#EndSARS: Immigration stops promoter from travelling

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One of the promoters of the #EndSARS protest, Modupe Odele, said, on Monday, that the Nigeria Immigration Service prevented her from travelling outside the country.

Odele had been of immense help to protesters who were unjustifiably arrested during the agitation, offering legal advice to them, free of charge.

She worked with hundreds of volunteer lawyers, providing support for peaceful protesters and victims of police brutality.

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She disclosed in a statement on Monday that she was detained on her way out of the country for a needed rest after the #EndSARS protests by immigration officials and her travel document seized.

This, according to her, made her miss her flight.

She indicated that the development was not unconnected with her role during the protests, saying that what she saw on the immigration portal indicated that she was under investigation by some intelligence agency.

The lawyer said, “For my birthday, I had planned a trip to the Maldives. It was really for a break as the events of the last three weeks have exhausted my mind and body in a way I have never been exhausted in my life.

“I went to the airport, passed through immigration, and while I was putting my bags through the body and baggage scanner, the immigration officer who had previously cleared me, called me back. He told me he had orders from above to detain me.

“Okay, at this point I’m like excuse me, my flight is in an hour. On what grounds are you detaining me?” He didn’t respond. Instead, he goes to his computer where he typed in my name and something that looked like a ‘wanted poster’ popped up on the portal.

“He blocked my view so I couldn’t see most of it but I saw some of it. And it read something like – ‘This person is under investigation by XYZ Intelligence Agency. If seen, they should be apprehended on sight.’”

She added, “Since the #EndSARS peaceful protests started in Nigeria about three weeks ago, I and some super courageous women have been providing support to Nigerians as they came out to peacefully exercise their constitutional rights.

“I was specifically in charge of legal aid and so co-led www.endsarslegalaid.co where we succeeded in helping over 80 peaceful protesters who were arrested get released. It was back-breaking and emotionally tasking work but the joy that the family expressed when being reunited with loved ones made it all worth it.

“I’m not a full-time activist or human rights attorney. I am a corporate lawyer at the moment so dealing with police stations isn’t my area of expertise. I did what needed to be done in the face of gross injustice and had the support of over 800 wonderful volunteer lawyers.”

Nigerians have continued to react to Odele’s ordeal, urging the Federal Government not to trigger another round of agitation by harassing promoters of the #EndSARS protests.

According to many of those who reacted, hoodlums hijacked the peaceful protests, as no genuine protester was involved in looting and vandalism.

An official of the Nigeria Immigration Service, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, said it was in order for the Federal Government to investigate promoters of the protest, considering the loss of lives and level of destruction that followed it.

Efforts to get official reaction were not successful as of the time of filing this report.

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