Robbery: Trouble in MKO Abiola’s House as 2 Sons Spend Day 11 in Detention

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•Complaints by one of his wives influenced arrest of Kassim and Aliyu
• Detainees seek release, demand N100m damages, apology

By Davidson Iriekpen

The controversies generated by the robbery incident in the Ikeja residence of late Chief Moshood Abiola, presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 Presidential Election, on September 12, took a twist yesterday as the two sons of the late politician, Kassim and Aliyu, detained over the incident filed for the enforcement of their fundamental human rights in court.

The Applicants told the court that they were discriminatorily singled out as a result of a complaint by their step mum, Mrs. Adebisi Abiola, which allegedly accused them of complicity in the robbery.

They told the court that Police had since conducted several searches at their apartments but nothing incriminating or connecting them with any alleged stolen item belonging to their step mum was found.

Describing the suspicion of their alleged involvement in the robbery as “completely false and malicious in its entirety”, the duo said the allegation was “meant to disparage their persons and their immediate nuclear family, not being biological children of the complainant”.

They argued: “That their being singled out for continuous detention and torment is simply because they are not the biological children of the complainant, Mrs Adebisi Abiola, as her own children and aides staying in the same premises were left untouched.”

Following the invasion of some gun-wielding robbers at the Toyin Crescent residence of the late politician, the police had arrested a number of suspects including the two Abiola sons.

The suspects, initiated their legal battle at an Ikeja High Court. The duo, through their lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN) applied for the enforcement of their rights to personal liberty, dignity of person, right to private and family life, as well as right to freedom of movement.

They told the court that they were unlawfully arrested and detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Ikeja, following a complaint by Adebisi, after the robbery incident.

The Applicants consequently filed an exparte motion and an affidavit of urgency, seeking an accelerated hearing within the ongoing vacation period.

When the case came up yesterday, before the Ikeja High Court vacation Judge, Justice Abiola Soladoye, Messrs Chimaobi Onuigbo and Ejieke Onuoha, holding the brief of Chief Ozekhome, prayed the court to grant bail to the detainees due to their poor health and lengthy detention period in the SARS dungeon since the September 2, 2020.

However, the judge adjourned the matter to October 15, 2020 and ordered that the file be returned to the Assistant Chief Registrar for a re-assignment to a non – vacation Judge for hearing. He also directed that the Commissioner of Police, who is the sole Defendant in the matter, be put on notice.

Specifically, they sought “A declaration that the arrest and subsequent dehumanisation and the continuous detention of the Applicants since 2nd September, 2020, by operatives of the Respondent on the alleged Petition/Complaint of one Mrs Adebisi Abiola, without granting them administrative bail within 24 hours of their arrest, are illegal, wrongful, unlawful and constitutes a blatant violation of fundamental rights.”

They also applied for “A declaration that the Applicants are entitled to public apology and adequate compensation from the Respondent as provided for by section 35(6) and 46(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as altered, Sections 2, 3(1) (2), 17(1) (2), 18 (1) (2) (3), 19, 21 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, Lagos State, 2015, for the blatant violation of the Applicants’ fundamental rights without following the due process of law.

Their prayers included “An order of perpetual injunction restraining the Respondent whether by itself, its agents, employees, operatives, detectives, investigating officer(s), or by whatever name called, from further inviting, arresting or detaining the Applicant on the facts of an alleged Petition/Complaint made by one Mrs Adebisi Abiola, in relation to a purported or alleged robbery incident to which they know absolutely nothing about”.

The Abiola children also asked for “An order of this honourable court directing the Respondent and his operatives and agents to release forthwith the Applicants from the detention of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, detention center of the Respondent.

Aside for a demand for an apology for their ordeals, the Applicants equally asked for an order to compel the Respondent to pay them N100million as exemplary damages for the “wanton and grave violation” of their fundamental rights.