The Human Rights desk of the NPF at Ijede sends an invitation to the Chairman, Vice Chair and a member of the Oke Eletu CDA enforcement Committee in Ijede area of Lagos State after a complaint is made by a former secretary of the said CDA

In the quest to honour this invitation, 3 persons invited to go and honour the invitation

On getting the 3 persons are then forced to make statements, infact as they were speaking the IPO was writing what they were saying and that turned out to be their statements according to the CDA Chair.

After the statements were taken, the Chairman of the CDA was allowed to leave but the vice chair and the 60+ years old committee member were detained and asked to bring 250k for bail

The CDA Chair was advised at this stage to contact a lawyer.

Lawyer shows up at the police station at 8.20pm but was informed that the IPO had closed for the day and he cannot see the suspect unless the IPO is around.

According to the Nigerian Constitution which states that states that the Police can arrest and detain a person for at least 24hrs, but the same law provides for the circumstances in which this arrest and detention must operate

The Facts to note above for the Police to reason out before they exercise powers to detain are as follows.

1. The 3 persons were invited and they willingly came to the police station.

2. Bail has very little to do with making or not making a statement except there is prima facie evidence that a crime was committed and the suspect may likely not return or be available for further questioning.

In this instance, the persons now detained are the vice chair of a CDA and a senior citizen it isn’t likely they won’t return for further questioning

3. Just because a person lays a complaint doesn’t mean a crime has been committed and it is the duty of the police to first interrogate the complaint, then investigate before even inviting anyone for questioning

Now this being said, the IPO through another police officer is alleged to have requested for the sum of 250k to secure the release of the 2 persons and claimed that the DPO will not approve their release if the 2 persons do not pay for Bail

As I write this piece, these 2 persons will sleep in a police cell for no just cause as the nature of the case did not warrant anyone being detained in the first place you may ask.

what is the complaint. Well in a nutshell, the complainant claims that while the CDA executives were disconnecting an illegal electricity connection of a welder who had set up shop right beneath a powerline, he’s own electricity went off and damaged over 20 of his TV sets he had in his one room and parlour apartment.

Now 2 persons will have their rights violated, they will be abused and they will suffer the trauma of being incarcerated.

Two more persons will join 100s of thousands of Nigerians who do not have any confidence in our police nor in our criminal justice system.

What is the problem here? Is it lack of proper training? Is it that this impunity by policemen to just lock up citizens unless they pay a bribe for bail goes unpunished.

What is it that we keep going back and forth on these elementary procedures of arrest, detention, statement taking and bail.

The IPO must be called to question, the DPO at Ijede Police Station should be summoned and the entire Ijede Police Station and Area N Command should be closely monitored to remove any doubt that they are not exploiting citizens.

Akinlade, a legal practitioner is the current Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Law Society, a former Chairman of NBA Ikorodu Branch, Convener of the Duty Solicitors Network Promoting the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme, and a trainer on the applications of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

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