By OKECHUKWU PEACE
A 20 year old suspect out of the four paraded by the police in connection with the March 12, 2015 robbery of the Lekki branch of First City Monument Bank, Ebi Tosan, has sued the police. Tosan is seeking N1m as damages.
He claimed that it was unlawful for the police to continue to keep him in detention without admitting him to bail.
Tosan, who was paraded by the police along with three others – Duke Odogbo, 38; Lawrence Kingsley, 31; and Ekelemo Kuete, 30 – is seeking an order directing the police to immediately release him on bail.
The suspect’s lawyer, Chief S.W. Baidi, argued that the suspect’s continued detention without bail was an “infringement and curtailment of the applicant’s constitutional right to personal liberty, freedom of movement and presumption of innocence.”
Tosan is seeking a declaration that his arrest, torture and continued detention by the State Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, without bail was a violation of his human rights, preserved by sections 34(1)(a), 35(1)(4) and Section 41 of the 1999 constitution.
In a 26-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the originating summons, one Tamuno Amos, who described himself as the suspect’s uncle, said that his nephew’s continued detention by the police was a deliberate act to “extract a confessional statement from him on the alleged offence.”
Amos, who said he had not been allowed to see his nephew since his arrest, claimed that “the applicant is suffering on daily basis without access to food, bath and other conveniences and he may die in custody if not granted bail.”
The suspect had on July 9 secured an order of Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, directing the police to produce him in court on July 16.
On Thursday, however, when the matter came up, the police did not bring the suspect to court and his originating summons slated for hearing could not be heard.
Okunnu, while adjourning hearing of the application till October 22, however, ordered that the Lagos State Attorney General should be joined as a respondent. She added that if there was any urgency, the applicant could appear before October 22 before another judge who would be sitting during the court’s annual vacation, which begins next week.
The original respondents in the suit are the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the Head of SARS, Ikeja, Abba Kyari.
In the said robbery on Admiralty Way, Lekki, Lagos, a gang of armed robbers, which Tosan and others allegedly belonged to, reportedly stormed FCMB in the afternoon of March 12, wearing military uniform and engaged the police in a gun battle before carting away about N15m from the bank.
About five persons, including three policemen and a fish hawker, were reportedly killed while several others sustained injuries during the shooting spree said to have lasted about 30 minutes.