Interest groups in Ekiti State are up in arms with the state police command for allegedly shielding policemen who brutalized an American returnee, Mrs. Toyin Adeyeye, who refused to bribe them at a checkpoint last Friday.
The International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) in Ekiti State and other women interest groups have called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris to order a high-powered probe into the alleged brutality meted out to Mrs. Adeyeye.
FIDA also called for the the prosecution of the policemen who participated in the beating of the woman, her brother, Adeniyi Dada. Mrs. Adeyeye, her baby, Heritage and her brother were detained at New Iyin Road Police Station till Saturday.
Speaking at a briefing on the alleged police brutality, the state FIDA Chairman Mrs. Funke Anoma alleged that the policemen at the station stole $750 found on Mrs. Adeyeye who returned from the United States where she delivered her baby ten days before the incident.
Leaders of other women groups including National Council of Women Societies (NCWS), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Women Wing, Market Women Associations joined in condemning the attack on Mrs. Adeyeye and her detention with her two-month old baby.
The women groups who carried placards with various inscriptions threatened to march on the state police command headquarters if the erring officers are not brought to justice to serve as deterrent to others.
They urged the state police command to hand over a policeman, Waheed Adedokun, who led other policemen attached to New Iyin Police Station in assaulting Mrs. Adeyeye both at the checkpoint and inside the station.
The Commissioner of Police Abdullahi Chafe accused Mrs. Adeyeye of slapping one of the policemen and tearing his uniform at the checkpoint an accusation denied by the woman’s husband, Akanni and his brother-in-law, Adeniyi.
Anoma who spoke through FIDA Vice Chairman Mrs. Seyi Ojo disclosed that the body has commenced the process of filing a fundamental human rights enforcement suit on behalf of Mrs Adeyeye and her baby in the law court.
She said the women lawyers’ body appreciated the intervention of Governor Ayo Fayose who ordered a thorough investigation but expressed regrets that the state police command was yet to take any action on the culprits.
FIDA boss said: “We observe with disdain the efforts police is making in covering up this lawlessness of its officers and the injustice to a law-abiding Ekiti woman and her child. Ekiti women are saying no to all forms of violence on women and children.
“Governor Fayose has ordered for a thorough investigation; however, the Ekiti State Command has flagrantly disobeyed and disregarded this order. The CP has refused to investigate this matter and that is why we are holding this press briefing to draw the attention of the whole world to this case.
“After stopping Mrs. Adeyeye and her brother on that day, they tendered all vehicle papers which are still valid and while searching for vehicle documents dollars dropped from the car and the policemen demanded for dollars.
“The beating started, they beat Mrs. Adeyeye and her brother and as at the time we are talking, the policemen are yet to return $750 taken from the woman. We demand that the $750 in the custody of a police officer, Waheed Adedokun, an office at New Iyin Road station be returned and all the erring officers be brought to justice.”
Chairman, Human Rights Committee, Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ado Ekiti Branch, Vincent Adedara, also called on the Force Headquarters to launch an investigation into the incident because Ekiti command was allegedly shielding the culprits.
Adedara further called on the Police Service Commission (PSC) to discipline Waheed and other policemen who participated in the alleged brutality while the New Iyin Road Police Station Divisional Crime Officer (DCO) should be queried and disciplined.
He said: “What justification did the police have to brutalize a woman and how would an harmless woman assault a fully armed policeman? We believe that the CP has not handled the matter professionally
“Their action negate international standard of policing because they have gone ahead to plaster the head of a policeman to portray Mrs. Adeyeye as an aggressor and that is why we want the IGP to constitute a high-powered panel to investigate the matter.”