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MOTHER, 5-MONTH-OLD BABY DETAINED

By NBF News
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A Lagos-based pastor, has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Hafiz Ringim, accusing some policemen at the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), Lagos, and Ijede Police Station, Ikorodu, of being used by a land agent, to harass and detain his wife, who is nursing a new born baby. He also accused them of seizing his two cars over a large expanse of land located at Ogijo, Ogun State, belonging to the family.

The two-page petition, dated July 6, 2011, and signed by Matthew Adeyeri, the family's spokesman, accused one Deacon Hassan (land speculator) of using policemen from the Federal SARS to arrest him for demanding for an account of the money realised from the family land, sold to various persons and a company.

Weeks after the directive by the IGP to Federal SARS in Lagos, via a memo dated, July 7, 2011, to transfer the case to X-squad, the officers are still holding on to the case file, while security personnel from X-squad visited Adeniji Adele office of the FSARS to retrieve the case file without success, thereby, fuelling speculation that they have special interest in the matter.

In the petition, the complainant brought to the notice of the IG, the unprofessional acts and gross abuse of their positions by the policemen, who shot their guns sporadically and unlawfully seized his property and that of a surveyor engaged in the land. His words: 'The issue is that we have a family land at Ogijo, Ogun State, measuring about 65 acres.

As the spokesman of the family, I discovered that some members of the family sold part of the land to some white men, unknown to us. I contacted one Deacon Tayo Hassan, a land agent, through one Olumide Okiria, to help sue the white men for compensation with a promise that after the exercise, he would be given part of the land for his efforts.

'He later came to me and said he could not trust Olumide Okiria. Before I knew it, he had written an agreement with some members of the family to take possession of the land without my notice. I don't know what happened between him and those members of my family.'

According to him, on Tuesday, July 5, some policemen from Ijede Police Station, who were said to be acting on the instruction of the FSARS, came to his house, fired gunshots into the air, beat up his two wives, one of whom was nursing a baby, vandalised and removed three cars beefore taking them to the station.

He alleged that one Abiodun Otuwa, who was visiting him, was also manhandled and detained at the police station. 'I can't enter my house now for fear of being killed by policemen from FSARS. The situation is so tense such that I cannot go close to my house,' he said.

The cleric urged the IG to rescue him as policemen are not known to be land speculators (Omonile). 'That is why I am writing (petition) to you to save me from the policemen from Ijede station, being used by Hasan and FSARS.' The young man, who had been taking refuge in his friend's house, urged the IG in the petition to take immediate action to save his life and those of other family members to avert another case of extra-judicial killings.

Daily Sun gathered that the IG had responded to the petition via a letter, dated July 6, and copied to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, in-charge of 'D' Department (FCID), Abuja, for necessary action.

The letter, from the IG was signed by his Principal Staff Officers III and it was also learnt that FSARS, Lagos, had been ordered to hands off the case while the actors in the land case would soon be invited to Abuja. Following the intervention of a lawyer, the surveyor was released from detention alongside his car but he had injuries in the head, legs and other parts of his body while the wives and the five- month-old baby were also released three days later. The two cars, belonging to the spokesman of the family, are still being held at the police station.

Reacting to the allegation, Deacon Hassan told Daily Sun that he and the other family members wrote petitions to the IG, stating how Adeyeri and Okiria, his former boy, allegedly used armed thugs to threaten him and others over the land. He claimed that it was based on that, that the FSARS, ordered the Ijede Police Station to arrest them but denied that his (Adeyeri) wives and the five-month-old baby were detained. He also admitted that cars were removed from his house to the station.

Hassan revealed that the four families of Oremuti gave him the power of attorney last year and to also get compensation from the firm that constructed structures on some portions of the land without their approval. He said: 'The family gave me the job to do and also the power of attorney. I acknowledge that Pastor Adeyeri is from one of the four branches of the family. I have never sold any land there, let them come and prove it. I have spent over N3 million on the case.

I have not collected any amount of money or land from the family.'

He said he was not aware of Adeyeri's petition and IG's directive on the matter, adding that two persons were wanted at FSARS, later answer some questions. He denied being a thug or using anyone to terrorise people on the land, stressing, 'let the IG invite both of us to Abuja and let us see whether he will not be arrested.'

On the arrest of the surveyor by FSARS, Hassan said he was picked up for attempting to move Pastor Adeyeri's cars out of his compound. He denied any knowledge of torture at the police station by policemen. He, however, said the purpose for which his services were engaged, was for him to prevail on the white men to pay compensation to the families, adding that it was the reason the power of attorney was given to him to pursue the case.

Reacting to the issues raised by Deacon Hassan, Pastor Adeyeri told Daily Sun on phone from his hideout how he took the land agent to sign the first attorney about seven months ago. He disclosed that at a meeting, attended by Okiria, he told them that he was not interested in handling the case of seeking compensation from the firm.

Hear him: 'If he said he was not interested in the deal since last year so, at what point did he get the power of attorney? The so-called power of attorney given to him is illegal. Since his use of detectives attached to FSARS to harass me, I have abandoned my house for my safety. For over a month now, I have not slept in my house. He couldn't have spent N3million if he was not involved in the sale of our family land. He is using FSARS to threaten me over our family land.'

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Lekan, told Daily Sun that FSARS operatives had not commenced investigation into the case, based on the petition by Deacon Hassan. When reminded of the raid carried out in the house of Adeyeri, leading to the detention of his two wives and five-month-old baby, surveyor, and seizure of two cars, he said the petitioner also used policemen at Ijede to arrest him.

When the reporter tried to get clarifications on the police invasion of Adeyeri's house, granting of bail on July 6, to Adeyeri's surveyor and the IG's directive based on his (Adeyeri's) petition that the case be transferred to X-squad, the PPRO cut the line. When he was called on phone again, he promised to get back to our reporter but never did.