The police have detained one of their officers in Lagos on an allegation of filing charges surreptitously against the founder of the Academy of Islamic Propagation (ACADIP), Yusuf Adepoju, and others.
No investigation preceded the filing of the charges, it was also alleged.
The officer whose name was withheld by the police “in deference” to an “ongoing internal process” is being detained at the Zone 2 Command headquarters of the Nigeria Police in Lagos.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the command, Hauwa Idris, who confirmed the detention of the officer to PREMIUM TIMES on the phone, described the conduct as “grievous.”
The arrest and detention of the police officer followed a petition addressed to the police command by the Human Rights Monitoring Agenda (HURMA), a civil society group.
The rights group described the action of the police officer as an overt abuse of power.
HURMA said its petition was against the charge instituted against Mr Adepoju, Muhammed Yahaya and five others.
The matter, purportedly filed by the Legal Unit of the police command, is reportedly pending before a judge of the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, I.N Oweibo.
The case was a fallout of a festering conflict between Mr Adepoju and another public religious comparative debater, Jamiu Adegunwa.
HURMA, in its petition to the Assistant Inspector General of Police for the Zone 2 Command, Lagos, condemned the conduct of the police and accused those behind the action of incompetence, abuse of power and bias against the accused.
The peition dated 7 November was sent on behalf of HURMA by its legal team. It was signed by Lekan Alabi, Principal Partner of Lekan Alabi Chambers.
It was titled, ‘Illegal and Unconstitutional Charge of Messers Yusuf Adepoju, Mubarak Adepoju, Tunde Badmus (A.K.A Uptown), Adelakun Gideon and Abdul-Rasaq Akinola Contrary to the Provisions of Section 36 (1) and amp; (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as Amended).’
The petitioner alleged that the police filed the charges against the named accused persons acting on Mr Adegunwa’s “fictitious” allegations against them.
HURMA’s petition said the police command never invited the accused persons over the allegations of crime levelled against them.
It also noted that the police command never showed any petition alleging any crime against them either by Mr Adegunwa or any other persons before a charge was pressed against them.
“Your Command did not investigate the allegation of cyber-crime levied against them by one Ustaz Jamiu Adegunwa or any other person(s),” HURMA wrote.
It noted that the accused persons were “highly surprised and embarrassed” to learn of the pending charge against them.
“It is very difficult to believe that your highly strategic Command supervising two states of the federation could file a charge against the complainants in respect of an offence that was never investigated. To erase any doubt in your mind, the charge was filed by one E.I Onime Esq under the supervision of CSP Paul Idenyemin Esq,” the petition also read in part.
The petitioner expressed regrets that the men in the Legal Unit could allow themselves to be turned to “a weapon of vendetta”.
HURMA said the police officers in charge of the matter are not only biased, but also “vindictive”.
The organisation maintained that both the police officers and the accuser “have violated the complainant’s herein fundamental human rights to fair hearing as entrenched in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”
Police confirm allegation
Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES, the PRO of the police command, Ms Idris, said she already met with the Officer in Charge of the Legal Unit at the Command, Paul Idenyemin, a chief superintendent of policee, over the matter.
She said Mr Idenyemin confirmed that one of his subordinates filed the matter in court.
She added that the officer accused of filing the charge in breach of procedure was already facing the music.
She said: “Yes, the O/C legal confirmed to me that something like that happened but that he wasn’t the one that did it. It was somebody that works in his office who did it without his consent, and that disciplinary action has already been taken against that officer.
“So as I have just told you, an action has been taken and I am aware the legal unit is putting one or two things together to see how to make peace between the two aggrieved parties.
“I can tell you that even up to now the officer is still in detention because the unit was worried about why he would go and do such a thing without letting your boss know- such a grievous act.”
Reacting to the matter, Mr Adegunwa confirmed to our reporter over the phone that he wrote the petition that led to the court case.
He said he wrote the petition to defend his reputation, as he also justified the charges filed based on his complaint.
Mr Adegunwa comfirmed that he had been having issues with Mr Adepoju since 2019.
He alleged that, at the time, he was arrested on Mr Adepoju’s instruction after a programme he attended in Iwo, Osun State. He said he was detained for one night in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
However, he said the latest matter started in September 2021 when he had a programme on his Youtube page and was informed that a participant, who he named Mohammed Yahaya, had posted abuses against him in the comment section.
“When my boys later found out from him, I was told that Mohammed Yahaya said I was a fraudster and that he sought my help and I requested N25,000,” he said.
Mr Adegunwa said his preliminary investigations revealed that Mr Adepoju was involved in the matter.
He further said: “So when I realised that they were all out to damage my reputation I petitioned the Commissioner of Police and when I realised that they didn’t allow that to fly, I did the same to the Zone to Command.
“While the matter was about to be taken to court, the late AIG Joseph Egbunike requested the file and it was transferred to the Force Headquarters in Abuja. But after his death, the matter was returned to Zone 2 Command in Lagos.”
Mr Adegunwa confirmed that he approached the AIG in charge of the Zone 2 command in Lagos, and that he and his lawyer visited the legal unit of the command after the matter was transfered there to appeal for the court option.
“The day I visited the legal unit, the O/C legal was not on the seat but I met an officer called Idowu Onime and I requested that the matter be taken to court. So every party to the case including Adepoju, was diligently served. So what is the problem with that?” he added.
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