An Ilorin High Court has summoned the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to appear before it on Wednesday next week over the continued detention of Lekan Alabi, Personal Assistant to Kwara state Governor.
The wants the police boss to justify reasons for continued detention of Alabi who was arrested over the April 5, 2018 armed robbery in Offa and has been in detention in the last three months.
The police was not represented at the court on Friday during proceedings although Ibrahim Adelodun (SAN), counsel to the applicant, told the court they had been served all the processes related to the case. The case was brought to Ilorin following the refusal of a Federal High court in Abuja to hear it as the alleged crime was committed in Kwara state.
Alabi has been in detention since May 28, 2018 and has not been arraigned before any court of law, a development Adelodun, argued is in contravention of the provisions of Order 4, Rules 3 and 4 of the Fundamental Rights enforcement procedure rules (2009) as well as Sections 34, 35, 36, 37, 41 And 46 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While moving application for an interim bail for his client pending determination of the substantive application, Adelodun had pointed out that the detention of the applicant for 60 days without trial is a prima facie case of a breach of his rights to liberty as enshrined in section 35 (7) of the constitution and pointed out that Section 122 of the Evidence Act empowers the court to take judicial notice of the time involved in the exchange of written addresses and affidavit by parties which can compound the suffering of the applicant.
“We are not asking the court to declare our client guilty or innocent at this stage but the police has no right to keep a suspect forever”, he said citing the decision of the Appeal Court in the case of EFCC vs Akingbola to buttress his submission.
Justice Adebayo Yusuf, while making the order summoning the police boss, said there was nothing in the constitution that allows the detention of a suspect without trial for a period beyond 24 hours where there is a court or 48 hours in environment where there is no court.
The judge acknowledged that the position of the SAN was in line with the law but decided to allow the police another opportunity to defend its position.
He said: “The position of the law is as stated by the learned silk, however, I’m inclined to hear from the respondent to come to court and show cause why the applicant should not be released from their custody since they have been served the motion on notice.”
Meanwhile, Adelodun who is also the lead counsel to Babatunde AbdulWahab the Chief of Staff to the governor, who has been granted bail by another high court in the state over the same offa robbery case has expressed disappointment that Abdulwahab had, allegedly, not been released by the police despite meeting the bail condition.
The lawyer told newsmen after the Friday’s proceeding that the refusal of the police to obey the court order on AbdulWahab was worrisome as it portends grave dangers to the deepening of democracy and might lead to a loss of confidence in the fairness of the police to handle such cases among the populace.