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NBA, CDHR ask IG to probe maltreatment of lawyer

By Emma Amaize
WARRI—COMMITTEE for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in Delta State and the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Warri branch, have called on the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police, Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FEDSARS), Alagbon, Lagos to investigate alleged cruel treatment meted out to a Warri-based lawyer, Obafemi Ainerua and unlawful extortion of N300, 000 for bail from his relations and friends by policemen attached to the squad.

Chairman of CDHR, Mr. Ikimi Oghenejabor, told Vanguard that Ainerua was arrested, detained and mercilessly beaten by policemen in the course of performing his professional duty to his client, saying, “there is danger if policemen can arrest, detain and beat up a lawyer for discharging his professional duty, the Inspector General should probe this case”.

The NBA, Warri branch in its petition, dated July 3, signed by the chairman of the Human Rights Committee of the branch, Gweke Akudihor, and alternate chairman, Ojo Abijogun, also urged the Commissioner (FEDSARS), to investigate the activities and actions of the affected policemen and bring them to book, as their conduct did not represent the rules of engagement of the Nigeria Police Force.

The association said Ainerua only advised his client who stole money belonging to his employers to report himself to the police at the Ekpan Police Station, who the lawyer later joined at a location at Agbarha-Otor in Ughelli, Delta State to recover N6 million of the money after his client confessed that the money was kept there.

Few days after, FEDSARS arrested Ainerua on the allegation that what the police recovered was N10 million and not N6 million.

Ainerua’s explanation that he was a lawyer who merely accompanied Ekpan policemen to recover the money and was not the one that recovered the money fell on deaf ears, as he was handcuffed and taken away.

Meantime, a High Court sitting in Effurun , Delta State has ordered the Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police, Delta State and FEDSARS not to re-arrest/detain the Warri-based lawyer, who was earlier arrested, detained and tortured by the police between June 25 and 26.

Justice G.E. Akperi , who also granted Ainerua leave to enforce his fundamental human rights as guaranteed by the constitution, while ruling on a motion ex-parte by Ainerua, was specific that since the applicant was already on police bail, the respondent should not in any manner flout the court’s order during the course of investigation of the alleged crime.

The court adjourned hearing in the case to July 13.


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