By Mary BASSEY, Senior Investigator Correspondent, Lagos/
LAGOS– THE Unwarranted Police legal Treachery In having the Afro beat crooner, Seun Kuti still detained coupled with the media trial which he was subjected to after he turned himself in to the Police has generated bad blood between the Police Lawyers and Seun Kuti’s defence team.
Whereas, the Police Lawyers represented by the Head Chambers, Nigeria Police, Deputy Commissioner of Police DCP and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN Simon Lough, is claiming that there was nothing wrong in having Seun Kuti handcuffed in custody, his defence team also represented by a SAN from the Femi Falana’s chambers, Olayinka Olumide Fasuka on the hand, is saying that section 9 (a) of the Administration of the criminal justice(Amended) Bill signed into law in 2021 by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu forbids the Police from parading suspects for which Seun was subjected to; adding that even though he willingly turned himself in to the Lagos State Commissioner for CP Idowu Owohunwa, the Police had him handcuffed like a common criminal, his photograph taken and shared to the public.
The Police had on Tuesday secretly arraigned Seun Kuti before Chief Magistrate Mrs. Adeola Olatunbosun .at the Yaba Chief Magistrate Court 1, but met his defence team already in the court. During the arrangement, the police had prayed the court for a 21 day respite to have Seun kept in their custody to enable ample time to conclude investigations but the Magistrate declined and instead, gave the police 48 hours within which to conclude their investigations and send the file to the DPP. Seun was therefore, granted bail with the sum of N1m with two sureties in like sum. However, as the 48 hours granted by the court expires Thursday, the Police again secretly bundled Seun Kuti to the court and asked for 4 more days to further carry out more investigations on the ground that they claimed to have discovered certain incriminating documents in his Allen Avenue, Ikeja house during a search; this was even before Seun’s relations could come for his release at the Police SCIID Panti Yaba.
Read Also >>Journalist Gives Gory Details How DPO Isheri-Osun Used His Colleague To Arrest, Arraign Him Over Inability To Pay N50,000 As Bail Bond
Justifying their action, the police in a statement DCP Lough said, “It has become imperative to correct some misrepresentations being circulated on social media solely to garner sympathy from the public and to divert attention from the fact in issue. First of all, there is no law that prohibits the use of handcuffs to restrain a suspect especially a suspect that has shown tendency of violence like Seun Kuti that has already shown act of violence by attacking and slapping a police officer in uniform and even threatened his wife in the process. Secondly, section 10(4) of Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State allows the taking of photographs of suspects arrested for identification and record purpose. Seun Kuti was not paraded as erroneously alleged by his lawyers. It was his photograph, fingerprints, name and address that were taken as provided for in the law. The Nigeria Police hereby assures the public and all law abiding Nigerians that the Force will not engage in media trial of the case but would carry out investigation in line with the law, professionalism and international best practices. The Nigeria Police equally appeals to the defence team of Seun Kuti to desist from engaging in media trial/defence of their client and allow the judicial process take its full course. The Nigeria Police reiterate its adherence to the rule of law and the protection of rights and liberties of the citizens.”
But responding, Seun’s defence team through Kunle said, ” Dear Lough, my attention has been drawn to a tweeted public statement ascribed to you, which, inter alia, “appeals to the defence team of Mr. Seun Kuti to desist from engaging in media trial/defence of their client and allow the judicial process take its course. You are of course aware of the names and identity of those to whom your advice was directed. That being the case, you should have honoured your own advice against “media trial/defence” by reaching out to them otherwise than through a tweet to the whole world. Your predilection is however understandable and forgiven considering that you are first and foremost a Deputy Commissioner of Police and therefore bound to obey the last order of your superiors in the Nigeria Police Force. Otherwise, as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the unethical implication of your exertion and conduct in court today would not have been lost on you.
To your knowledge, the bail granted to Mr. Kuti at the court session of Tuesday 16/5/2023, was not on the application of the Police or its legal team. It was on the oral application and at the instance of Mr. Kuti’s legal team, having chanced upon the ex-parte attempt of the Police to keep Mr. Kuti under Police detention for twenty-one more days as from said 16/5/2023. It should therefore have occurred to you that any application to vary the bail terms, including the term that his release on bail shall be effective after forty-eight hours from that date (which was what you went to court today to make and obtain) cannot be ex parte but on notice to Mr. Kuti’s Defence team. In your elevated position as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, you ought not to be caught in any scheme having the potential of making a mockery of the rule of law and exposing the Court administration of Justice to ridicule. Mr . Kuti will say no more on this for now. You have informed the public in your statement that “section 10(4) of Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State allows the taking of photographs of suspects arrested for identification and record purpose”. However, apart from the fact that it was Mr. Kuti that voluntarily took and submitted himself at your Lagos State Command, Ikeja on Monday 15/5/2023, you omitted to also direct the public addresses of your statement the Section of the Law you cited that authorised or permitted the Police (through Mr. Hundeyin, its Lagos PPRO, who personally took the photographs) to circulate it to the media and the public at large. Or, are you by any chance denying that this was not what happened?
Are you saying that it was Mr. Kuti (and or his legal team) that took his photographs in police handcuffs and sent it to media houses and the public at large? As it is obvious that you either do not know or is pretending not to know, in September 2021, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Governor of Lagos, signed the Administration of Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill, 2021 bill into law. Section 9(a) of the law states: “As from the commencement of this law, the police shall refrain from parading any suspect before the media”. Furthermore, according to you, the need for handcuffs was because Mr. Kuti “has shown the tendency of violence … by attacking and slapping a Police Officer in uniform and even threatened his wife in the process”. Mrs. Kuti has instructed that you should be informed that she has never made any complaint to you as insinuated in your statement. I am also sure that the Police Commissioner to whom Mr. Kuti reported and submitted himself did not inform you that he suffered any violence or threat of violence from Mr. Kuti. Mr. Kuti submitted himself to the Police so that he can go answer in court for the allegation of assaulting a policeman. It is the Police who, rather than taking this simple and straightforward step, has decided to create a circus and make a “national emergency” of the matter.
Read Also >>Man Remanded In Prison Custody For Allegedly Strangling His Friend, Buried in Shallow Grave In Enugu
Your sweeping insinuation against Mr. Kuti (which only a witness in court is entitled to testify to), using your title of Senior Advocate of Nigeria, belittles that Rank. Well, now that Mr. Kuti has been put in manacles and taken on parade from one police station to another, and from one location to the other across Lagos State since Monday, 15/5/2023, when exactly is he going to be charged for, as you put it in your statement, “attacking and slapping a police officer in uniform”? Mr. Seun Kuti is patiently waiting to be charged to court for the alleged offence so that he can offer his defence. That should not be too much for a suspect to expect. I do hope that you will use your position as a lawyer, and indeed a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, counseling the Police in this matter, to obey the order of the Magistrate Court to send the case file to the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution for legal evaluation and possible charge and prosecution before a court of law. As you can see from this very example, the “defence team of Seun Kuti” has never engaged in “media trial/defence” of its client. Rather, the team only makes cautioning responses to statements and briefings from the Police to the public against Mr. Kuti (at a time he is in police detention and unable to speak by his own mouth to the public)”
COPYWRIGHT CRIMEWORLD: All rights reserved. It is an offense to either broadcast, reproduce, rewrite, publish and redistribute this material partly or wholly without the express permission from Frontpage CrimeWorld Publishers Nigeria Limited, Publishers of CrimeWorld Magazines and weekly newspapers.