-ranging #EndSARS protests.
Nicholas had joined hundreds of Nigerian youth in calling for an end to police brutality, but he has lost is freedom since late October for exercising his fundamental human rights.
On October 29, 2020, he was arrested by officials of the Lagos States Task Force in the Ojo area of Lagos. He had gone to withdraw money from a bank when someone pointed at him that he was one of the #EndSARS protesters. His appearance in dreadlocks did not aid his cause any further.
Mbah was whisked to Ojo Police Station and was accused of participating in he #EndSARS protests that led to the attacks on police stations in the area.
The #EndSARS protests were hijacked by hoodlums, who attacked several police stations in Lagos and other states, in the name of fighting against police brutality.
On the day Nicholas was arrested, a tricycle rider, Ugwumba Chimezie, was also nabbed and taken to the same Ojo Police Station.
A chatty Chimezie had told the passengers in his tricycle that some hoodlums were planning to burn some police stations in the area. Unknown to him, a policeman was in the tricycle listening to the conversation. When they got to their destination, the policeman arrested him, accusing him of being connected to the hoodlums who attacked police stations.
However, both Nicholas and Chimezie were later taken to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, Yaba, Lagos State, for further prosecution.
According to a suit presented before the Magistrate Court of Lagos State, the duo were accused of conspiring with others to commit felony and were “charged with armed robbery, arson and rioting”. They were also accused of setting on fire “two police patrol vehicles at Ojo Police Station valued N20million”.
SICK BUT LANGUISHING IN JAIL
Since Nicholas was remanded in prison in November 2020, he has fallen sick on several occasions but hasn’t been given proper medical attention. According to Orji Ama Onu, the human rights lawyer defending him, he has been battling some health complications since undergoing a surgery back in 2018.
A letter dated November 25, 2020 and addressed to the Comptroller General of the Medium Security Prison, Kirikiri, Lagos, stated that Mbah, before his detention, “was suffering from hemorrhagic complication” — a condition that has only worsened in detention.
“He’s very sick and he has not been given medical attention,” he said, noting that he had filed an affidavit of urgency to get Mba bailed due to his health condition but his request hasn’t been granted.
Expressing fears that justice might be delayed, the lawyer frowned at how the court had kept adjourning the case despite Nicholas’ deteriorating health condition.
Cardoso Yetunde, the O/C Legal of the Lagos State Police Command, did not respond to multiple calls from our reporter, when contacted for comments on this case. And Adejobi Olumuyiwa, Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, rejected FIJ’s call to his line, after initial atttempts rang out without answer.
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