Afeez Hanafi

The Office of the Public Defender, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, has asked the state High Court to prevail on the state police command to produce a cobbler, Shakoor Zaid.

Zaid has been in the custody of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the command in Ikeja for over two years without being allowed access to his mother and relatives or charged to court.

The OPD, in a suit filed before the Lagos State High Court on behalf of Shakoor sought an order compelling the Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, to “unconditionally” admit him to bail.

PUNCH Metro had reported that the 33-year-old was arrested on April 17, 2015, in his residence on Afolabi Alasia Street, Ijora Badia, by SARS operatives who raided the area after a fight. The police accused him of participating in the fight.

In the March 22, 2017, report, Shakoor’s mother, Jumoke Zaid, explained how one Sergeant Godwin Ogedengbe, the Investigating Police Officer, and his colleagues, prevented her from seeing her son.

She alleged that the operatives collected N2,000 from her each time he visited the SARS office in anticipation of speaking with Shakoor.

Jumoke had said, “Shakoor was arrested inside his apartment. His brother and I went to the SARS office in Ikeja. We met one policeman, Ade, aka Bullet. He said Ogedengbe was investigating the case and that guns and cutlasses were recovered from the scene of the fight. Bullet said somebody told them to waste Shakoor.

“I went there several times, but they didn’t allow me to see him. Relatives of other suspects arrested with Shakoor were allowed to see them. Each time I went there, I paid N2,000 for his feeding. At a point, they stopped collecting money from me.

“On June 26, 2015, the six other persons were arraigned in court. I asked Ogedengbe why my son was not arraigned, but he did not give me any answer. At a point, he started avoiding me. He told me to meet his uncle, Mr. Rilwan Zaid, if I wanted my son to be freed.”

However, the uncle had denied instigating Shakoor’s arrest.

After failed attempts to see her son, the woman said he had petitioned the OPD in 2016 and a lawyer was assigned to handle the case. She, however, said the lawyer was indifferent to the matter.

Our correspondent gathered that the OPD invited Jumoke after The PUNCH’s report and another lawyer, O. A. Azeez, was assigned to handle the matter.

In an application, dated September 11, 2017, with suit number 30946/2017, filed at the high court, the counsel affirmed that the police “have no power to detain the applicant (Shakoor) without filing formal charges for more than two years.”

The suit was served on the respondents – the CP and the OC SARS – through the Officer-in-Charge of Legal, State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba.

The counsel invoked Section 1, Habeas Corpus Law of Lagos State, CAP H1, Law of Lagos State, 2015, as well as Section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

He sought the orders “that a writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum be issued to compel the Commissioner of Police of Lagos State to produce the body of Shakoor Zaid before this honourable court to explain the justification for his continued detention.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, promised to get back to our correspondent with comment on the suit, but he had yet to do so as of press time.

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