By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA-Respite is underway for citizen Yunusa Owolabi who is being held by International Police, INTERPOL of Moroccan government on account of controversial criminal charges preferred against him by Nigerian branch of the service.
The family had on July 29, 2019 petitioned Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, drawing his attention to Owolabi’s plights in Morocco, pleading for his intervention.
The petition signed by Mr. Farouk Oshipitan on behalf of Owolabi’s family said that he’s being held unjustly by Moroccan authorities.
The petition stated that Owolabi, a shipping and forwarding agent was arrested in Casablanca in June last year on his way back from the United Kingdom to Nigeria following placement of red alert on him by the Nigerian police on the account of charges that had since been found untenable by High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Stating however that the red alert had been removed by the orders of the court which also made the Casablanca authorities to release Owolabi from their prisons, the family stated that the worry now has been the refusal of the Central Authority Unit, CAU, in the Federal Ministry of Justice to write to the Moroccan government to release Owolabi’s travel documents as ordered by a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Owolabi travails, the petition further explained, started in 2016 when a fellow Nigerian in the UK contracted him to ship a generator to Nigeria.
Hardly had he gone for the generator than he was told the item had been stolen within the premises of the selling company.
The parties thereafter filed a formal complaint with the UK police authorities.
Owolabi however got arrested in Lagos by his client when he returned home to encourage the businessman to travel back to the UK to pursue his claims to logical conclusions.
From Surulere police station to Interpol, Agbabon office where he was detained for three days, he was eventually taken to Abuja where many court cases later followed.
In the petition to Osinbajo, the family made a few prayers amongst which were “That Yinusa Owolabi be freed; That the Police Interpol department be investigated as our son, Yinusa Owolabi, is of the observation that he is a prey for fraudulent insurance claims in Britain, and this may be behind his travails. [Letter from his counsel in UK addressed to Benjamin Olowodola dated 12th October 2016 is hereto attached.
By this letter attached, Mr Benjamin Olowodola is also wanted in United Kingdom having sneaked out of UK immediately he lost his phantom consignment at the premises of Eagle Generator Company in UK and laid wait for his prey [Yinusa Owolabi] in Nigeria.
“That a Government delegation led by the Solicitor-General be sent to Morocco to apologise to the person of Yinusa Owolabi who has been dehumanized thoroughly and rendered penniless due to long hunt b his tormentors.
“That the Ministry of Justice should explain their reasons for turning the table against the family of Owolabi through conspiracy of silence after been assured that a mistake in interpretation was made which made a judicial review important and necessary.
5] That the office of the Vice President withdraws the file from the Justice Ministry with a view to ameliorating the conditions of things.
6] That Mr Yinusa Owolabi who is now on the streets of Casablanca in Morocco was captured by camera picking from the dustbins to have his meals be given his freedom and travel documents to reunite with his family since 2016.”
In his response to the petition, the Vice President said that directives had been given to the Inspector-General of Police and the Ministry of Justice to review the matter and act accordingly.
The letter written by the Deputy Chief of State to the President in the office of the Vice President, Ade Ipaya and dated August 2, 2019 read thus:
“Re: Monumental Injustice bon Mr. Yunusa Owolabi by the Inspector General of Police/Interpol and the Justice Ministry (Central Authority Unit)
“I am directed by His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo , SAN, Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria to acknowledge receipt of your petition dated 29 July 2019 on the above stated subject and inform you that it has been forwarded to the Solicitor General of the Federation for urgent review and necessary action.”