An activist who led the #EndSARS protest against police brutality in Ekiti State, Olowoyo Moyinoluwa has accused the state police command of intimation and defamation of character.
The spokesperson for the Ekiti police command, Sunday Abutu had in a statement described the activist as an unrepentant cultist and suspected criminal for leading a protest against the arrest of the president of popular Fayose market, Babatunde Owa by the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) unit.
“Due to the arrest and prosecution of their gang leader, one OLOWOYO MOYINOLUWA who has been arrested twice in the past by the operatives of the RRS for the offense of robbery, taken to court but later released, led the gang to mischievously and maliciously protest against the Command’s Rapid Response Squad (RRS),” Abutu had said in the statement.
“It is also on record that OLOWOYO MOYINOLUWA was arrested sometime in 2020 by the Command for specializing in receiving stolen properties, charged to court but was later released.
“The same OLOWOYO MOYINOLUWA was arrested on 10/04/2021 for initiating and spreading fake story against the Command’s Rapid Response Squad (RRS). After his confessional statement, he was granted bail as a result of the nationwide strike embarked upon by the Judicial Staff. He has gone into hiding since then to escape being prosecuted.
“It would also be recalled that OLOWOYO MOYINOLUWA led his gang during ENDSARS to stone the convoy of his Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ekiti, DR JOHN KAYODE FAYEMI. He was arrested but later cautioned and released on bail.
“From the above scenarios, it is obvious that OLOWOYO MOYINOLUWA specializes in sponsoring adverse information and actions that are aimed at denting the image of the Nigeria Police Force, especially the operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) as demonstrated in the latest protest video," it reads.
Reacting, Moyinoluwa described the police statement as an assault on his name and a move to blackmail him and distort the facts of the events of the 9th of March, 2022.
He said, “On that fateful day, there was a riot at Fayose market and the president of the market called the police for peace to be restored. But before the arrival of the police, those who caused the riot had left but the police came around and started arresting customers patronizing Fayose market randomly.
“This made the president of the market intervene that police shouldn't arrest innocent customers, reiterating that the reason he called the police was because of those causing violence earlier. But the police did not listen, and they started harassing guys with cars parked innocently.
“The market president was so furious with the police that he did not call them to come and arrest innocent customers. Then the police left and came back again some hours after to arrest the market president that he did not allow them to carry out their operation. We got to know that such an order was from one Marcus Ogundola of Rapid Respond Squad, Ekiti state because he used to say that Fayose market people don’t give him gifts.
“Our president was arrested and detained on that 9/3/2022 and was charged to court on the 10th March (10/03/2022) with charges of conduct likely to breach of peace. He was granted bail at the magistrate court the same day. Then I now said we must protest against such unjust arrest and detention because we can’t open our eyes and a police officer would be harassing and molesting us because he’s a governor’s errand boy.
“So, with the mandate of the marketers, we had a very peaceful protest against police brutality and harassment. This is the only "crime" I allegedly committed so far. I will like to put the police on notice that we are all equal before the law. I have asked my lawyer to start legal approaches towards the scandalous publications against my person by the Police Command's statements posted by one RoundOff News.
“I will also like to let the police know that Ekiti people cannot be cowed through state thuggery or violence. We as law-abiding citizens have the right to democracy and free speech. People have the right to protest as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution.
“I, therefore, ask the Police Command in Ekiti to retract their threats and publications that target the maligning of my name and character. I am a public person and I believe that people must know that all that is being done to criminalize me is only meant to blackmail and also attempt to keep the people enslaved and cowed so as not to critically pursue our social and democratic rights and obligations!
“By this piece, I am putting all state, national, and global human rights groups on notice that should anything happen to me and my family and comrades; ASP Marcus Ogundola and the Ekiti State RRS and Police Command should be held responsible.”