By Peter Ejiofor
Lagos, Jan. 4, 2022: The Human & Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, says it is dissatisfied with the widely reported arrest of some security guards by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, CP Hakeem Odumosu.
Odumosu reportedly arrested some security guards and a passer-by widow with three children, at Brooks Estate in Magodo, Lagos on Jan. 1, 2022.
HEDA in a statement by its Chairman, Suraj Olanrewaju, on Tuesday in Lagos that it was reported and admitted by the force that the Commissioner of Police was on a “private social visit’’ to a friend holding a function in the estate, thus, was expected to act in a civil manner befitting his class in the society.
HEDA said more so, it was expected of Odumosu to show a sense of mental maturity by playing by the rules guiding entry and exit of the estate executed by the security guards.
“As we know, there are rules guiding every territory, since Mr Commissioner was not going for a war (where protocol in an environment may be thwarted), one expects him to follow the unbureaucratic due process at the main gate as it is obtained in every organised climes.
“We are not ignorant of those sentiments which triggered the CP’s actions against those diligent security guards. The brouhaha — particularly the gridlock at Isheri, this incident has caused is disturbing and highly condemnable.
“We are also not unaware that the Nigeria Police would not spare anyone who tries to disobey its protocol at the entry point of its facilities or anyone who resists its security personnel at the gate.
“If the publics are expected to cooperate with the police at any point in time, why would the police not respect other people’s rules?’’
The statement recalled that there were so many reports in the past against the outgoing Commissioner of Police being promoted to Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) on Human Rights abuses and abuse of office.
It noted that a typical instance was the case of American Woman Kari Ann R’ouke, who sued Odumosu in March 2021, in a Federal High Court in Lagos, for alleged Illegal Detention, and demands N100 million as compensation.
According to her prayer to the court, her continued detention without being charged is illegal and unconstitutional, and therefore asked the court to free her from the custody of the police.
The statement further said that in 2021, Justice Akintayo Aluko of the Federal High Court in Lagos State, ordered the Inspector-General of Police (I-G), Usman Baba, to obey an order seeking the release of a truck unlawfully seized and detained by the Divisional Police Officer and the Divisional Crime Officer of the Isolo Police Division, Lagos State, since December 21, 2020, under the watch of CP Odumosu.
It said Justice Aluko also ordered the I-G to produce the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, and the other officers who were co-respondents in court for contempt proceedings over alleged violation of the court’s order.
HEDA having cited the above, reiterated that “in our quest to protect and promote universally recognised human rights, accountability and environmental justice in Nigeria and Africa, in accordance with international standards, through research and publications, campaigns, human rights education and empowerment projects and programmes, we in the civic space would never keep silent over any action or inaction targeted at citizens to dehumanise them.
“As permanent enemy of oppression and exploitation perpetuated by sadists across from different quarters, we call on the I-G to begin to `work on the ego of officers and men of the force’ to make them begin to treat Nigerians as human beings NOT ‘Like’ Human beings or anything less than Human.
“Following the wide condemnation of Police brutality in recent past, Nigerians expect to see the fruits positive changes in the ongoing mental, emotional, psychological rebirth of Police personnel.’’
HEDA added: “We invite the Inspector-General of Police to order an investigation into the misuse of privilege by the Lagos Commissioner of Police.
“HEDA further calls on the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwoolu, as the elected Governor of State and Chief Security officer to apologise to the affected victims of Odumosu’s breach of public peace and violation of human rights.’’