How Troopers Tortured Me, Dragged Me On The Floor Until I May Hardly Breathe – Nigerian Lawyer Recounts

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Adewale Salawu

A authorized practitioner based mostly in Oyo State, Adewale Salawu, has advised his police harassment story.

The lawyer tells WALE OYEWALE in regards to the latest assault he allegedly skilled within the palms of troopers and within the detention of the Nigerian Military in Ibadan, Oyo State

Can you narrate your expertise on October 29, if you have been mentioned to have been assaulted by troopers?

On that day, I used to be invited by the organisers of the Yoruba coalition group in Ibadan for a gathering which was imagined to be held on the Home of Chiefs, Oyo State Secretariat, Ibadan at 11am. I used to be about 15 minutes late. After I received to the secretariat, there was a heavy presence of safety operatives. I noticed the police, Operation Burst crew, personnel of the Nigerian Safety and Civil Defence Corps and plenty of others in entrance of the secretariat. There was pandemonium. I used to be shocked however I thought the assembly I used to be there for didn’t have something to do with that. As I approached the gate, I found it had been locked so I parked my automobile at a protected distance. I needed to name a few of the Yoruba leaders on the venue to allow them to know that I used to be round however unable to acquire entry into the secretariat. One of many folks I referred to as, Prof. Ogundoro, mentioned I ought to wait on the gate. He mentioned a few of the leaders would come and converse with the safety brokers. One of many officers requested what was occurring and I attempted to elucidate {that a} assembly of some Yoruba leaders was happening on the Home of Chiefs.

Then my consideration was drawn to one thing happening close by and I used to be advised that a soldier assaulting a person was the Commander of Operation Burst – the Commander of Operation Burst was pushing a person at the moment. I used to be advised {that a} soldier was pushed to the bottom through the pandemonium however I used to be not there so I don’t actually know what occurred. The person that was being harassed was Mr Kunle Adelakun (Jagunmolu Agbekoya of Yorubaland). He was pinned down by the Commander of Operation Burst. He was saying that he didn’t know the one that had pushed one of many troopers, and that it occurred earlier than he received there. So, I repeated what the person mentioned to the officer that he mentioned he didn’t learn about it. Then the soldier mentioned that should imply that I knew the one that did it. I requested what he meant by that and launched myself as a lawyer.

He advised the commander that for the reason that man being held mentioned he was not the one which pushed the mentioned soldier to the bottom, then I need to know the one who did it. The Commander of Operation Burst requested them to pin me down and I used to be dragged on the bottom to the place Mr Adelakun was pinned down. Once more, I recognized myself as a lawyer and mentioned I used to be there for a programme however he mentioned that was not his enterprise and that attorneys have been those encouraging residents to disobey them. I used to be shocked.

They began beating me and Mr Adelakun. Then, they began capturing and there was pandemonium. Lots of people received injured. Another folks have been additionally arrested and we have been put of their automobiles and ordered to be taken to Odogbo Cantonment. Until we received to the cantonment from the secretariat, we have been overwhelmed by the troopers. Weapons have been pointed at me. The troopers mentioned they have been going to kill us if we didn’t cooperate with them and that nothing would occur in the event that they killed us. They mentioned we have been those who wished democracy and didn’t need troopers. We knew that if we continued to argue with them, they may shoot us so we determined to hold quiet. Once we received to Odogbo Cantonment, we met about 56 different folks there being ‘drilled’ (given punishment) by troopers.

Those that have been being ‘drilled’ on the barracks weren’t troopers?

No, they weren’t troopers. They have been younger males. They arrested them for allegedly inflicting bother in several areas in Ibadan. They requested me to take away my prime and I mentioned I used to be not a prison. They mentioned they weren’t educated to respect attorneys however to kill. A few of the troopers have been in mufti so it was tough to get their names however I can determine them. They mentioned they have been appearing on the order given to them by the Commander of Operation Burst to ‘drill’ us. They requested us to sit down on the bottom and they have been taking photos of us whereas we have been nearly bare. It was that unhealthy.

At what time did the issue begin?

