The Federal Government has reacted to a reported alleged the existence of a no-fly list generated against leaders of #EndSARS protests.
An online news medium, Peoples Gazette, in an exclusive story reported that the President Muhammadu Buhari led federal government is compiling the said list, a move it said was targeted at promoters of the movement demanding the disbandment of the now scrapped Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
It quoted security sources at the State Security Services (SSS) as saying the Interior Ministry led by Rauf Aregbesola, which the immigration is domiciled under has requested from it a profile of the protest leaders.
“We told the ministry that we have not started compiling a list of the protesters because we did not get a presidential directive to do so as of that time,” an unnamed official of the secret police was quoted as saying.
“But the ministry went on on its own to start collating a list for enforcement,” the source added.
Another source who craved anonymity admitted knowing some individuals already penciled down for inclusion.
“I know six people have been prevented from travelling to Europe and Dubai because of the troubles they put the government through with their campaign against security workers,” the second source said.
“The immigration people are already doing their own work, but we have not received any list from the headquarters,” it added.
In its reaction, the Interior Ministry, described the report as fake news.
“The Ministry of Interior did not, has not and will not generate any no-fly list,” it said on Twitter, adding, “Ignore fake news please!”
The Ministry of Interior did not, has not and will not generate any no-fly list.
Ignore fake news please! pic.twitter.com/zR65TK1uiG
— Ministry of Interior (@MinOfInteriorNG) November 3, 2020
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Immigration Service has prevented Modupe Odele, a lawyer, who volunteered her services to help free peaceful protesters detained by law enforcement agents from leaving the country.
In a newsletter she sent out on Monday, the Columbia University graduate detailed how she had gone to the airport to take a flight to the Maldives for her birthday but was detained.
Her account was published by Punch Newspapers.
“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,” the legal practitioner wrote.
“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.
“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,” she added.