Lawyer brutalised by police officers on order of CP

Wife of Lagos State Governor, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode (3rd left); President, African Women Lawyers’ Association - Nigeria, Mandy Demechi-Asagba (left); Rep. of Chief Judge of Lagos, Mrs. Abiola Soladoye (2nd left); Lady Folake Solanke (3rd right); Guest speaker, Nana Oye Lithur (2nd right); and Mr. Rudolf Ezeani, during the AWLA parley, as part of activities marking the Annual General Conference of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), at Victoria Island, Lagos, recently.

The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Warri branch, has called for a full scale investigation into the alleged attack on its member, Bernard Oyabevwe, at the Warri Magistrate Court.

The association Sunday also called on the Inspector-General of Police and the Police Service Commission to call the Delta Commissioner of Police, Muhammad Mustapha, and the Warri Area Commander, Mohammed Shaba, to order over the alleged assault.

“Going by the footage and photographs of the brutality at our disposal, the Delta CP and the Warri Area Commander should be removed from their offices while the CSP, Kelvin Zoukumo (DPO) be transfered from A Division, Warri.

“If we cannot use administrative means to achieve this, we will use legal means to remove them,” the NBA said.

Addressing journalists on the development, the Chairman, NBA, Warri branch, Godwin Ebowe, said the June 6 attack on their member should be condemned by all.

He said that the current wave of police brutality on civilians had become a source of concern and called for the invocation of the relevant provisions in the constitution to put an end to the acts.

“Our colleague was brutalised, dragged on the ground and he is still undergoing medical treatment in the hospital.

“Even when the magistrate appealed to the Warri Area Commander, he refused, saying that he was acting under the instruction of the CP to charge our colleague who was at the point of death.

“This police brutality must stop, it is a show of shame and we condemn it in its entirety. The NBA, Warri will take it up no matter whose ox is gored in the process.

“All hands must be on deck to put an end to this barbaric act. Police was created to protect the public and not to start attacking members of the public,” he said.

The victim explained that his client, one Nosa Igiehon, was whisked by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from the Warri Magistrate Court Two where he was standing trial.

Mr Oyabevwe said that his client was dragged to the A Division near the magistrate court under the instruction of the complainant.

“While I was demanding to know the team leader of the EFCC officials, a policeman pushed me from behind to almost collide with the moving vehicle of the anti-graft agency that was conveying my client and his wife away.

“I asked why did he push me and he replied that I should get out from here, “go and file your motion, that is where you people do your things”.

“While I was going, he held my suit, seized my gown and dragged me. I removed his hand from my suit.

“All of them started calling me charge and bail lawyer. How much did Nosa pay me? One of them gave me a terrible blow on my head, slapped and threatened to kill me.

“One of them hit me with the back of the gun and blood started gushing out from my nose, some were kicking me and at that point, I became unconscious,” he said.

Mike Asugo, a lawyer who witnessed the incident, corroborated the victim’s explanation.

Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Delta Command, Andrew Aniamaka, blamed the lawyer for the incident.

“It was a transfer of aggression by the lawyer. The matter has been charged to court over conduct likely to cause breach of peace and serious assault,” he said.