By Tony Marinho
For two years Leah Sharibu and other Dapchi victims have been terrorised. Nigeria must rescue them urgently.
More classroom legal learning. The judiciary is shaking up Nigeria, at last. Last week we commented on the Supreme Court’s earth-shattering removal for fraud and deception of a deputy governor-elect with his governor-elect as collateral damage.
This removes rewards for doctoring political and election documentation fraud for all candidates and parties instantly. This week it is the other end of the judiciary.
The least scrutinised area -magistrates’ court- where the legal lesson is taught. The teachers are the duo of Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General of Lagos State Mr Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN) and the Director of Public Affairs [Prosecution] Mr Kayode Oyekami of Lagos State.
They deserve the highest NBA, Legal AID, NGO/CSO and nationwide public adulation, ululation and popular applause with press recognition, awards and recognitions from ‘Peace and Justice’ and ‘Conflict Resolution’ organisations and, as the late murdered Uncle Bola Ige and a former AG of Nigeria, would request- ‘Seven gbosas’.
Why? For the simple act of summarily withdrawing a stupid prosecution of a fellow Nigerian for the non-existent charge of ‘making a video of a traffic warden at work’.
This charge was ‘created out of thin air’, bogus, trumped up and unfortunately the hallmark of police mental and physical torture –‘the fake case’. By entering a ‘nolle prosecui’ the duo of Onigbanjo and Oyekami unpleasantly shocked the police and the magistrate, while delighting the accused, his family, the law profession and Nigeria by withdrawing a no-crime case.
They thus nipped in the bud this tradition of police and legal collusion manifesting as court terrorism, with legal collusion at its worst.
Hurray! But sirs, execute the remaining four steps to complete the circle of justice.
Firstly, calculate and give punishment including financial compensation for ‘wrongful arrest, loss of income, legal fees’ to the victim and bill the arresting officer as a deterrent.
Secondly, the arresting officer should be prosecuted for vindictive crimes including ‘wrongful arrest’, ‘fraudulently arresting on a non-existent law’, ‘deception’ and ‘attempting to extort under false pretences’, ‘exceeding his authority’, ‘maliciously creating a fake crime’, ‘wrongful prosecution’ and ‘abuse of public facilities’, ‘attempts to pervert the course of justice’, ‘mental torture’, ‘misrepresenting government’, ‘bringing government and the police into disrepute’ and ‘temporary loss of livelihood’.
Thirdly, identify all complicit persons including the arresting officer, police station desk officer where the case was reported, station DPO and prosecution lawyers, if any, willing to prosecute the case. Include the court clerk listing the non-case and the magistrate entertaining an illegality – the fake-case.
All should be investigated and prosecuted for ‘abuse of office’, ‘wrong accusation’, ‘wilful deception’ and ‘bringing the government into disrepute’.
Fourthly, teach ‘Citizen’s Rights’ to all uniforms from police and LASTMA College. How can a country encourage tourism if its police create trumped up non-existent charges to arrest those filming daily life – the essence of tourism.
The unchallenged excesses of many in uniform, ‘uniform terrorism’ are ‘horrifyingly legendary’ in Nigeria. Check the social and mainstream media. Usually the passer-by’s camera is the only evidence confirming victims’ stories against the lies of the ‘uniforms’.
This case tells Nigerians that you can monitor and film government and any workers in and out of uniforms, doing good and bad, and it is legal.
We finally have a court case to prove it thanks to the duo of Onigbanjo and Oyekami backed by Governor Sanwo-Olu approving this minor case creating mega-justice waves.
‘No’ to fake-charges and fake-prosecutions! As community policing becomes a reality, this case must be taught in all police colleges, circulated in all police formations and stations and to all magistrates at risk of hearing such rubbish cases but fearing to correct prosecuting officers.
Those who take oaths of office, which always include protecting the rights of citizens almost always, abuse the law and the privilege of their power, instead of upholding the law. Why?
This Onigbanjo/ Oyekami case dismissal milestone is great for the victim, for the citizens, for Lagos State and the Police which should learn to practice human rights instead of manipulating the legal system.
But it will only be complete if we have commensurate punishment with its several components: suspension, sacking, jail time, restitution fines.
We want many more cases thrown out pre-case in court. Nigerians deserve such protection. Now please apply your legal logic and ‘human rights’ approach to the ridiculously high traffic fines recently imposed in Lagos State.
Late Justice Kayode Esho and Lord Denning would be proud of you. Congratulations and thank you.
We face a season of invasions: Locusts need no visas to cause widespread destruction to food crops in East Africa with impending famine.
Meanwhile here in Nigeria, large swathes of farmland has been uncultivated or un-harvested due to the ravages of the war with AK47-bearing herdsmen, bazooka-wielding Boko Haram and ISWAP with an estimated 4-5milion rural citizens displaced to IDP Camps and across Nigeria.
We face daily mounting unexplained death-by-police etc. ‘Yahoo boys’ is a brand almost no youth with a phone or laptop can escape. Look at late Tiyamiu Kazeem, promising footballer dreaming of going international, playing for Remo Stars FC as vice captain’s pathetic end after an unfortunate fatal encounter with police.
The Coronavirus COVID19 with deaths 2,592+, infections 79,000+ is still being kept at bay from Africa in general. Protect yourself, family, workplace, community and country.