The Ilorin Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association has condemned the recent assault and brutality of one of its own, Lukman O. Bello Esq. who was manhandled by the Police on the 16th day of October, 2018. The attack was equally meted out on the branch’s chairman, Mr. MAI Akande and Dr. Adua Mustapha in an effort to secure L. O. Bello’s release. The Ilorin Branch of the NBA has since sprung into action to bring the perpetrators to book and also forestall future occurrences; a trend that has been very worrisome in recent time.

The internet was agog with the news that our own Lukman Bello Esq. was assaulted, brutalized, stripped of his clothes and locked up in police cell. Information made available to NBAIlorinVoice reveals that Lukman Olarewaju Bello went to the A Division Police Station on 16th October, 2018 at about 4.30pm to attend to his Client’s case with the traffic section of the station. Unfortunately, however, while trying to pass through the Police Training School to the traffic section, he was challenged by the police student of the Training School manning the gate. While our own Lukman Olarewaju Bello introduced himself as a lawyer and his mission at the Station, some students of the Training School numbering about fifteen students acting under the instruction of the Senior Officers in charge which included one Mulikat Adeyemi mercilessly beat, harassed and humiliated Lukman Bello Esq. by stripping him naked in the full glare of the public and remanded him in the police cell.

This ugly incident was not unnoticed by L. O. Bello’s client who called some of his colleagues in the office who in turn called the Chairman, NBA, Mr. Ayoola Idowu.

Regrettably, when our Chairman and Dr. Ismail Adua, also a member of the Branch, got to the Station and while trying to settle the matter in the presence of the Head Master and the Commandant of the School, the Chairman and Dr. Ismail were, also in a gruesome manner, rough handled by the police officers including a Police, Mulikat Adeyemi. Sadly, our members including the Chairman were verbally insulted, calling them fake lawyers. They were equally subjected to inhuman treatment notwithstanding that they properly identified themselves as lawyers. In fact, our own Lukman O. Bello was detained in the Police cell stripped naked leaving only his boxer pant and singlet and all his belongings were taken away from him for more than two hours before they were later returned.

The NBA chairman and Dr. Mustapha Adua were equally subjected to the same treatment by the Police in an effort to secure his release.

Our own L. O. Bello Esq. has since been hospitalized and receiving treatment from the horrible experience suffered in the course of the police brutality.

 

The incident has been a recurring theme in the Police brutality series against legal practitioners in the Ilorin metropolis and it is on this note that the Ilorin Branch of the NBA demands a halt at once. This must stop. We are honourable and dignified persons and we deserve some honour from the officers of Nigerian Police when we perform our lawful duties.

It is from the foregoing that the NBA Ilorin branch called an emergency meeting with its members for a way forward.  During the meeting which was well attended by members of the branch as well as members of other branches of the NBA who felt concerned, the Ilorin  Branch of the NBA came up with a number of resolutions towards bringing the concerned police officers to book and also forestall future occurrence of the ugly incident.

The resolutions are as follows:

1. A strongly worded letter to be written to the Inspector General of Police on the incident and other bodies, agencies and offices, including the Attorney General’s Office and the National Human Rights Commission should be copied.


2. File legal actions (both civil and Criminal Proceedings) against the Nigeria Police.


3. Demand for a Quick Response Desk for lawyers at all Police formations in Nigeria.


4. Peaceful protest to be held within the Court premises or selected areas of Ilorin (modalities to be communicated to members)


5. Legal teams to prosecute the suits to be constituted by the NBA Branch Chairman / Officers


6. Hold a press conference on the NBA’s stance on the ugly incident.


7. Discuss a way forward to eradicate the lingering tussles between the Police and Legal practitioners, including the undue treatment faced by legal practitioners with police prosecutors.

 

Abdulhafeez Olayinka Mohammad
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