FOR attempting to submit a correspondence to the Lagos State House Assembly, in Alausa, Lagos, a Lagos based lawyer, Yakubu Eleto has alleged that he was manhandled by a combined team of security operatives at the House of Assembly.
Eleto in a statement said the alleged brutality was carried out by the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Speaker of the Assembly, men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and the Nigeria Police.
The incident occured at about 11:16pm on Thursday, 15th July, 2021 at the 2nd gate of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
He said an operational vehicle, with number plate RRS 387 LA was used during the incident.
The statement reads:
“My experience in the hands of the Chief Security Officer (CSO) to the Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly, the men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) (car, with plate number RRS 387 LA) and the men of the Nigerian Police Force attached to the alausa Police Station, Lagos State Command, Ikeja Lagos State; incident which happended on the 15th day of July, 2021 by 11:16pm at the 2nd gate of the Lagos State House of Assembly.
1. I am yakubu Arowoshola Eleto Esq, a legal practitioner in Lagos State and a human rights activist with indigene bias.
“The facts below are what happened to me at the Lagos State House of Assembly Complex on the 15th day of July, 2021 at 11:16am.
” I instituted an action on the instruction of some of my clients against the unconstitutionality of the fourth coming local council elections in Lagos State and joined the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) and Lagos State House of Assembly (LSHA) as co-defendants.
“Both LASIEC and LSHA were served the copies of the court processes on the 9th and 12th July 2021 respectively.
“The copies of the House of Assembly were received by the office of the clerk on the 12th day of July by 8:30am.
“The suit in question with no: FHC/L/CS/741/2021 came up for hearing on the 12th day of July, 2021 where I and three other lawyers represented the applicants.
“On that faithful day, I moved a motion exparte for an interim injunction restraining LASIEC from going ahead with the election but it was overruled by the court, where the court said ‘’ruling will have far reaching effect on the defendants and the Lagos State in general’’.
“The court later instructed us to put the defendants on notice and further adjourned till Monday, the 19th day of July for hearing of the Motion on Notice and further determines if LASIEC could go ahead with the elections as scheduled.
“I tried getting the ruling from the court but not made available to me, even till Thursday, 14th July, 2021, I felt that the whole essence of waiting to collect the ruling was to be attached to the letter that would be sent to the defendants; LASIEC and LSHA.
“In order not to defeat the essence of going to court on Monday, the 19th day of July, 2021, I have to improvise by following the principle of fair hearing and AUDIALTEREM PATEM, I had to write a letter dated Thursday, July 15th, 2021, notifying the parties that the case is coming up for hearing of the Motion on Notice.
“I therefore instructed someone to submit a copy to LASIEC’ in Yaba and I volunteered to submit that of the assembly myself.
“Upon getting to the assembly gate around 11am on the 16th day of July, 2021 to submit the letter, I met a Para military officer who told me point blank that they don’t receive correspondences on Fridays.
“I rap pored him further that, it’s not a correspondence per say but a letter notifying the law making body in Lagos State that there would be a court sitting on Monday, 19th, July, 2021 and the LSHA is a necessary party to the suit.
“The paramilitary officer quickly called the attention of the head of the securities on duty and he attended to me requesting whether he can be availed a copy of the letter, which I did immediately.
“He read the content of the letter and immediately declined collection on behalf of the house and he said the officers stationed for such purposes were busy and that I should either come back on Monday or exercise patience for him to get in touch with a senior officer who could give further direction.
“I waited for about two hours and no one showed up.
“I approached him once again that time was going that I have to get back to other activities that I am a legal practionier who have other things to attend to.
“Suddenly, I saw a tall dark young man (later identified as the CSO to the speaker) approaching the gate from the assembly complex, I noticed the police officers on duty adjusted themselves and they became jittery of him.
“The said young man approached me and said, “they said you have been disturbing the securities for the past two hours that what is your problem’’
20. I replied him that ‘’I have a letter to submit with respect of a court case that would come up on Monday, 19th July at the Federal High Court, Lagos State and the House of Assembly is a party and its important for me to put them on notice’’
“He replied further saying ‘’Mr. Man, we are not taking this letter, we have discretion to determine what or which letter to take’’
“I told him in furtherance to the above that can such discretion work, when it comes to a public office’’
” He replied that I was rude to him and ordered the police officers on duty to throw me out of the complex.
“The officers asked me to leave pursuant to the young man’s directive.
The man left immediately. I met the police man again that, can I meet the head of Legal Department or the clerk of the assembly or anyone working with the clerk?
“The officers declined that it wasn’t possible. Suddenly, I noticed the CSO returned with eight mobile police men, the CSO where he said it point blank that I have a mission that he has the instructions to deal with me, he therefore asked them to seize my phones, forcefully collected my pens, dragged my shirt, pulled me in company of the mobile policemen and carried me like a Five year old boy to outside the assembly gate to a waiting police van with plate no RRS 387 LA.
“They eventually dragged me on the floor, tear gassed me, poured pepper spray on my face, brutalized me, dehumanized me and forcefully made me to enter into the car identified above and whisked me in a commando manner to the Alausa, Police Station where I was kept behind the counter for till I became unconscious.
“Upon regaining my strength, I requested for my phone to call my other colleagues, the police woman on duty at Alausa Police Station, obliged me my phone, and I called four of my colleagues and asked them to reach out to our seniors in the bar to with; Mr Femi Falana, Chief Wahab Shittu and Chief Kunle Uthman.
” Immediately, they heard the names I called they asked me to stand up and I said I was not feeling too well, they ransacked me once again, gave me dirty slaps, used metals on my joints, used their gun to knack me on my thigh.
32. I became weak and seriously weak, they carried me once again and took me to an unknown destination, and they drove me around Ikeja and later drove me back to the House of Assembly, where I was imprisoned in the car with plate number RRS 387 LA for several hours.
“The policemen later came back around late in the night, returned all my belongings and said Oga has asked you to go.
“I left the assembly and went home with stains and pains all over my body.
35. It was a though experience and the above facts are within my personal knowledge.
“I use this medium to thank my colleagues in the bar, Senior Lawyers, family and friends for showing supports to me during the time I spent with police at the Lagos State House of Assembly and torture I received from the hand of the CSO to the speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly. ” He said.
Meanwhile, a call out across the Speaker, Honourable Mudasiru Obasa was left unattended to.