By Albert Akpor
LAGOSÂ – THE entire Bariga and environs in Shomolu Local Government Area of Lagos were thrown into utter confusion Wednesday afterÂ a team of heavily armed police men reportedly from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Alausa broke into the palace of a
Lagos Monarch, His Royal Highness, Oba Gbolahan Timson, the Jagunmolu of Shomolu/Bariga, shot severally into the air and forced him into a waiting van.
The defenceless traditional ruler who demanded to know the cause of the unexpected action was manhandled by the policemen who said they were acting on an order from above.
They were about 50 in number.Â Youths who watched the Oba being forced into the police van in a most dehumanizing manner were said to had challenged them, but the Oba remotely calmed them down with a promise that the law would take its course.
After his arrest at about 12 noom, Crime Guard gathered that he was driven straight to the governorâ€™s office in Alausa, Ikeja.Â The reason for his arrest and subsequent manhandling was still shrouded in uncertaintity.
But the Commander of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Mr Hakeem Odumosu, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) in a telephone chat said the reason for the arrest followedÂ allegation that Oba Timson was parading himself as a full fledged Oba whereas he had not been given the staff of office .He also claimed that the traditional ruler was terrorizing people in his domain with members of Oâ€™dua Peoples Congress (OPC), a Yoruba socio cultural group.
On whether the arrest of the traditional ruller would not triger chaos especially from his loyalists, CSP Odumosun said â€œ the police was up to the task.â€
Continuing, Odumosu said, â€œthe arrest of an individual would not in any way plunge the state into chaos.Â Â How could an individual take the laws into his hands when he had not been duly recognized as such by the state government.â€
Reacting, the traditional ruler who is yet to come to terms with his arrest and detention told Crime Guard in his confinementÂ thatÂ his arrest was likenedÂ to abduction by the police, stressing that the police team forcefully gained entrance into his palace after which they allegedly manhandled him .
â€œThis is unfortunate in a democratic setup for the police to have abducted me in the name of arrest with a black Maria when I have committed no crime what-so-ever.â€œI am duly elected by my people as their Oba and I do not know if this is an offence against the state nor any individual or group of people.Â As I am talking to you, I am yet to be officially informed of my offence.â€
He disclosed that both the state Ministry of Justice and the Court of Appeal were aware of his election as a traditional ruler addingÂ that his position as an Oba which was contested by some people in the state had been in his favor, following the ruling of the Appeal Court , pointing out that there are documents to backup his claims.
However, the Lagos state police command has since distanced itself from the arrest. The team of policemen who effected the arrest seemed to have ran into troubledÂ as to where to detained the traditional ruler.
He was said to had been driven to the State Criminal Investigation Department, SCID, Panti where he was rejected on the grounds that his offence could not be ascertained.
Also at the Command Headquarters where he was taken to for detention, the Officer in Charge of the Special Anti Robbery Squad SARS could not press any charge against the monarch for his subsequent detention.Â He was later taken back to the Lagos state Task Force where he was confined in an unkempt office room.
Asked to comment on the arrest,Â the Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba said he could not make any comment as he was never briefed of the arrest. â€œI have not been briefed yet. When I get details, I will contact you,Â please,â€ he said.