by Adeola Balogun
A Lagos State doctor and four of his staff who are allegedly being unjustifiably detained by the police have taken the matter before a Federal High Court in the state.
Babawale Joshua , the Medical Director of Ajike Medical Centre in the Saka Village area of the state, and four of his staff, have brought a case against the Inspector General of Police and the Commissioner of Police among others for continuing to detain them over allegations for which they had already been arraigned before a Magistrate court.
According to reports, other applicants in the suit are Dr Ogunrinde Opeyemi, Omoyinmi Akinbolagbe, Muraina Temitope and Olaide Adenaju, while also joined as respondents are Mr. and Mrs. Obinna Oleh.
The applicants, who are claiming N25 million as damages, are also asking the court to order their immediate release from police custody. They also want the court to restrain the police, whether by themselves, agents and servants from further arresting and detaining them, pending the determination of the suit.
They are praying the court to declare that their arrest and re-arrests by the police on September 3, 2013 Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, ‘D’
Department, Force CID Annex, Lagos on the instigation of Mr. and Mrs. Oleh based on the same complaint for which they had been arraigned and are now standing trial, is wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional as it is a violation of their fundamental rights to dignity of human person, personal liberty, fair hearing and freedom of movement guaranteed by section 34, 35, 36 and 41 of the 1999 constitution as amended and Articles 5, 6, 7 and 12 of the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, cap 10, laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
Dr Opeyemi in an affidavit in support of the suit, averred that
“Mr and Mrs Oleh brought their child called Master Kingsley Oleh, 13 month old boy, to our hospital for medical attention, and the child was admitted and diagnosed of ‘cardiac failure-secondary to broncho-pneumonia post measles infections and treatment was commenced immediately.”
“However, on June 8, 2013 at 9p.m, the child died and as at the time of the demise of the child, Mr Oleh and three elders from the wife’s church were with him praying for him, and following the death of the child, and Akinbolagbe, being the nurse on duty at the maternal time, informed Dr Joshua of the transition of the child, and he directed that the outstanding medical bill of the child be waived and the corpse be released to the family in line with their request.
“Mr Oleh equally requested for a death certificate for the child and same was promptly issued by me and given to Akinbolagbe, who in turn released it with the corpse to the family as they left the hospital with the corpse at 9:30pm on June 8, 2013.
“At about 11 p.m., of same June 8, there was a victim of road accident in emergency situation rushed to the hospital, and I was in the emergency ward attending to the victim with the nurse on duty, and it was whilst we were in the emergency ward that Mr Oleh brought back the corpse and laid it on the same admission bed where he died in the private ward of the hospital without notifying anybody.
“And because myself and Akinbolagbe were not aware of the return of the corpse to the hospital, the corpse stayed overnight in the hospital and in the course of the night, the corpse was mutilated by rats because it was not protected. On the morning of June 9, 2013, the Mr Oleh returned to the hospital with intent to retrieve the corpse and when he found that the corpse was mutilated, he raised alarm, and it was then I got to know that the corpse was brought back last night, and the alarm drew a large mob to the hospital premises and the mob were armed with stones and broken bottles, and in the face of the danger, Dr Joshua was alerted and as at that time, he was in church, and he quickly returned to the hospital with some ministers in his church, and upon sighting him, the mob, commanded by Oleh, physically assaulted Dr Joshua and sustained several lacerations allover his body and his entire body was bloodied.”