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Saturday 4 November 2017

Police Invitation: Omisore, lawyers, human rights activist Speak

Police Invitation: Omisore, lawyers, human rights activist Speak

Senator Iyiola Omisore

The recent invitation of the former deputy governor of Osun State and Ex. Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Iyiola Omisore, by Mr. Umege Uzochukwu, a deputy commissioner of Police in charge of Osun State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, has been generating a lot of furore in the media.

Many have queried the way and manner the invitation was circulated widely to various online and offline media houses.

A Lagos based online blogger, names withheld, disclosed that he became suspicious the way and manner the Police Invitation was written and attached to a press statement with a tone of urgency for them to publish the material last weekend.

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“It was sent out from same source with a tone of urgency and we became suspicious. Moreso, it was dated October 20, 2017 why sending it on October 27?”

In his response, Senator Omisore has described his invitation as a sinister plot by some powerful interests in the ruling opposition party in his state, All Progressives Congress (APC) to get him out of circulation ahead of 2018 gubernatorial election in the state by using the Nigeria Police to frame him on trumped up charges.

Omisore, who was the Chairman Appropriation Committee while serving the Senate, stated in a press release personally signed by him, stated that these opposition elements are apparently working with the Nigeria Police or some of their officers to realise their sinister plot against his person.

“In the invitation, I was asked to report to the said DCP Uzochukwu that the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke, had reported a case of assault against me to them. And I wondered when Senator Adeleke (may God rest his soul) made the report as no date was given in the said invitation. The police invitation letter was dated 20th October 2017”, he quizzed.

Some legal experts who have been paying attention to the development have queried the legality or otherwise of the letter. Reacting to the police invitation, A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Nathaniel Oke, described the action of the police as “political harassment.”

According to Oke (SAN), “Police have the statutory power to invite any individual who is suspected to have committed any offence for the purpose of carrying out their investigation to determine whether criminal offence has actually been committed or not.

The only area that is actually worrying me is that, when Senator Isiaka Adeleke himself was alive, what step did the police actually take to unravel and probably prosecute Senator Iyiola Omisore?

Therefore, to me, it is a political harassment. It is a political intimidation.

“The question is this; Senator Adeleke was alive since 2014 before he died in 2017. Now, where is the complainant as far as that criminal allegation is concerned?

Will evidence now be given on behalf of the deceased? I don’t think it is proper. They have the right to invite him for the purpose of interrogation, but the fact is that, this is political harassment.

“The point I am making is that, what were the police doing as at the time the person who was purportedly assaulted was alive. Why after the demise of Senator Adeleke?” Oke interrogated.

In his own argument, a lecturer at the faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU Ile- Ife, Mr. Musibau Lateef, described the police action as “absurdity and ridiculous.

“It is the height of absurdity. Assault that happened in 2014, as a matter of law, you cannot maintain a crime of assault which is a personal injury on behalf of a dead person.

For the sake of God, Senator Adeleke is late, can anybody legally speaking, bring an action of assault on his behalf?

The answer is no, legally speaking, and that is why I said, for me, it is a sign of ignorance and it is quite ridiculous.

“The police have the right under section 2(11) of the Constitution and police Act, to invite anybody, but in this context, it is the height of ignorance. I’m speaking as a matter of law; it is not possible to sustain a matter of assault on behalf of the dead person. It is a personally injury crime that only the person who suffered the injury must testify.

Reacting to whether the evidence of the late Adeleke before the commission of enquiry can be admitted on oath, the law lecturer said, “we are talking about crime here; no commission of enquiry, I repeat, no commission has the right to indict anyone on criminal offense.

“So, whatever the findings of the commission in this respect goes to nothing. Who will come to court to tender the statement?

This is not a matter of controversy and that is why I used ignorance deliberately, it is the height of ignorance.

“We are not talking of murder here because murder would have been different, but he slapped me, he kicked me, how do you prove that?

It is ridiculous and height of ignorance. Going by the content of the letter that he was invited in connection with the 2014 issue, it is ignorance on the part of the police. The content of the letter has rubbished whatever may be the reason for the invitation.

“Senator Omisore may refuse to go. He can simply tell his lawyer to go and explain to them. You have the right not to subject yourself to such ridiculous invitation”, Lateef explained.

Speaking in the same vein, Barrister Oluwaseun Ijoba, said, “The police have not been responsible in handling this issue. If the letter did not state particularly the reason they invited him, it would have been something else.

Now, I begin to wonder, what intelligence, what new fact would emerge after the death of this man about seven months ago that did not emerge in three years after the alleged act. I couldn’t see any reason for this invitation rather than political harassment.

“It is mere allegation against Senator Omisore. It has not been proved. There’s no way the police would justify their position presently after three years!. If there is no opportunity to cross examine a witness, to test the veracity of the statement made by the witness, the statement amount to nothing.

A human right lawyer, Mr. Kanmi Ajibola, said “the invitation by the police to Otunba Iyiola Omisore is very wrongful and offensive. The cause of complaints given to the police by the late Senator Adeleke had passed off with his death.

The police should be very careful on careless and unproductive invitation like this”. He wondered why the police have not prosecuted the case since 2014 when it was reported to them.

But the former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in the state, Mr. Wale Afolabi, maintained that criminal case can be prosecuted any time, even after the death of the complainant.

“Police has the right to invite anybody for questioning once there is a report of alleged crime. Don’t forget that the law is no respecter of anybody. No matter highly placed, the police have the right to invite such person for interrogation’, Afolabi asserted.

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Explaining further his initial position and the politics behind the unusual invitation, Senator Omisore said, “We all know that as Nigerians we are living in a very interesting time.

The culture now is to source for scapegoats in members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for every inaction of government. The tragic instance in which the late former Osun State governor, a distinguished senator of the Federal Republic, died is still fresh in our memories, particularly the controversy that his death generated across the nation.

“What is also fresh in our collective memory is the decision by the good people of Osun State to reward the late Senator Adeleke and people of Ede by electing his brother to complete his term in the Senate. The people’s decision of course was carried out by our great party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”

“Could this invitation by the police have been anchored on the role I played as a party leader in that election? Omisore probed. Wondering how the police could allow themselves to be brazenly used against the people they are expected to protect.

“Therefore, I want the public to know about the plot and keep them informed about this sinister plot against myself and the memory of Senator Adeleke,” Omisore concluded.

Signed : Fakorede Jide

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