By Christopher Oji, Lagos
Relatives of 20 craftsmen who were arrested last Friday at a construction site in Awoyaya area, Lagos State, have sounded the alarm over the continued detention of their relatives in the prison cell. zone 2, Onikan, without telling them the crime they committed.
The families have asked Inspector General of Police Usman Baba Alkali and State Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu to help secure the immediate release of their members.
The workers were arrested on Friday morning when armed police stormed the Awoyaya neighborhood in Ajah before 15 houses under construction were demolished.
Family members said those arrested were masons, laborers and site managers working only for their survival, adding that they had been held since Friday in two police detention centers at the command of the Elemoro Zone and Zone 2 Police Command.
Family members also accused the police of not being able to say any particular offense of the arrested workers other than there was an order from Abuja.
They also demanded that the arrested workers not only be released urgently but also not transferred to Abuja as they have not been charged with any crime.
Relatives of the arrested workers have also asked the IGP to order a thorough investigation into their arrest.
A family member of one of the arrested workers, Ms Popoola, said: “My brother had gone to work on Friday and when we didn’t see him we contacted some of his colleagues. We were told that police officers from the headquarters and the Lagos command area came to the scene to arrest them.
“My husband is just a site engineer. They were first taken to Elemoro Regional Command on Friday but have now been moved to Area 2.
“When we came to Zone 2 again today, they said the order to arrest them came from Abuja and only those from Abuja can say their offence.
“I know that my husband is not a criminal and that he could not have committed an offence. He was just looking for a way to take care of his family. The police should release him.
Another relative of a mason, Tolani Sulaimo, said: “The worst thing is that nobody is ready to tell us their offense and they keep them in a police cell.
“They were first taken to an area command. We were told we couldn’t release them on bail that they would arrive in Zone 2 before they could be released.
“Now in Zone 2 they say they can only be released in Abuja without being tied to any criminal offence. They are just laborers and masons, who only went to fend for themselves- themselves and their families.
Efforts to get a reaction from image maker in charge of Zone 2 Police Command, Hauwa Idris Adamu, failed as calls to his cellphone lines went unanswered on Monday.
The Area 2 police spokesperson had earlier on Saturday denied knowledge of the officers’ operation but had promised to find out and get back to our correspondent but could not do so at the time of filing this report .