Thursday, 28 November 2013

‘Teacher detained four days for taking policeman’s pictures’

Abragahou Aminu
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Pre-Adult Affairs Organisation, has accused the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, of illegally arresting and detaining a teacher, Abragahou Aminu, for four days for taking a picture of a policeman.
The organisation said the detention of Aminu, a Togolese, constituted a breach of his fundamental human rights.
Executive Director, PAAO, Sandra Duru, in a petition addressed to the Inspector General of Police, said, “Aminu was arrested on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 and kept in four different police detention cells before his kangaroo arraignment on Saturday November 23, 2013.
“All moves made by us to secure his release on bail were rejected by your men in Lagos command acting on the instruction of Ngozi Braide, Lagos PPRO. Aminu was first arbitrarily detained at Ketu Police Station, from Ketu, he was transferred to the PPRO’s office where he was harassed for hours.
“From PPRO’s office, the innocent Aminu was transferred to Area F detention cell and from Area F to X-squad cell. All these acts of injustice and unprofessionalism were perpetrated by your men simply because a man was caught recording an incident with his mobile phone.
“Sir, may we bring to your notice that the police possess no power to keep an accused in custody for more than 48 hours at most. We also remind you that the PPRO’s office is not meant for the torturing of an accused. We also inform you that the X squad detention cell that Aminu was detained for about 96 hours wasn’t meant for civilians but for that of undisciplined officers.”
 Duru alleged that Aminu wrote his statement under duress while in police custody, while the pictures were deleted from his phone.
She added that Aminu had lost his teaching job due to his prolonged detention and demanded that the police compensate him.
Braide however refuted Duru’s claims saying that Aminu was neither tortured nor threatened.
Braide said at least three police personnel had been dismissed in the state after videos had been tendered as evidence against them by members of the public.
She said, “The police as an organisation have nothing against members of the public taking pictures or videoing errant policemen in the act as this helps us to identify and expunge the bad eggs among us.
“However, we do not condone people taking pictures of policemen on duty for no reason at all. The nature of our job involves security and we cannot allow people to be taking pictures at random because the pictures could be used for ulterior motives.
“The suspect was brought in and his interrogation was recorded on video. Did you see any marks on his body? He was detained at the X squad which investigated the matter. The suspect was neither tortured nor beaten and has even been charged to court.”
PUNCH Metro investigation, however, revealed that Aminu was taking pictures of a policeman having an altercation with a commercial bus driver around Ketu Bus Stop on November 19, 2013.
It was learnt that Aminu was caught by a policewoman and subsequently detained at the Ketu Police Station after which he was transferred to the office of the Police Public Relations Officer the following day.
The suspect, while being interviewed by Braide in the presence of journalists, said he took the pictures because of the “action” at the scene.
He had said, “I am a French teacher at the Supreme Education Foundation, Magodo. I was walking by the bus stop when a policeman ordered a commercial bus to stop. The bus driver drove recklessly and almost hit the policeman and an argument ensued.
“When I saw this, I brought out my phone and began to take pictures because I felt the bus driver should not have driven in such a manner. Also, I felt the policeman should not have jumped in front of a speeding vehicle.”
The suspect was, however, made to write a statement at the PPRO’s office and a letter of apology before being transferred to the Lagos State Police  Command Headquarters where he was detained at the X Squad department
source. PUNCH.

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