MUSICIANS Davido and Burna Boy look set to be the targets of government persecution over the coming weeks after the police obtained a court order authorising them to investigate their contributions to the recent #EndSARS protests.
Following a month-long nationwide protest against the brutality of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (Sars) police unit, the Nigerian government came under intense criticism. After being forced to scrap Sars, the government decided to end the protests forcefully, sending soldiers to shoot innocent protesters at the Lekki Toll Gate, leading to international condemnation and sparking nationwide riots.
Reeling from the bloody nose it got during the protests, the federal government has since ordered a clampdown on protesters and announced plans to restrict the use of social media across Nigeria. In addition, the Nigerian authorities are freezing the bank accounts of #EndSARS protesters, restricting their movement and mounting a serious witch-hunt against them.
Upping the ante, the government has now got a chief magistrates court in Abuja to authorise the Federal Capital Territory police commissioner to start an investigation into 50 notable persons who promoted the #EndSARS movement. Those listed as defendants include the senior pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, Sam Adeyemi; musician Damini Ogulu also known as Burna Boy, David Adeleke otherwise known as Davido; Folarin Falana popularly known as Falz and social media comedians Debo Adebayo , alias Mr Macaroni and Maryam Apaokagi also known as Taoma.
Magistrate Omolola Akindele authorised the investigations following a criminal complaint filed by one Kenechukwu Okeke. Mr Okeke claimed that during the demonstration, his properties were destroyed and the defendants who promoted the #EndSARS protests must be brought to justice.
In her ruling, the magistrate gave the police two weeks to investigate the matter and send a report for proper resolution. Other musicians sued include Peter and Paul Okoye, Innocent Idibia aka Tuface, Bankole Wellington popularly known as Banky W, Tiwa Savage, Michael Ajereh aka Don Jazzy, Ayo Balogun aka Wizkid; and Yemi Alade.
Apart from musicians, others listed as defendants include activist Aisha Yesufu; ex-Super Eagles star Kanu Nwankwo; a former director-general of the Bureau for Public Sector Reform Dr Joe Abah and journalist Kiki Mordi. Also included were actors Yul Edochie and Uche Jombo, social media influencers Feyikemi Abudu, Olorunrinu Oduala, Pamilerin Adegoke, Japhet Omojuwa, Ayo Sogunro and Deji Adeyanju, as well as activist Tope Akinyode.
In his supporting affidavit, Mr Okeke said the defendants played active roles in the #EndSARS protest which later became violent. Already, the federal government has used the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the bank accounts of some of the activists.