Modupe Odele: Why Nigerian government blocked EndSARS hot shot from travelling abroad

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) on Monday blocked EndSARS strategist and fundraiser Modupe Chizoba Odele from leaving the country.

NIS officers did not say why they prevented Odele from travelling but observers believe the move was not unconnected from Odele’s participation in the EndSARS protests against police brutality.

The lawyer thought the same and told Nigerians to trend #FreeMoeSexy should the government decide to arrest her. The hashtag is already trending on Twitter.

The Muhammadu Buhari government is also reportedly compiling a list of prominent EndSARS protesters it would ban from travelling abroad. The no-fly tactic is usually deployed against terrorists and perpetrators of other crimes against humanity.

Odele, had through her Twitter handle, @Mochievous, mobilised her 219,000 followers during the EndSARS protests, Punch reported.

She had also offered free legal aid to persons who were unjustly arrested during the demonstrations.

Confirming the development in a newsletter sent out on Monday, the lawyer said she was on her way to the Maldives to celebrate her birthday when she was accosted by immigration officers.

She wrote, “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.’”

Odele said she was detained while her passport was seized by the officers and she was made to miss her flight.

The lawyer said that she had been able to identify the security agency that put her on the watch list, adding that she would be returning there on Tuesday.

Odele wrote, “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.”

Odele stated that she had begun providing pro bono lawyers to victims of police brutality who wish to file petitions before the Judicial Panels set up by states across the country to investigate alleged incidences of police brutality.

NIS spokesperson Sunday James said he could not confirm the development yet and asked for more time.

Via
Punch

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