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Kwara community petitions NHRC over police brutality

Yvonne Williams

The National Human Rights Commission has received a petition from Oro-Ago community in Kwara State over alleged murder, brutality, intimidation, unlawful arrest and detention of its members by the Nigeria Police.

The petition which was submitted in Abuja on Monday, accused the police of storming the community on June 12, and causing the murder of a community member, Mrs. Balotito Balogun, and bodily injury to several others, including Mrs. Tope Ologemo, who was reportedly lying critically in the hospital.

President of the Oro-Ago Development Union, Richard Olushola, accused the police of taking sides with the Fulani, who allegedly precipitated the crisis, leading to a feud between cattle herders and farmers in the community.

He further alleged that nine people arrested in April and June were languishing in police custody in Abuja without pressing any charges against them in court, the Punch reports.

“We are saddened that despite several entreaties, pleas and explanations in our letters to the Inspector General of Police, nine of our brethren are presently languishing in police custody in Abuja.

“These men were arrested in two batches. Six were arrested in April and three in June. Those arrested in April are Omotayo Abiodun, Sunday Odeyemi, Ganiyu Ibrahim, Dauda Ibrahim, Ajibola Adeoti and Mohammed Ologemo. Those arrested on 12 June are Tunde Abolaji, Oladele Ponle and Rasaki Illa.

“All of them, we understand, are being detained in very dehumanising conditions at a police facility in Abuja. The Muslims among them have been denied their basic religious right to observe Ramadan. They have not been charged with any offence. They have not been allowed to see their relations and their lawyers.” Olushola said in his petition.

He further described the incident as a “calculated violation of rights and privileges” which began in April, this year.

“These men, armed with dangerous weapons, trampled with impunity on farm lands,   unprovoked, killed and wounded some of our people at Oro-Ago. To add insult to injury, on 19 April, 2015 the police, led by one Sgt. Sunday Umar, came from Abuja to arrest six of our people and detained them in Abuja.

“After spending over one week in police dungeon, they were granted bail and asked to report back after two weeks. When they went back they were rearrested and have remained in custody since without charging them to court,” the petitioner alleged.