Legal Nigeria

Ikorodu robbery: Police forced us to confess, suspects tell court

The robbery suspects who allegedly robbed banks in Ikorodu have told the Federal High Court in Lagos that the confessional statements they made to the police were not voluntary.
The defendant’s lawyer, Olusegun Akanbi prayed the court to order the police to produce them if they are still alive.
He said the suspects “made confessional statements to the members of the press out of duress”.
He argued that it is illegal for the police to parade criminal suspects and have them grant press interviews under compulsion. ‎
The lawyer is praying the court for an order compelling the police to produce the four suspects in court because their families were denied access to them.
The accused persons are ‎Agbojule Bright, Promise Abiwa, Monday Omoboye and Monday Ikuesan.
They were paraded on July 6 in connection with the robbery of the Ipakodo branches of First Bank and Zenith Bank in Ikorodu.
The police said they were part of an 18-man gang which made away with about N80million in the robbery on June 24.
The four suspects had reportedly confessed to playing different roles in the alleged crime while three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) allegedly bought with the robbery proceeds were recovered from them.
Akanbi claimed that the police violated the suspects’ right to remain silent or to avoid answering any questions until after consulting with a lawyer in line with Section 35(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
According to the lawyer, the suspects may not get a fair trial since they have “already suffered prejudice in the eye of the public due to unfair publicity and unprofessional acts of the defendants.”
He claimed that the police refused to allow him or the suspects’ family members to see them in detention.
“The applicants’ counsel were not allowed to see the applicants or even to have a brief interview with them when they visited the defendants on 15th July 2015.
‎“The applicants’ constitutional rights under Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution are at stake because the defendants have already taken a biased position by denying the applicants’ family or their counsel their right of visiting them in police custody.
‎“It will be in the interest of justice if the applicants are brought before this honourable court so that the court can ascertain whether the applicants are still alive.
“It will be in the interest of justice if the applicants can be charged by the defendants to court since they have already spent over 24 hours in custody.
“Failure to do this will amount to usurpation of the constitutional powers of the judiciary,” the lawyer argued.
He claimed that the suspects were entitled to N5million damages for what he described as their unlawful detention.
Justice Mohammed Yunusa adjourned to S‎eptember 7‎ to enable the Inspector-General of Police Solomon Arase respond to the suit.