EndSARS Detainee Wasiu Alleges Frame up, Claims AK 47 Rifle and Cartridges Planted by Police After Being Found on Another Man

In a continuation of the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests that rocked the nation three years ago, Rasheed Bolaji Wasiu, one of the detained protesters, was on Tuesday arraigned in the Lagos State High Court at Tafa Balewa Square for allegedly possessing firearms.

Wasiu, who claims he has been wrongfully imprisoned for over three years, is accused of possessing an AK47 rifle and four cartridges, charges he vehemently denies, alleging that the weapon was planted on him by the police after being discovered in the possession of another man.

Rasheed Bolaji Wasiu, who has languished in the dreary confines of the Kirikiri Medium Security Prison in Lagos since his arrest during the #EndSARS protests in 2020, appeared before Justice Yetunde Adesanya in the Lagos State High Court.

On behalf of the state, Tola Anyabisi, the prosecution counsel, laid out the government’s case against Rasheed Bolaji Wasiu, detailing the alleged evidence found in his possession. Anyabisi claimed that Wasiu was found with a locally made pistol gun, an AK47 rifle, and four live cartridges, arguing that the circumstances under which they were discovered indicated Wasiu’s intent to allegedly commit armed robbery.

As the charge was read to Rasheed Bolaji Wasiu, the defendant appeared uncertain and hesitant. His lawyer, Adesina Ogunlana, intervened and informed the court that his client was struggling to understand the proceedings as he did not speak English fluently. He requested that the charge be interpreted in Yoruba, Wasiu’s native language, so he could properly comprehend and respond to the allegations against him.

Ogunlana said, “Just before the case was called for his arraignment, I spoke with him and he didn’t even understand Yoruba very well until his mates now interpreted it to him in the same Yoruba.

“I asked him how many times he had been brought to court, he didn’t understand what I said. He has been in detention for four years in the wake of #EndSARS.”

After Justice Adesanya granted the request for an interpretation of the charge in Yoruba, the proceedings resumed. When the allegations were finally relayed to him in his native language, Rasheed Bolaji Wasiu was quick to respond, firmly asserting his innocence in Yoruba. He claimed that the AK47 rifle and the four cartridges were, in fact, found on another individual named Richard Ejiofor, and that the authorities were falsely framing him for the crime.

“Richard Ejiofor was the one that they got all these things from but they now framed it on me,” he said.

In light of Wasiu’s plea of innocence, Justice Adesanya confirmed his understanding of Wasiu’s stance as being “not guilty”, to which he responded in the affirmative. With the court satisfied that the defendant had properly understood the charges and entered his plea, Justice Adesanya then set a date for the commencement of the trial. The case was adjourned until June 24 and 25, when the full proceedings would begin and further details about the alleged crimes would be examined.

Amnesty International recently released a report accusing the Nigerian government of attempting to cover up their brutal crackdown on peaceful #EndSARS protesters by concocting false charges. The rights group alleged that the Nigerian military and police killed at least 12 demonstrators at Lekki toll gate and Alausa in Lagos State, using lethal force against the peaceful protestors. Moreover, Amnesty International uncovered evidence suggesting that pro-government armed groups instigated violence at several demonstrations around the country, purportedly to justify the use of force by the police.

“Rather than bringing those responsible for the attacks on protesters to justice, the authorities have engaged in a series of bizarre denials and cover-ups,” Amnesty International said.


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