A foremost civil right lawyer and activist, Dr. Kayode Ajulo, has again faulted the arrest of the three Oodua People’s Congress’ Members, OPC, who were involved in the arrest of the kidnap kingpin allegedly to be terrorising the Ibarapa area of Oyo state, Iskil Wakilu, by the men of the Nigerian Police Force, NPF.
Ajulo, who quoted section 12 of Criminal Procedure Act, Section 28(d) of Criminal Procedure Code as well as the Supreme Court Judgment in the case of Nweke V. The State (1965) 1 ALL NLR 114, said the trio has committed no crime. He said a certain section of the Nigerian criminal laws permits citizens arrest of a suspected criminal even without a warrant.
“Like any other law enforcement agents/officers, an ordinary Nigerian can arrest any person reasonably suspected of having committed a felony, a crime punishable with three years imprisonment or more. In such circumstances, you don’t need a police officer to arrest such a suspect and if in arresting such a person, you threaten or assault such person, you will not be liable. And after an arrest, you are to handover such person to a police officer or the nearest police station” Ajulo said.
Earlier while speaking to newsmen, Ajulo had describe the arrest as an unfortunate development and demanded the release of the arrested OPC men, noting that the activities of Iskil Wakilu in Ibarapa area of Oyo state have been so rife that the men of the Nigerian Police Force were expected to have confronted it but nothing seemed to be coming forth.
He said it was regrettable that the Police would later turn against the OPC operatives who made the job of the Police more easier by turning in the alleged kidnap kingpin.
Ajulo at that time said, the Police ought to have recognised the fact that the arrested men of the OPC were not acting in isolation but as registered members of an age long sectional group saddled with the utmost responsibility of defending the integrity of Yorubaland, that ” by a matter of exigency are backed by sons and daughters of Yorubaland to ensure that pockets of insecurity being witnessed in the South West doesn’t degenerate further”
The former National Secretary of Labour Party, said that the OPC men had acted as law abiding citizens to have apprehended Wakilu and handed him over to the police, rather than being unlawfully killed. He described the arrest by the police as inappropriate, that it’s sending wrong signals to the populace.
The lawyer who is Mayegun Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yoruba stated that the Yoruba tribe has been in the vanguard of justice, equality and equity in Nigeria and will not shy away from demanding justice irrespective of the persons, tribes and Nations involved.
“From time immemorial and at the inception of Nigeria Statehood, the Yorubas have continued to promote fair justice and have also been the foremost advocate of true freedom. The late Sardauna of Sokoto and Premier of the defunct Northern Nigeria Region, Sir. Ahmadu Bello, was unrelentingly defended in and outside of the court by Late Chief Bode Thomas from Oyo State, and fought to seek justice for the Fulani Prince during a tensed trial time” Ajulo declared.
“Chief GOK Ajayi, SAN, other Yoruba and a Progressive patriot also fought for justice for Alhaji Abdulrahman Shugaba, a Kanuri from the North East region when he was deported by Nigerian government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari.
Ajulo said “from Zango-Kataf, to Jalingo, Bauchi, East and West, Yoruba patriots have been defending people’s rights and freedom irrespective of religion, tribe and ethnicity, saying Yorubas will not shy away from seeking justice for people’s right once it’s perceived to have been trampled upon” Zamani Lekwot, El-Zazaky etc are leaving testimonials of Yorubas quest for justice and freedom.
“It is on this backdrop I unequivocally demand the immediate release of the three members of the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC) Citizen Adedigba Awodele, Citizen Hassan Ramoni, and Citizen Dauda Kazeem presently detained at Iyaganku Police Command Ibadan, for the apprehension of the kidnap kingpin Iskil Wakilu.” Ajulo concluded.