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Lagos Assembly cautions Police over arbitrarily arrest, torture

Lagos – Lawmakers in the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Monday, cautioned the police to desist from indiscriminate arrests.

Man in combat with policeman

The legislators spoke against the backdrop of the arrest and detention of an Islamic Cleric and 400 residents of Mushin Constituencies 1 and II in February.

They also urged the police to be civil and professional while performing their mandate.

The lawmakers, who demanded an unreserved apology from the Nigeria Police on the development, however, commiserated with the police over the alleged killing of a police officer by hoodlums in the area.

Mr Olawale Olayiwola, representing Mushin Constituency II informed the House of the incident under matter of urgent public importance and was seconded by Mrs Adefunmilayo Tejuosho, representing Mushin Constituency I.

According to him, the police carried out a raid in the two constituencies on Feb. 28 after the alleged killing of a police officer in Akala Area of Mushin.

Olayiwola informed the House that an Imam was arrested on his way from the Mosque, while over 400 residents were arrested by the police following the killing of the officer.

He explained that the residents were subsequently taken to a mobile court and they were about to be taken to Badagry Prison before he intervened.

The lawmaker said Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode in conjunction with the state’s Attorney General, got the cleric and the residents released on bail.

“It is worrisome that something like this happened. The police should be called to order in their dealings with members of the public.

“The Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohinmi, should tender an unreserved apology to my constituents over the matter,” he said.

Also reacting, Tejuosho expressed concerns that the police could treat a cleric and several constituents in such a manner.

She said the people should have been interrogated, while the innocent ones should have been released and the suspects prosecuted.

“I sympathise with the police over the death of their colleague but it is also painful the way the police arrest the cleric and residents.

“Police should tender an apology through a national newspaper,” she said.

Similarly, Mr Sanai Agunbiade, the Majority Leader explained that there was procedure for arrest and detention of suspects which the police should follow.

Agunbaide frowned at indiscriminate arrest of the residents, adding that “there are procedures for criminal apprehension and investigations’’.

“We are not going against police performing their jobs but procedures must be followed.

“There is presumption of innocence in law for anybody apprehended but now an accused is presumed guilty after arrest.

“Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) is an outfit to curb criminality; it should not be for torturing innocents.”

Also, the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Olumuyiwa Jimoh, who described indiscriminate arrest by police as a common, urged the commissioner of police to monitor the activities of his men.

Other lawmakers took turns to condemn the indiscriminate arrests and torture of innocent people in the state, urging the police to be civil and professional.

Speaker of the House, Mr Mudashiru Obasa commiserated with the police on the death of one officer and commended Olayiwola and Tejuosho for their efforts on the matter.

“We must appeal to the police that there is a need for the police to be civil in their manner. They cannot continue to arrest and detain people anyhow.

“They should cultivate friendship with the people; Police cannot continue to arrest people indiscriminately and still expect them to take you as friends.

“We commend the gallant men of the police and those, who lost their lives in the cause of protecting the people, but some of their actions are not good enough.

“It is not right to arrest people, display Indian hemps before them and detain them without proper investigation.”

The speaker directed the Clerk of the House, Azeez Sanni, to write a letter to the police to sympathise with them on the death of their officer.

Obasa said that such letter should equally demand an apology from the police and urged the commissioner of police to address cases of indiscriminate arrest, torture, punishment and extortions by the police. (NAN)


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