Over 100 women activists under the auspices of #NigerianWomenArise of the Feminist Womanifesto Group, on Wednesday, deplored the alleged harassment of #EndSARS movement activists.
The group specifically condemned the seizure of International passport of Module Chizoba Odele, a Nigerian Attorney and the co-lead of ENDSARSLegal, an initiative which provided free legal aid to #EndSARS protesters.
Daily Trust reports that Odele had, on Wednesday, confirmed the seizure of her passport.
On her verified Twitter handle, @Mochievous, where she wrote, “Hello people, I went to retrieve my passport today but was told this: “We cannot release your passport because you are still under investigation”.
“As of now, I’m not aware of any charges against me or what I am under investigation for,” she said.
Spokesman of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Mr. Sunday James, who was contacted did not respond to our correspondent’s enquiry.
But in a statement jointly endorsed by the activists issued on Wednesday, they urged the federal government to protect the freedom and rights of all citizens, including Ms. Odele.
“We strongly condemn the actions of the Immigration Service, the Nigerian State Security Service (SSS) and by extension the Nigerian government in confiscating the passport of Ms. Odele,” the activists said.
They pointed out that as a Nigerian citizen, Section 41 of the Constitution guarantees Ms. Odele the right to move freely in and out of Nigeria.
“Thus, any restriction of her movement is illegal and wholly unconstitutional.
“Section 5 of the Passport Act 1985 gives the Minister of Interior the power to cancel or withdraw a passport.
“The section also states clearly, the conditions for such a withdrawal,” the statement added.
The group further deplored “in the strongest terms, all acts of mental, emotional or physical intimation towards any member of the Feminist Coalition for exercising their right to peaceful protest, as accorded to every Nigerian under Section 40 of the Nigerian constitution.”
They noted that unless the Minister was furnished with confidential information not available in the public space, there was no
legal reason(s) why Ms. Odele’s passport should be confiscated.
The statement read further: “We believe that Ms. Odele and others are being targeted for the role they played during the #ENDSARS protest.
“We want to remind the government of Nigeria that we are in a democratic system.
“Citizens’ right to express themselves through peaceful protest is enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We also use this opportunity to applaud the valorous actions of DJ Switch on the tragic Tuesday night: ‘Black Tuesday.’
“Further, we commend the rest of the brave young men and women of the Feminist Coalition for their courage and inspiration.
“Our growing trepidation is further exacerbated by news that DJ Switch – Obianuju Catherine Udeh – is now believed to have been forced into hiding like a fugitive.
“We are hereby highlighting our increased concern for the safety of all members of the Feminist Coalition.
“We demand that the Nigerian government put a stop to the harassment of the members of the Feminist Coalition, DJ Switch, and all the peaceful #ENDSARS protesters.”