It all began round 11:25am on Thursday, October 29. We have been there till round 5:30pm when a superior officer got here. The officer requested the troopers to convey us to his workplace. Then he mentioned one other spherical of ‘drilling’ ought to begin and I advised him that due to the inhumane therapy that had been meted out to me, I might now not raise any half of my physique or breathe effectively. He mentioned I ought to go and lie down on the grass and face the solar whereas they continued to ‘drill’ the others. At a level, I used to be gasping for breath and one officer, Ojo, needed to pour some water on me. The superior officer later got here out and mentioned I used to be encouraging residents to disobey orders and troopers. I used to be shocked. I mentioned I didn’t know what he was speaking about and that he ought to let me clarify what occurred to him however he mentioned no. He mentioned he had been briefed. Reluctantly, he launched me and angrily mentioned I needed to come again at 9am the next morning. At that time, I didn’t need to argue with him as a result of I simply wished to depart the place. I heard that Mr Adelakun was additionally launched later within the day.

Did you go there the next morning?

I didn’t go there.

What steps have you ever taken to hunt redress?

I have knowledgeable the Nigerian Bar Affiliation about what occurred. Some attorneys and Yoruba leaders are additionally conscious of what occurred. It’s unhealthy that in democratic dispensation, troopers can exit, arrest folks, take them to their cantonment and torture them. Folks might be handed over to the police or charged to courtroom somewhat than detaining them and meting out inhumane therapy to them. You wanted to see the extent of risk to life, assault and molestation that we confronted. It was insufferable. However at that time, there was nothing we might do as a result of all they saved saying was that they have been educated to shoot. We didn’t have to argue with them. All I saved saying was that God ought to save me from them. That was my expertise within the palms of the Nigerian Military and so they have been following the orders of the Commander of Operation Burst within the state.

I by no means had such an expertise till then. I’m a lawyer and I’m going to police stations to type out points however I by no means had such an expertise with any safety outfit.

 

Is it true you’ve bronchial asthma and had an assault through the ordeal?

I had chest ache because of the ‘drilling’ on the secretariat, even earlier than we have been taken to the cantonment. After I received to the cantonment, the ache grew to become so extreme that I couldn’t breathe very effectively.

Did you maintain bodily harm because of the assault?

There was no seen bodily harm as a result of these folks know the place to hit you such that you’ll really feel ache, but there gained’t be bruises in your physique. They’ll brutalise you in such a means that it’ll not be apparent however the ache will likely be there.

Did you go to the hospital after the expertise?

I visited the hospital and was given some medication. I’m nonetheless taking remedy.

Is it true that some members of Agbekoya are nonetheless there?

I was shocked to listen to on Saturday, October 31 that some Agbekoya members have been nonetheless there. However I didn’t go there to verify it. I used to be advised that they have been transferred to Iyaganku Police Station however I don’t know what the place of the police is. I’ve members of the family who’re troopers and cops nevertheless it was already late by the point I received in contact with them.

Will you or the NBA take any authorized motion on the matter?

I reported what occurred to the NBA and the affiliation is already engaged on it. I name on the NBA president (Mr Olumide Akpata), Nationwide Human Rights Fee, Governor of Oyo State, Mr Seyi Makinde and worldwide our bodies to take up this matter and guarantee such doesn’t occur once more.

We’re in a democracy however we’re working a navy democracy. Such inhumane therapy shouldn’t be meted to the residents in a democracy. We noticed how residents who have been protesting for his or her rights have been arrested and charged to courtroom. It’s so unhappy. Residents have the fitting to protest, they’ve the fitting to freedom of affiliation and proper to life.

What should be executed to convey sanity to the system?

We want an overhaul of our safety structure. Their work must be effectively spelt out and they need to know their restrict. The position of the police is to not brutalise residents. The police and navy ought to shield the residents. The military ought to shield the territorial integrity of Nigeria and take care of exterior forces. These are the roles that they need to play. Two, we want restructuring that’s freely and pretty arrived at. I don’t imply the sort of restructuring that may be helpful to solely a few folks. We want restructuring that may be pleasing to all regardless of their locality, gender and tribe in any other case; we must always return to regional system of presidency.

Contemplating your expertise, would you assist any of your kids to affix the military?

I can by no means assist any of my kids who wish to be a part of the Nigerian navy. I might somewhat give them each essential assist to affix the US Military if I had the chance as a result of that is without doubt one of the international locations that see the lives of their residents as worthwhile. Take a look at what’s occurring within the US, although the president-elect has not been sworn in, all the safety structure is already in place to do what is meant to be executed. We don’t have legal guidelines that may examine folks and a few of the good legal guidelines that we’ve aren’t being carried out.

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Supply: The PUNCH



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