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Alleged Rifle Possession Results in Arraignment of #EndSARS Protester



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A protester from the #EndSARS movement, Rasheed Bolaji Wasiu, has been brought before the Lagos State High Court at the Tafa Balewa Square for purportedly being in possession of firearms, three years after the protests took place. Wasiu, who has been detained in Kirikiri Medium Security Prison in Lagos since 2020, appeared before Justice Yetunde Adesanya.

The charge brought against him by the Lagos State Government is related to possession of firearms. The state’s prosecutor, Tola Anyabisi, informed the court that Wasiu was found with a locally made pistol gun, AK47 rifle, and four live cartridges.

Anyabisi alleged that the circumstances surrounding the firearms discovered with Wasiu suggested an intent to use them for armed robbery. The prosecutor also mentioned that Wasiu was allegedly involved with another person who is currently at large.

The incident in question reportedly occurred between October 20 and 21, 2020, in the Suru Alaba and Mile 2 Garage areas of Lagos, contravening Section 298 (3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

During the proceedings, Wasiu expressed a lack of understanding when asked to enter a plea. His counsel, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, requested that the charge be explained to him in Yoruba as Wasiu was not fluent in English. Ogunlana emphasized that Wasiu had spent four years in detention following the #EndSARS events.

After the charge was interpreted to Wasiu in Yoruba, he claimed that the AK47 rifle and cartridges were actually found in possession of someone else, Richard Ejiofor, and not him.

Wasiu pleaded not guilty when asked by Justice Adesanya. The trial was scheduled to commence on June 24 and 25.

Amnesty International recently criticized Nigerian authorities for allegedly fabricating charges, including possession of unlawful firearms, against #EndSARS protesters to justify their continued detention. The group claimed that the authorities had attempted to cover up acts of violence against protesters rather than holding those responsible accountable.