A Human Right and Constitutional Lawyer in Rivers state, Angus Chukwuka, has condemned the unlawful arrest of Pharmacists and Journalists carrying out essential duties in Port Harcourt and Obio Akpor local government areas by the police.
Chukwuka called for the immediate release of essential services providers in Police detention in Rivers State as a result of the lockdown.
He emphasized that such actions by security personnel are a violation of the right of workers rendering essential services to the public in the period of total lockdown in the two local government areas.
“Journalists and Pharmacists have been complaining of a violation of their right even though they are categorized as essential services providers, not being allowed to exercise their right is highly condemnable.
“It is a bridge of the rules of essential services provision exception, their arrest and detention is an effrontery against the law.
“I call on the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State to immediately release all people who fall under the essential services category currently in their custody without further delay.
“The lockdown is not an opportunity to bridge constitutional provisions or to violate the constitutional right of citizenry with impunity.
“A client of mine, a Pharmacist while carrying out his essential service and after identifying himself to the security officers, was arrested and he is currently been detained in Mgbuoba Police station in Obio Akpor local government area of the state.
“As his lawyer, I am stuck, I cannot go, because lawyers have not been categorized as essential services providers”
Barrister Chukwuka further called on the government to include legal services on the essential service list in the period of lockdown.
“Every decent society exists upon the rule of law and every society is founded on the rule of law. Nigeria’s democracy cannot be an exception, so long as the government has pronounced a lockdown order and has expressed an intention to arrest, detain, and punish defaulters of lockdown orders.
“Any person arrested must be submitted to the judiciary process, lockdown is not an excuse to circumvent the judiciary process. Such people are entitled to lawyers of their choice to represent them to ascertain whether they are guilty or not.
“We are no longer in the jungle era, the government and security agencies must not be seen violating section 36 of the 1999 constitution which provides access for justice and choice of lawyer, in the disguise of implementing lockdown orders.