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Forgery: Aregbesola loses bid to stop arrest

By Innocent Anaba
Osun State governorship candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in the 2007 general election, Chief Rauf Aregbesola, yesterday lost his bid to have a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, restrain the Inspector- General of Police, from arresting him over alleged forgery of police document.

The court held that by the combined effects of the Police Act and Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution, the police have a constitutional duty to invite or interrogate any body in connection with an offence.

Aregbesola had sued the Inspector-General of Police, Osun State Commissioner of Police, Attorney-General of the Federation, Osun State Government, the state Attorney-General and the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, over alleged plans by the police to arrest him.

He had also claimed that the defendants infringed on his fundamental human rights to freedom, as guaranteed under Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution.

He had prayed the court to restrain the police from arresting him in connection with allegation that the police report he tendered to prove electoral irregularities in the Osun State governorship election, was forged.

Trial judge, Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye, in his judgment in the suit, said, “the fear of arrest or fear of an arrest in respect of an investigation concerning an offence or over an offence is not a violation of fundamental human rights. According to Section 35 (1) of the constitution, if a person is arrested, he must not be kept in custody beyond reasonable time stipulated by law under which he was arrested.

“In my view, it is only when a person’s right is breached that you can say it is a violation of the constitution. It is definitely not so in this case. It is my view that it is within the power of the Police Act for the police to invite for the purpose of interrogation or prosecution within the law of the land.

I must warn that in doing so, they (police) should not impede the applicant in any way from pursuing his case before the election tribunal. I find that the applicant has not successfully established that his rights have been infringed upon and the petition is hereby dismissed,” the court held.


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