Yemi Adamolekun, a frontline Nigerian activist, has narrated how she was attacked by officers of the State Security Service while taking part in a protest for the release of Yele Sowore Tuesday morning.
Ms Adamolekun, director of Enough Is Enough Nigeria, said she was filming the beating of two journalists by SSS operatives when she was violently attacked and her phone smashed, leaving her effectively “phoneless”. The journalists were of The Guardian and Galaxy Television.
“If I thought things were bad, I have a new respect for how bad they have gotten,” Ms Adamolekun said in an email Tuesday afternoon.
The activist said SSS operatives opened live rounds on the protesters, with bullets flying “above people’s heads.”
Ms Adamolekun’s account of her ordeal came as a full picture of how the SSS responded to Nigerians who staged a demonstration outside its headquarters in Abuja to demand Mr Sowore’s release. A similar protest also held in Lagos.
There were claims that the SSS deployed its armed personnel against the protesters to disperse them from conducting a sit-in outside its headquarters in Abuja’s Asokoro neighbourhood. Several protesters and journalists were reportedly injured while scampering for safety as operatives rained teargas on them. No report of gunshot wounds was reported during the fracas.
At the opening of the protest at about 11:30 a.m., one of its organisers, Deji Adeyanju, alleged attempt by SSS to bribe him. He displayed a cash of N1 million which he said was offered to him by SSS agents at gunpoint to force him to shelve the protest today.
A spokesperson for the SSS did not return a request seeking comments about the claim.
Ms Adamolekun vowed to continue pushing for Mr Sowore’s release from custody, which she described as illegal since the Sahara Reporters’ publisher had met bail conditions and a warrant for his release had been signed by a federal judge last week.