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Doctrines & Morals
 
 
News & Events…

I WAS NOT THERE

Banji, student of Animal science in Samuel Akintola Polytechnic, Osun State was on his way to the University College Hospital popularly known as UCH in Oyo State where his father was a patient. As he alighted from the bus at Sango in Ibadan, several bike men approached him, one said “Chairman, where you dey go?” Banji didn’t answer him because he wanted to buy some apples at the Sango market before heading to see his father. After buying the apples, he flagged down a bike, “i’m going to UCH” the bike man replied “no wahala, your money na hundred naira” Banji retorted “ say wetin, abeg na seventy naira I get”

As they were approaching a turn,linking the Premier hotel and the hospital, the bike man parked and said “Oga, I hope say you no be YY” Banji asked wetin be that one?” the bike man replied that he could sight the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) from afar and he knows they check Ibadan polytechnic students phone for white peoples picture to determine whether they are yahoo boys.

One will wonder if the best way to determine if one is an internet fraudster is to check for a white man’s picture. Back to the incident, Banji got angry “shey I  resemble yahoo boy for your eye?” the bike man replied “dem no dey write am for head”

 The men in uniform approached him; “so, you think say we no know you abi? we are the Special Anti-Robbery Squad from Area D division. We have been tailing you and your armed robbery gang for four days”.  Banji didn’t understand what they were saying,he was totally confused,their English sounded like Japanese. Before he could say a word, he had been handcuffed and they were headed back to Osun State where the alleged robbery was perpetrated.

On getting to the Police station, Banji was beaten blue-black and was told to write a statement which he simply wrote “I am Banji and I am not an armed robber”. A Police corporal looked at the statement and advised Banji to write all that he knew about the alleged offence. One will wonder how nice that corporal is, you will barely see a police advice a suspect on what to do.

 “I hope the Police is not trying to make me confess what I did not do?” this was the question on his mind as fear, curiosity and timidity befell him. He took his statement, cancelled it then wrote the following:

“I am Banji Olowookere, a 300 level student of Samuel Akintola Polytechnic, Osun State. Four days ago which is the 5th day of November,2017, I was on campus from 8a.m till 8:30 p.m for lectures and other activities. I was informed that the armed robbery was carried out around 6:30 p.m at Olokola junction. as at that time, I was in company of my friends (Ridwan Odeyemi and  Banke Daodu) and other colleagues at the performing arts department induction for new students. I even danced with the popular Professor Oyeniran alias Prof. dance and pass. I can remember that Prof asked for my name after the dance then told me to see him at his office. I was not at Olokola junction and can swear on my mothers grave that I was not there”.

When the Investigative Police Officer (IPO) of the case saw the passion at which Banji was writing, he forcefully collected the paper and read. He thereafter said “you sabi write English abi, armed robber, barawo”.  

  After enjoying life at the Police cell for two weeks, he was arraigned before the High Court of Osun State on a two-count Charge of Conspiracy and Armed Robbery. Dada Oluwa Esq, a Lagos based lawyer who was in the court that day volunteered to represent Banji.

During the trial, Dada Oluwa raised an objection that his client was not at the scene of the crime (raising the defence of alibi) and he knew nothing about the alleged Armed Robbery. The Court inquired whether the Police investigated the defence, it was revealed that they didn’t bother to investigate.

The court acquitted Banji (accused) stating that he had raised the defence of alibi timeously which was at the Police station and had given detailed account and also evidence to establish the defence which made the defence avail him leading to his acquittal.

Many at times, innocent persons have been convicted solely because they have no knowledge of the law. Banji might have been convicted if he had not penned down in his statement at the Police station that he wasn’t at the scene of the crime and gave detailed particulars.

The defence of Alibi has been explained by the Supreme Court in plethora of cases that it can only be raised at the Police station so that it can be investigated by the Police before charging the suspect. 

“when an accused person is arrested by the Police and investigation commences, the accused person is asked under caution to write a statement, it is at this stage that the accused person raises the defence of alibi, he must state the day, time and address of where he was when the offence was committed…” Per Rhodes-Vivour, JSC in Agu v State (2016) 15 W.R.N

Lessons learnt

When a Police man approaches you for an arrest, ask him for the reason if he doesn’t tell you at the point of arrest, they must tell you when you get to the station within 24 hours of your arrest.  Section 35 (3) of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended in 2010 states that “any person who is detained shall be informed in writing within twenty-four hours (and in a language that he understands) of the facts and grounds for his arrest or detention.

Never be timid when you get to the police station.

Never make a statement without your lawyer being there. I repeat NEVER make a statement without your lawyer being there.

You have the right to be silent, no police can forcefully get anything out of you. Section 35 (2) of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution as amended in 2010.

If it happens that you can’t get a lawyer, make sure you get the full details of what you were arrested for then write all you know about the alleged crime.

Remember before you make a statement yourself, the Police must have informed you of the alleged crime so that you can properly be guided while writing. It’s your Right to know.

It is not enough to write that you were not present at the scene of the crime, you must also ensure to state the date, time and address of where you were when the offence was allegedly committed. (use the statement of banji as an example)

NB: This story is not real, the author employed the story telling method in other to carry his readers along.

Author: Boluwatife Sanya Esq

(Boluwatife is an Ibadan based lawyer) 

 

-BOLUWATIFE SANYA ESQ

 


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