Immigration stops #EndSARS promoter from leaving Nigeria

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The Nigeria Immigration Service on Monday stopped one of the promoters of the #EndSARS campaign, Modupe Odele, from travelling out of the country.

Moreover, the officers who prevented the rights activist from travelling did not reveal the actual reason for their action. It is alleged that the action by NIS was taken based on her role in the #EndSARS protests.

Modupe Odele during the #Endsars movement used her Twitter handle, @Mochievous, to mobilise her 219,000 followers during the protests.

She also offered free legal aid to persons who were illegally arrested during the protests.

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 stopped by immigration officers.

She 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.’”

Odele Modupe further noted that 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 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.

When Nigeria Immigration Service Spokesman, Sunday James was contacted, he couldn’t confirm the development but asked for more time.

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