…victims stripped, beaten, detained
…CP calls truce meeting
By Kayode Adeoti
Tuesday October 16, 2018 will remain an unforgettable day for the Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association, Ilorin branch, Muhammed Idowu Akande and his compatriots, Lukman Olanrewaju Bello and Dr. Ismail Adua Mustapha who were mercilessly beaten and brutalised by police officers at the Police Training School, Ilorin, while trying to seek release of a client.
According to multiple sources at the scene of the crime, the lawyers sustained injuries due to ill-treatment melted on them.
Bello, who is a member of the Young Lawyers’ Forum (YLF) was said to have gone to the ‘A’ Division Police station to seek the release of his client who was arrested by the police but he ended up in police cell same day.
The legal practitioner was said to have been stripped naked before being pushed inside the police cell where he was thoroughly beaten by some officers and the trainees.
Bello who is currently receiving treatment at the Civil Service Clinic, Ilorin, while narrating his ordeal to our reporter yesterday said he had to feign death inside the cell in order to stay alive.
“I went to the police station on Tuesday to seek the release of my client who was arrested by a traffic warden.
“When I saw the policeman who arrested him, I called him but he was moving fast towards the Police Training School. He then dashed out of the gate, so, I decided to turn back but I met an officer inside the premises and in a bid to explain my situation to him, he insisted that he won’t grant me audience and that I should leave the vicinity.
“I tried to persuade him saying police and lawyers are friends, he became annoyed, held my shirt and he started pushing me towards the gate. I reacted just to caution him but shortly, a recruit hit me from behind with training gun and dragged me roughly. I turned my face towards him and asked, why are you doing this? He replied that I was raising my voice against a superior officer.
“A man who introduced himself as headmaster waded in but he was not actually allowed to talk. When I got outside the gate, some officers said that I should show them my Identification Card, my response was that lawyers don’t always go about with it.”
Bello said his response further annoyed the policemen as about 15 of them descended on him, stripping him naked before pushing him inside the cell.
“When I realised that there was no way I could outmuscle them, I pretended as if I was dead.
“A female officer who claimed I held her cloth while being beaten, came into the cell with stick with some of the trainees to beat me again. While she was leaving, she spit on my face which was very derogatory. Adeyemi Mulikat was the only name I was able to pick among the officers who beat me.”
Speaking further, Bello said, when he was brought out of the police cell, he saw the Ilorin NBA Chairman and Dr. Mustapha who took his picture.
“While I was being returned to the police cell, Mulikat said, if I pass a night in the cell, I will forget ever coming to this world.”
For Dr. Mustapha, a Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin, his male genital is yet to function well following his alleged attack by the police.
He said, “My manhood is paining me, I don’t even know how to use it now. I’ve never seen such harassment in my life, the trainees also joined the force to beat us.
“If police want to arrest, they can do it but in a lawful manner. We know those who perpetuated the act, what we want the police to do is to arraign them,” Mustapaha stated.
In his reaction, the Ilorin NBA boss (Akande) said that he will pursue justice over the matter.
“For less than four months that I’ve been NBA chairman, this is the fourth time of witnessing such occurrence. My colleague was detained, dealt with over a reason not tenable. When we visited the station to seek his release, my colleague was already reduced to his underwear.
“While we were going, we took his picture and that was what infuriated them. They tried to destroy the phone but we managed to escape. When we got outside, I raised my voice. They came after us and beat us with all manners of things. I shouted, I’m the NBA chairman, that never worked.”
Meanwhile, the Commissioner of Police, Fafowora Bolaji has held a peace talk with the Ilorin NBA over their humiliation by the officers, while promising that anyone found guilty of the crime will face the wrath of the law.
In a statement he issued yesterday, the police boss said, “Sequel to the complaint received by the Commissioner of Police, Kwara State Police Command, Ilorin, CP Fafowora Bolajii, to the effect that some men of the Nigeria Police, attached to the Police Training School, Ilorin assaulted lawyers over an issue that could ordinarily be resolved if professionalism was brought to bear by parties concerned, which resulted in the ugly situation.
“The command wishes to state with every sense of responsibility that the situation is highly regretted and the command’s sympathy extended to the victim.”
The CP further said he has directed investigation into the matter while reiterating that misunderstanding of such nature should not be allowed to create a clog in the wheel of partnership that is in existence between the Nigerian Bar Association and the police in the state.
It added that the Kwara State Police Command under the leadership of Fafowora will never allow the rights of any citizen to be trampled on by any officer.