By. Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq.

I have deliberately excused myself from commentaries that are politically inclined given the demands of my work and also because I now hold a firm belief that people in positions of authority should be afforded a modicum of psychological concentration in their quest to deliver on their mandate. If I must, this truly is not the choice, however, painfully, I have been compelled by an unsavory situation which borders on humanity, reminding us all that we are duty-bound to guide the institutions of government to function according to the laws establishing them and also to help privileged individuals to avert self destruct anchored on a particular life style.

I recently saw on Facebook a terribly rude video, where one Comrade Aro Kazeem was genuflecting and prostrating before one Oluremi Omowaiye, a commissioner designate in Osun state in one of the offices of the Police SIB situated in Osogbo. To say I was shocked by this event would be an understatement. Hordes of conflicting thoughts ran through my mind in my quest to decipher what could have been the issue, and all I read was that Comrade Aro Kazeem allegedly published a defamatory statement about the Honourable Commissioner designate and the rest is History.

In a new twist, Comrade Kazeem Aro published a rejoinder, the content of which calls for immediate concern and I have this to say; Men or Government institutions, no matter how placed or important, must never rise to the status of demi-gods to oppress fellow men. If all facts before me are correct, it is my submission that it is rather unfortunate and a reminiscence of days when our laws were abused by unruly citizens. Is it not a fundamental principle in our legal system that "be thou whosoever high, yet the law is above you?!" I will take a careful look at this from a legal lens, albeit, before that.

It is the  fact that Oluremi Omowaiye is a former Commissioner of Science and Technology and currently a Commissioner designate as screened by the Osun State House of Assembly while Kazeem Aro is a former legislative aide to the former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Lasun Yusuf . Both being eminent members of the All Progressive Congress in Osun State.

In every political or human system, conflict is a natural occurrence, however, the process of seeking redress must be in accordance with the dictates of the law and I make bold to say that the entire activities of the Nigerian Police Force in the arrest and coercion, as claimed by Aro Kazeem, is a reckless affront on our laws and an attempt to merchandise the Nigeria Police Force as a willing tool in the hands of  influencers amongst others. 

The process of his supposed arrest which for all intents and purposes would pass for an adoption, his unlawful detention, degrading treatments (compelling him to sit on the floor at the Police cell) coercion to prostrate and beg for mercy in the Police Office, the unbelievable recording of same without his consent and publishing same jointly and severally amounts to a breach of his Fundamental Human Rights to Human Dignity, Personal Liberty, Fair Hearing and Privacy as enshrined in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended. 

Unbelievably, he was also denied access to his lawyer at the point of interrogation. The totality of this narrative is unknown to our laws and constitutes a clear abuse of office and power by all characters involved. It  is elementary law that anyone who is arrested or accused of committing a crime has a right to his lawyer before answering any question. Anyone also accused of committing a crime may opt to keep quiet and say nothing because the onus of proving a crime is not on the accused but the accuser.

The fundamental duty of the Police is the protection of lives and properties. The police stands guard over the lives of persons enforcing the law and protecting citizens from fear, intimidation, harm and torture. It is thus bewildering to observe that this sacred guard has scorned and shunned its duty to protect and rather now inflicts pain on the very people he ought to protect.

Where the Guard thus becomes the Robber, who then will guard the guard? We are left open to all sorts of onslaught by unscrupulous persons given to abusing the law and persons as seen in the video now making the rounds. The assault on Comrade Kazeem Aro by the police is indeed a case of the Police playing the Robber and subjecting him to all forms of inhuman treatment. If this trend continues, who will  protect us from the Police? Who will enforce the Law? A sound of caution rings deafening in my ears and I fear for the powerless, hence, I have instructed my firm to commence all necessary legal actions to protect the liberty of Comrade Kazeem Aro on a pro bono basis in order to nip this evil trend in the bud.

Respectfully, Bracton rightly posited that the King is only subject to God and to the Law because it was the Law that made him King. This implies that anybody not being a King but just an officer of the King is equally indeed under the heavy weight of the Law. It thus goes to question the behavior of the Nigeria Police Force and Oluremi Omowaiye which in other climes will pass for a toutish and unreasonable behavior unbecoming of a man of his standing. 

While commending the Osun State government in its continuous efforts in serving the people, particularly, the Osun State House of Assembly, I wish to call to caution that any attempt to deliberately silent the voices of critics is anathema to the principles of democracy and should not be encouraged by the government and people of Osun state. 

Any individual who will occupy public office should do that with the fear of God, respect for humanity and and high sense of decorum. I will therefore encourage Mr Remi Omowaiye to make peace with Aro Kazeem and not to exalt himself above the law as he is only an insignificant lesser servant appointed by a Servant, the Governor, to assist in serving the people, including Comrade  Kazeem Aro.

However, in the event that he is ill-advised, my submission is that it is infra dignitatem and unthinkable for such an act of aggression and deception to be accommodated as valid in our jurisprudence. Aro Kazeem therefore has a legal right sustainable in the reality of Oluremi Omowaiye and the police’s ignoble act of embarrassing and intimidating an equal citizen who they are duty bound to serve. 

In view of the foregoing and in the spirit of service to humanity, I my office will commence the following steps earnestly:

1. Preaction Notice would be filed at the Office of the Inspector General of Police.

2. A Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure will be instituted against the Police as well as Oluremi Omowaiye at the Federal High Court to protect the Fundamental Rights of Aro Kazeem.

3. Petition to the Police Service Commission to demand for disciplinary action against all the officers that were involved in setting the recording up, intimidation and the arrest of Aro Kazeem.

4. Consider expand a thorough profiling of Mr Oluremi Omowaiye to test his world view and social sanity to occupy public positions in Osun State.

Thank you.

Pelumi Olajengbesi Esq., is a Public Interest Lawyer, Convener of Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates, COPA and the Lead Partner at Pelumi Olajengbesi & Co.  Law Corridor, Abuja.