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WITHOUT PREJUDICE: How governments frame up people

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By Richard Akinnola

Scene One:

On June 29, 1988, Justice Olu   Obadina of Ikeja High Court had just retired into the Chambers   that Wednesday after granting bail to Chief Gani Fawehinmi,   who was standing trial for alleged criminal   defamation,   when it happened. 

As Gani, accompanied   by one of his lawyers, LeKe Sanusi and personal assistant,   Aniefok Okon made for the car, a burly, dark complexioned man, in a husky, raucous tone, charged at Gani as he made for his throat.

Like a well-rehearsed drama, three plain-clothed security men who had been lurking around, drew their pistols, the nozzle pointed at Gani. As Gani was trying to free himself from his assailant,   Okon quickly came to his rescue.

In a surprisingly twist, the plain-clothed security men insisted that Gani lodged a complaint   at Ikeja police station.   Gani demurred.   But they insisted. Eventually,   they all went to the police station, the DPO and the assailant exchanged pleasantries like old friends. It was later Gani discovered that the assailant was an army Major. He gave his name as “Oseni Sanusi “.

Interestingly,   the police decided to detain bother the complainant,   Gani and his assailant and charged both to court for affray.

But before they were transferred to Onikan police station,   Gani got information from one of the policemen that the operation was planned that morning and that it was a planned assassination attempt.

Scene two:

In 1988, security men set fire on Gani’s home/office at Sabiu Ajose,   Surulere,   Lagos, housing millions of Naira worth of books. Fortunately,   the fire was put off by the fire services.

But the police claimed that Gani deliberately set his house on fire in order to embarrass the government.   A livid Gani countered that the police commissioner was “very stupid,” saying, “you mean l would set fire on my family and books worth millions of Naira in order to embarrass a useless   government?”

Scene three:

During the “Ali must go” students struggle in 1978, with Gani defending the students, the Obasanjo government charged Gani to court for stealing his own camera!

Scene four:

After the assassination of Kudirat Abiola, the same government which was responsible for the dastardly act, arrested Chief Abraham Adesanya and other NADECO Chieftains and detained them, accusing them of the assassination.

There are so many examples of how a government can frame up someone for a crime he or she did not commit.

But it behooves on the framed person to be bold enough to legally fight his/her traducers. It’s not a time to exhibit acts of cowardice and play to the gallery. Be ready to spend time in custody. Don’t go to a battle without first counting the costs.

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