• It’s a lie, says PPRO

A human rights lawyer and principal partner of Lekan Alabi Chambers, Mr. Lekan Alabi, has expressed anger over the rights violations of a nursing mother, two teenage boys and an ‘imbecile,’ who were locked up in the State Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos State for over a week.

The woman, Mrs. Shaki Yahya, the teenage boys, Kewu Mumeen and Waliu Yahya, both 16 years, an imbecile and two others, were alleged to have been arrested after policemen stormed Egan-Oromi community in Oto-Awori Local Council Development Area of Lagos State, about 6a.m. on April 5. A member of the community, Olayiwola Elete, said that the problem, which brought the policemen into the community, was a chieftaincy tussle. He said: “There was a kingship tussle. Judgement had been given, but the other party didn’t want the rightful man to be the king. That was why they used policemen from SCIID to harass and intimidate us.

They stormed the community and arrested the woman, boys and others.” Elete also disclosed that since the detention of Shaki, her husband had been minding the twoyear- old child, with their two other children. He added: “Even the teenage boys are just secondary school kids. It’s clear they would miss school.” Elete and other concerned community members sought the assistance of lawyer, Alabi. The lawyer has immediately petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, seeking his intervention on the matter. Alabi had also alerted media of the human rights violations against the detainees. On April 13, the police hurriedly charged the suspects to court.

Elete said: “We just heard that they have been charged to court today (Friday). We were not even notified. They moved them from SCIID to a Magistrate’s Court in Ojo, LASU area, where we reside. They have been remanded in Kirikiri.” Alabi said that it was wrong for the police to have kept the suspects in detention since April 5, without either granting bail or charging them to court.

The lawyer, who described the action as not only illegal, but also an abuse of fundamental human rights of his clients, listed others arrested to include Azeez Akinsanya and Suliamon Yahya. The lawyer added that after he was briefed by his client and Head, Elete Chieftaincy Family of the community, Alhaji Ganiyu Lawal, he had approached the station on April 7, to discuss with the officers in charge of the matter towards ensuring the release of the accused. The lawyer’s petition reads in part: “On this Saturday, your men at the SCIID, Panti, Yaba, Lagos, informed us that the case against the suspects was referred to them by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos Command, and we were advised to report to the SCIID on April 9, where the issue of bail would be resolved.

“On April 9, we visited SCIID Panti again to make a polite demand for the charging of the suspects to court or securing their release on bail pending the conclusion of the investigation. Your men, demonstrating their bias against the members of the family of our client and the community entirely, in the presence of their solicitor, arrested a proposed surety for the suspects by name Nurudeen Lawal on a trump up allegation that his name was mentioned in the alleged crisis that happened at Egan-Oromi community.” The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Chike Oti, denied that a nursing mother and under-age boys were among the suspects.

He said: “The woman is among six suspects charged to court this morning (Friday) in a case of conspiracy, malicious damage and causing grievous hurt. If she’s a nursing mother, we don’t know about that. As police, we don’t meddle into chieftaincy issues. The suspects were granted bail, but nobody came for them. We couldn’t keep them indefinitely, thus we charged them to court. The SCIID can make arrest anywhere in Lagos and charge suspects to any court in Lagos. So, it’s not a case of connivance or anything. The law approves that.”

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