Ozekhome speaks on his role, suit

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A senior lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, has defended the N100 million suit filed against Lagos State police commissioner over the detention of late Moshood Abiola’s sons.

Two sons of the late presidential candidate, Kassim and Aliyu, were arrested and detained over a robbery incident that took place at their father’s residence on September 2.

They claimed they were unlawfully arrested and detained at the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Ikeja, sequel to a complaint that was lodged by their step-mum, Adebisi Abiola, after the robbery incident.

On Friday, the duo approached a Lagos State High Court in the Ikeja Judicial Division for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.

However, their step-mum, Adebisi Abiola, had denied being behind the continued detention of the two and faulted the suit filed against the police.

In a statement issued by Debo Adeleke, the family’s lawyer, Mrs Abiola said the arrest of her stepsons is as a result of their unruly acts during police interrogation after the robbery.

Mr Adeleke said the law suit thwarted the family’s effort to secure an administrative bail for Kassim and Aliyu.

He also accused Mr Ozekhome of prying into the affairs of the family because the lawsuit was not instituted by any member of the family.

“…the wrong and ill-advised move by a third party who is not a known member of the family in filing a fundamental right enforcement suit for the release of Kassim and Aliu Abiola”.

Defence

Responding to the accusations, Mr Ozekhome said his firm was briefed to handle the case after a series of telephone calls by Olive Abiola, the Cameroonian mother of the duo, who lives in Zimbabwe.

He said the firm instructed two senior lawyers, Chimaobi Onuigbo and Ejieke Onuoha, to interview the two detained children of late Abiola, afterwards.

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“The two detained young men gave our lawyers further full verbal briefing, in addition to that already given by their mother via a series of telephone conversations.”

“It is therefore professionally unfair and extremely preposterous for anyone (let alone a law firm), to suggest, imagine, or even day-dream, that at our level, we would ever jump up and take up a matter we have not been properly and adequately briefed on to handle. We are the more taken aback that such a most unfounded allegation could ever be made against us, and signed by Mr Debo Adeleke, on behalf of the above law firm.”

Mr Ozekhome noted that the facts given by both mother and detained children were enough to include Adebisi as second defendant in the fundamental rights matter, save for the respect of her late husband.

Also, in the statement, the human rights lawyer challenged Mr Adeleke’s law firm to “massage the ego of the concerned Police Officers to kindly release the duo of Kassim and Aliu Abiola from illegal detention.”

“Do they not also deserve to have a decent life, free from intimidation, harassment and humiliation, like all other Abiola children?” he asked rhetorically.

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