A civil rights organisation, the Centre for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) has once again raised the alarm over incessant arrests and detention of members of the public by men of the Ogun State Command of the Nigeria Police Force.
This is coming just as the group urged the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmed Iliyasu to borrow a leaf from his Lagos State counterpart, Mr. Edgar Imhohinmi who has been seen in recent times meting out disciplinary measures against his errant personnel who have been found wanting in the task of performing their duties.
The condemnation came in a statement issued by the group through its Executive Chairman, Comrade Adeniyi A, Sulaiman who in its recalled series of infractions that have been committed by policemen attached to Sango Police Station against the general public. According to Sulaiman, “The recent alarm is coming against the backdrop of illegal arrest and detention of members of the Vigilance Service of Ogun State. We have been informed that the police officers attached to Sango Police Station have illegally arrested and unlawfully detained two members of the vigilance Service namely, Mr. Babatunde Lawal and one Mr. Samuel.
Recounting the ordeal of the two detained vigilance officers, Sulaiman wrote that Lawal who is popular with the indigenes of the area for arresting known criminals both in police uniform and civilians was framed up by those who felt threatened by his work in the Sango and Otta axis on a trumped up charge.“Lawal submitted himself to the police who had gone to his house to look for another member of the group simply known as Samuel whom he has not since for some time. Samuel was said to have had a misunderstanding with some residents of the area by the time of the incidence.” The activist stated.
Sulaiman added that, on getting to the police station, Lawal was promptly arrested and detained illegally by the police officers on ground who asked him to produce Samuel.
Commenting on the ordeal of Lawal, he added that “Unfortunately, he has been denied access to his family and relatives since his incarceration until Tuesday (June 12) when they (the police officers) called his wife, Mrs. Sofiat Adejoke Lawal to come to the station with the sum of N100, 000 to effect the bail of her husband. They policemen also called the elder sister to bring the sum of N300, 000 for the same purpose of bailing out Lawal.”
Sulaiman stated that as part of the conditions for Lawal’s release from detention include that he would desist from further arresting of criminals in the area including some errant policemen who have been conniving with the criminals.
“Sometimes ago, our group raised an alarm on the activities of these officers attached to Sango Police Station. Precisely, on Monday September 25th, 2017, we wrote a petition against these officers to the Inspector-General of Police. Specifically, we wrote against officers such as Lanre who was an investigating police officer in anti-robbery squad.
“Apart from this Lanre who has been so notorious for violating the rights of the citizens and residents of the axis, we also dragged one of the informants named Ganiyu who has been working hands in glove with the anti-robbery squad team leader of Sango Police Command and to the police top hierarchy. We later discovered that Ganiyu cultivates Indian hemp which the police officers usually assist him to sell to the public.” He said on behalf of the group.
He added that CHRSJ recently in a petition dated Thursday 3rd of May 2018 to the Inspector-General of Police exposed the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Owode Police Station, Mr. Muritala Abiodun Agboola, his Divisional Crime Officer and one officer simply known as Isiaka for undertaking in criminal activities in their area of jurisdiction.
“In the petition, we told the police IG that these officers are of the habit of harbouring members of a secret cult known as Aye Confraternity within Owode and its environs. We are glad to report that investigations have commenced at the Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department of the state Command in Eleweran at Abeokuta but nothing has come out so far from the inquest thus making us to conclude that these officers might be shielding the criminals from prosecution.” He stated.
On the way forward, Sulaiman wrote that a formal complaint have been laid before the higher authorities in the force for proper action. “We are calling for the immediate release of Mr. Babatunde Lawal from detention at the Sango Police Station without any further delay.
“We are also calling for investigation against one officer Sanya and his team leader known as ‘FM’ attached to Sango Police Station in Ogun State Police Command, by the police authorities. We have discovered that the interest of these officers have contrasted sharply with that of Lawal because we have now realized that they (the police officers) have some armed robbers working for them.” He concluded.