A Lagos-based lawyer, Kayode Bankole, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over alleged unlawful detention of an estate trustee, Taiwo Oyewunmi, by policemen attached to WEMABOD Estate, Ikeja, without a court order.
In the petition, the lawyer described the arrest of Oyewunmi, a legal Trustee of Estate of the late Madam Iyalode Efunroye, as illegal and an abuse of his fundamental human rights. He consequently sought for IGP’s intervention for his immediate release.
Bankole disclosed that prior to Oyewunmi’s arrest, alongside his 14-year-old son, efforts by men of the State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) Panti-Yaba, Lagos, to secure a remand order from the court had failed.
The lawyer said Chief Magistrate Patrick Nwaka, while rejecting the police remand application had declared that the subject matter that led to the arrest of the estate trustee was a civil case and as such the court will not allow itself to be used as an instrument of victimization.
He added that the police had equally in its legal advice issued on November 20, 2019 and signed by DCP Augustine Sanomi, of the Legal and Prosecution Section at the Force Headquarters, Abuja, advised that police officers deployed on the land in dispute at the instance of either of the parties without appropriate court order or due process of the law as provided by the Sheriff and Civil Process Act or other extant law should be withdrawn to avert legal action against the police.
According to Bankole, the Lagos State Properties Protection Law 2016 forbids the use of law enforcement agents in respect of any landed property except as provided for under the Sheriff and Civil Process Act or any other Law.
‘’The matter is before Justice Lawal of the Lagos High Court in suit number LD/165/2012, yet, the police went to arrest Taiwo Oyewunmi. He was arrested in a commando-like operation, they also arrested his 14-year-old son, a secondary school boy. The police confiscated his telephone and they were handcuffed and paraded on the street like common criminal.
“Specifically, the police legal advice encouraged parties in the dispute to ventilate their grievances before the court of law and that no one should use the police to intimidate one another.
“The land in dispute forms part of the vast land of the late Madam Iyalode Tinubu at Alaka Surulere measuring approximately 53.126 hectares, as shown in survey plan No- AOP12125/010/2015/LA dated the 28th day of November 2019.
“The Survey plan was prepared by Herbert Macaulay in 1911 tendered and marked as exhibit A in suit No-124 of 1912 between Fafunmi Vs Apena which said title has been registered as No 45 at page 45 in volume 2212 of the Register of Deeds kept at the Lagos state land registry,” the petition reads.
Speaking on the issue, a rights activist, Dr. Ridwan Adeyemi, described the arrest as an abduction since the police officers were not with warrant of arrest.