By Rebecca Ejifoma
The Convener of #EndSARS, Mr. Segun Awosanya, has urged the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Mohammed Adamu, to make public the findings of a panel set up to investigate the extortion of a UK-based Nigerian, Mr Bankole Oni Ogunnowo by some policemen.
Awosanya, a popular social media influencer, on his twitter handle @Segalink made reference to Ogunnowo’s protracted case, which is yet to have closure.
The case, which involved UK and Nigerian police, had been investigated and rested by the UK government, but their Nigerian counterpart has continued to lag on the case.
The call to close the case officially became necessary after allegations that different policemen, under the guise of investigation, continued to extort Ogunnowo.
According to the petition, policemen attached to the Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos State, who had allegedly collected money from Ogunnowo’s estranged wife, Eileen, labelled him a human trafficker.
It also alleged that another set of policemen, attached to Interpol department, Abuja, came up with trump up charges against him and urged the Metropolitan Police to extradite him.
The call made the UK Police to launch an investigation, with the case even going to court where Ogunnowo was found not guilty.
However, according to the UK Police, Ogunnowo’s life was not safe, at least not until the Nigerian Police dropped the call for his extradition against him. If the extradition call is not dropped, Ogunnowo will not be able to come down to Nigeria to see him aged mother and other family members.
Ogunnowo, in petition titled, ‘Breach of my fundamental rights by SP Usman Mohammed, SP Fasimoye Bukola Rita, DSP John Oluwarotimi, Olarewaju Lawal, attached to Interpol and general investigation units, FCID, Abuja, and FCID, Alagobon,’ asked the IG to investigate the policemen and that the trump up charges against him be dropped.
He later got to hear that the IG had called for an investigation and the policemen indicted. He was further told that the panel’s report had been submitted to the IG. The petition was submitted last year, but till date, the IG had kept mum on Ogunnowo’s extradition.
Awosanya, who had become a force to be reckoned with in his activism against police violations of human rights, said: “The UK authorities believe that our fellow citizen Mr Bankole is not safe to even visit his own country based on the level of conspiracy weaponised against him by the police even after discharging him abroad. We need closure having found that this is another work of impunity.
“There is no way a crime of this magnitude should be swept under any proverbial carpet. We need the report ASAP in the public domain and urgently must bring to book all those involved. The IG of @PoliceNG should prioritise this. #EndImpunity.”
The petitioner stated that he got married to Eileen, a British citizen of Nigeria extraction at the Ikeja Marriage Registry, Lagos on February 18, 2012. The lovers met in Nigeria and after the wedding, Eileen facilitated Ogunnowo’s move to the UK.
He alleged that the marriage soon became turbulent after his wife and mother-in-law allegedly approached his employer, demanding his salary should be handed to them, after which they would give him whatever they deemed fitting, adding his refusal led to constant domestic squabble, culminating in a divorce.
Ogunnowo: “Since then, my estranged wife and her mother vowed to get me deported to Nigeria, send me to prison or have me killed. They backed their threats with actions by coming up with spurious, baseless and malicious allegations of crimes against me here in the UK.
“ The allegations were duly investigated by both the UK Police and family court and I was found not culpable. When they failed in achieving their aim through the UK institutions where things work, they reverted to using their cronies in Nigeria to come up with same allegations that had been investigated in the UK against me and my family members in Nigeria. The policemen allowed themselves to be used as tools.”
The petitioner further explained: “My estranged wife and her mother as I got to know later were in constant communication with these policemen in Nigeria. When all attempts at FCID, Alagbon and Ondo State failed, they wrote a letter to Interpol Unit, Abuja for my extradition.
“The police in Lagos, acting with their co-conspirators and collaborators in Abuja, without any attempt to extend the investigation to me or contact me in spite of the fact that I am not a fugitive criminal in the UK, my whereabouts is known to the UK Government and Nigeria High Commission in London, concluded a purported investigation and filed a trump up charge against me at the Federal High Court, Abuja with charge no FHC/ABJ/CR/71/18 which I only got to know about when the extradition papers were sent to the UK.
“Again, it is worthy of note that the Police Interim Investigation report dated May 8, 2017, addressed to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), FCID from the Office of the Commissioner of Police (Interpol) and the subsequent approval to commence the extradition process carries the offences of Criminal Conspiracy, Cheating and Obtaining under False Pretense.
“The warrant of arrest, dated November 20, 2017, from the Magistrate Court, Wuse, Abuja, which was obtained by the police as part of the extradition requirement carries the offences of threat to life, falsification of documents and impersonation.”
According to the petitioner, it was on the basis of the flawed process that his extradition was brought by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation to answer to the frivolous charge that was before the Federal High Court, Abuja as requested by the policemen.
He further alleged that “after receiving the extradition, I contacted the Office of the Interpol Abuja, followed with a letter furnishing the unit with facts. The officers who assisted my ex-wife to facilitate the charges had since then been extorting me, over a N1million, claiming they needed to facilitate withdrawal of the malicious charges against me.
“In spite of paying all these demanded, the so-called charges are still pending against me. My entry into the United Kingdom was legal, my continuous stay till date in the UK is also legal as my immigration documents can show. I’m not an illegal immigrant. The alleged offences for which my extradition is being sought are not extraditable offences as stated in the general rule that extricable offences must be those commonly recognised.
“ I most humbly urge you sir, to order a comprehensive investigation into this case, bring all the policemen who are found wanting in compromising their position and office to book with a view to bringing the name and image of the Nigeria Police to ridicule and disrepute. There should also be an order to withdraw the frivolous charges against me at the Federal High Court.”