SAN FRANCISCO, December 06, (THEWILL) – The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has decried the arrest of Moses Motoni, Project Tracking Officer of BudgIT, Nigeria’s civic tech organisation, who was arrested by operatives of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).
Motoni was arrested was arrested in Kaduna State by some unidentified SARS personnel who disguised as delivery men from DHL Nigeria a day after Nigeria’s Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris ordered the immediate reorganisation of SARS across the country following social media outcry calling for a total abrogation of the controversial unit.
BudgIT alleged that Motoni had been put under SARS’ radar under the instruction of Senator Mohamed Sani, representing Niger South Senatorial District of Niger State and was closely tracked after participating in a sensitization program in Bida, Niger State.
BudgIT claimed that the Senator had invited Motoni to his house for a meeting after the sensitization at Bida which was declined as he departed for Kaduna where he was eventually arrested and transported to the SARS headquarters in Abuja.
Motoni was denied bail and the police barred anyone from seeing him by ordering officers at the security post to either send away or detain anybody who came looking for him.
Displeased with the development, SERAP called on President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to order Motoni’s release.
“The dubious circumstances in which d SARS arrested Motoni, an anti-corruption defender @BudgITng point to d arrest being arbitrary. We are witnessing how far d Nigeria police will go in its assault on human rights,” it tweeted
“Motoni’s arrest should set off alarm bells. This smacks of harassment & intimidation, pure and simple. Nigerians may think that this government’s pledge to combat corruption is not sincere. It’s not just Motoni’s rights that are undermined, but d rights of all Nigerians.
“SERAP is dismayed & appalled by the arbitrary arrest and detention of Motoni on account of his peaceful anti-corruption work. He’s a human rights defender and must be released immediately and unconditionally.
“Detaining Motoni, a staff of one of Nigeria’s leading anti-corruption NGOs simply for doing is job is a repressive new low for the Nigeria police.”