The police command in Lagos State plans to amend their charges against students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) currently under detention in Kirikiri Prison after the police apparently framed them over last weekend. The authorities at UNILAG had called in the police against students peacefully protesting the university’s latest rustication of a visually impaired student named Lawrence Success.
The police arrested several of the protesting students and filed a number of spurious charges against them, including alleging that the students “riotously invaded [the] premises of the TVC [Television Continental].” However, it quickly became clear that the trumped up charges against the students would collapse when officials of the TV station stated that the so-called invasion of their premises was a lie. According to TVC officials, the students had come in a peaceful and orderly manner to draw the station’s attention to the news that their university had once again harshly punished a virtually blind student.
Despite TVC’s refutation of the police account, the police hurriedly sent the arrested students before a Lagos Mobile Court over the weekend, and the presiding magistrate ordered that the students be remanded in Kirikiri.
Student sources at UNILAG told SaharaReporters that they had learned that university authorities and the police were now working behind the scenes to frame the students on new charges as the TVC has debunked the initial false claim by the police that the students stormed the station in a violent manner.
One of our sources claimed that the police were “re-strategizing with the UNILAG authorities to claim that the students disrupted peace on the campus.” The student sources accused UNILAG's chief security officer, Adams Shehu, of colluding with the police to “invent new charges against students who committed no crimes whatsoever.”
The students alleged that Mr. Adams Shehu has a track record of “abusing [the] rights of students on the campus, including torturing and detaining them before handing them over to the police on false charges,” according to one of the students who spoke anonymously to our correspondent.
The student sources claimed that sympathetic university officials had divulged to them the plan by the administrators and the police to frame up the detained students. They pointed out that the protesting students conducted themselves in an orderly manner throughout their protest.
A police source told SaharaReporters that the detained students would be brought again before the Lagos Mobile Court in Oshodi on Thursday for a bail hearing. He added that any amended charges would be unveiled at that hearing.
Last Saturday, the Lagos police had brought thirteen of the arrested students before the Mobile Court but left Mr. Lawrence, the visually impaired student, at the Panti police station. Mr. Lawrence has accused the police of brutally assaulting him after he asked to be taken along with his colleagues to the court.