Activist Deji Adeyanju released from prison, re-arrested over ‘Buratai petition’

Deji Adeyanju, a political activist who was arrested by the Nigerian police on November 28, was released from a federal prison in Keffi on Monday — but was re-arrested by a police team which had laid a siege around the correctional facility, his associates have told PREMIUM TIMES.

“He was released on Monday afternoon after we met his bail conditions,” Ariyo-Dare Atoye, his long-time associate, told PREMIUM TIMES Monday night. “We are now aware that they are plotting to charge him on allegations of aiding terrorism on social media.”

Mr Atoye identified the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, as the author of the petition, but PREMIUM TIMES could not independently corroborate this as of 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Mr Adeyanju was leading a protest against partisan conduct of top security chiefs ahead of Nigeria’s general election next February when he was arrested.

Before the November 28 protest that dispersed with his arrest by a police team, Mr Adeyanju had led demonstrations outside major foreign diplomatic missions in Abuja, saying in his complaints that Nigeria’s future could be on the brink should security chiefs be allowed to continue in their current partisan posturing.

The police denied Mr Adeyanju’s allegations that they were working to ensure the reelection President Muhammadu Buhari, even if it involves upturning the will of the majority through rigging of ballots.

They arraigned him late Monday afternoon before Karshi Chief Magistrate’s Court on the outskirts of the nation’s capital, alongside two others who were said to have taken part in the protest.

Daniel Abobama and Boma Williams were released from Keffi Prison on Monday afternoon, hours before Mr Adeyanju regained his temporary freedom from the same facility.

Following his re-arrest, Mr Adeyanju was moved to the Abuja police command headquarters, Mr Atoye said, amidst uncertainties over his fate.

“We are expecting him to either be arraigned tomorrow, be released on administrative bail or be kept in perpetual custody under the pretext of continuous investigation,” Mr Atoye said. “This does not bode well for our democracy.”

Abuja police commissioner Bala Ciroma told PREMIUM TIMES he could not immediately comment on Mr Adeyanju’s matter, but said a police spokesperson would be detailed to issue a statement on it later.

A spokesperson for the Nigerian Army did not return requests for comments about the petition from Mr Buratai.

Mr Adeyanju’s detention has continued to draw stern condemnation from rights groups and individuals, and many Nigerians also see it as a descent into brazen abuse of power reminiscent of the dark days of military dictatorship.

Foremost rights group, Amnesty International, said Mr Adeyanju has a right to protest, especially in a constitutional republic like Nigeria, warning that his continued incarceration could further deteriorate Nigeria’s appalling human rights records.


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