Ile-Ife crisis: Falana, OPC flay Police over parade of suspects

Activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) and Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) (Reformed) have berated the Police over the recent parade of the detained members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria and the 20 persons arrested in connection with the crisis in Ile-Ife, Osun State.

They described the parade of the suspects as illegal and a violation of their fundamental human rights.

Falana asked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) to order the arrest and prosecution of law enforcement personnel who engaged in the media parade of the suspects.

The OPC Reformed chided the governors in the Southwest for keeping silent over what it termed selective parade of the Yoruba.

Falana said the detained members of the Peace Corps and the Ile Ife 20 who have been paraded by the Police Authorities are at liberty to sue the Federal Government for aggravated and exemplary damages.

He recalled that when the police on February 26 conducted a media trial and parade of the detained 49 members of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, he condemned their action and pointed out the fact that “the parade of criminal suspects by the Police in the country is illegal and unconstitutional.”

The lawyer also recalled that shortly after the incident, there was a violent clash between the Yoruba and Hausa communities in Ile Ife, Osun State during which 20 suspects arrested by the police were paraded before the media in Abuja last week, noting that since the suspects are of Yoruba extraction the Afenifere has condemned the selective arrest by the police.

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He noted that though the courts have repeatedly cautioned the law enforcement agencies to desist from parading criminal suspects before the media, the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris has justified the illegal practice.

Falana, however, described the IGP’s defence as that “which smacks of official impunity and insensitivity. Notwithstanding that such media parade is prejudicial to the fundamental right of criminal suspects to fair hearing, the ruling class has not stopped it because it is part of the humiliation of lowly placed citizens. Hence, while it is not unusual to parade poor criminal suspects who are accused of stealing handsets whose value is less than N10,000 it is infra dignitate to parade rich and powerful criminal suspects who loot the treasury to the tune of several billions of Naira”.

The OPC Reformed, in a statement  by its President, Dare Adesope said the group will stage a massive protest through out the entire Southwest states and it’s going to commence on same day, same time and for same hours, if the Southwest governors fail to do something about the incident urgently.

“After waiting for this long without any governor in the Southwest saying anything, we found it very compelling to tell our governors in the western part of this country that we  are saying enough of this nefarious acts across the country by the Hausa/Fulanis.

“We of OPC ( Reformed) voted for PMB inspite of threats, oppression and intimidation from some angles. We voted him so as to bring about a positive change to the whole country and not to run a government that will favour a particular tribe at the expense of other tribes in the country.

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“In as much as we appreciate what he is doing in the area of corruption, he should be fair to all other tribes as well.

The group challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to make his stand known concerning Ile Ife crisis where Yoruba were arrested to favour the Hausa/Fulani and taken to Abuja.

It raised four issues for which it requested the Federal Government to provide answer :

“Since the Fulani Herdsmen have been encroaching people’s land killing, rapping and destroying their farms, how many have been arrested and taken to Abuja? Who identified the Yoruba people that were arrested as suspects during the crisis?

“Is it fair to arrest only the Yorubas in a crisis that affected the Yoruba and the Hausa/Fulanis on our soil?. Is it constitutionally right to arrest them in Ife,Osun State and take them to Abuja?”

They asked the Federal Government to instruct the Police to transfer the suspects back to Osun State.



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