27th November, 2023
ABDUCTION, MOLESTATION OF BARRISTER LAWAL:
MURIC DEMANDS JUSTICE
An Ibadan-based lawyer, Barrister Abdul Waheed Olatunde Lawal, was abducted and severely beaten on the 13th of November, 2023 after his vehicle was ambushed at Iware Junction, about 20 kilometers from Ilua, along Ilua/Ekokan Road in Saki West. The Baale of Ilua, Chief Ajani Kilani Azeez, has been fingered as the brain behind the criminal abduction and brutalisation of the lawyer.
Meanwhile an Islamic human rights organization, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), has waded into the matter. The Muslim rights advocacy group has demanded justice for Barrister Lawal. MURIC insists that the case must not be swept under the carpet.
In a statement circulated to newsmen on Monday, 27th November, 2023, the Executive Director of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), Professor Ishaq Akintola, averred :
“The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is in possession of video clips, one of which reveals the inhuman treatment meted to Barrister Abdul Waheed Olatunde Lawal, an Ibadan-based lawyer.
“According to the narration, Barrister Lawal was abducted and severely beaten on the 13th of November, 2023 after his vehicle was ambushed at Iware Junction, about 20 kilometers from Ilua, along Ilua/Ekokan Road in Saki West. The Baale of Ilua, Chief Ajani Kilani Azeez, has been fingered as the brain behind the criminal abduction and dehumanizing brutalisation of the lawyer.
“Barrister Lawal suffered a broken arm, bodily injuries, as well as unbearable pain in his eyes and eyes as a result of heavy blows rained on him during the unlawful abduction and in the course of his illegal detention and unlawful interrogation at the palace of the Baale of Ilua. The victim was later hospitalized for five days. He is still visiting the University of Ibadan Teaching Hospital (UCH) where he is still being treated for eye and ear injuries.
“This is definitely a case of conscienceless power subjugating powerless conscience. Chamberlain’s ‘five evils’, namely, brute force, bad faith, injustice, oppression and persecution have manifested in the dehumanization of Barrister Lawal by the thugs of the Baale of Ilua in Saki South West.
“The perpetrators of this animalistic treatment of a legal luminary must be taught the lessons of their lives. The law must take its full course and no aspect of the case must be swept under the carpet.
“One of the video clips shows how the lawyer was forced to kneel down while he was being beaten up in the presence of the Baale and surrounded by the Baale’s men. This is unacceptable. It is preposterous, outrageous and horrendous.
“Section 34 (b) & (c) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended (2011) stipulates the right to the dignity of the human person as it declares:
‘Every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person, and accordingly…(b) no person shall be held in slavery or servitude and (c) no person shall be required to perform forced or compulsory labour.
“The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Article 4, Clause 1 & 2 also says, ‘Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person.’
“Contrary to the above constitutional and continental clauses and stipulations, the Baale of Ilua, Chief Ajani Kilani Azeez, through his agents and under his watchful eyes (as evidenced in the video), caused Barrister Lawal to be forced to kneel down and, under duress, to answer questions capable of implicating him in a court of law. Blows were rained on the lawyer if he did not give a ‘favourable’ answer.
“It is therefore very glaring that the Baale and his accomplices have severally and most severely violated Barrister Lawal’s Allah-given fundamental human rights to freedom of movement as provided in Section 41(1) and the dignity of his human person as provided in Section 34 of the Nigerian Constitution, the grundnorm and font et origo incarnate.
“We appeal to the Oyo State judiciary to take full cognisance of this incontrovertible evidence. The judiciary should therefore ensure that all the culprits face the full wrath of the law according to the level of their involvement because it is a general principle in law that there must be a degree of participation in any criminal liability. We assert, without any fear of contradiction, that all those who sat watching the molestation of the lawyer in the video are accomplices.
“MURIC reminds the police and members of the Oyo State judiciary that those who dealt so brutishly and mercilessly with a lawyer in the course of duty will not hesitate to do worse to them if they have the opportunity. Unless they are punished there will be no deterrence to others who may want to out-Herod Herod in future.
“A baale’s palace is not a police station. It is therefore not recognized as a place where investigation, interrogation, arrest and detention can take place. The Baale of Ilua has arrogated to himself the function of the police. He has turned himself to the judge and prosecutor, the Alpha and the Omega. His word is law.
“According to the law, abduction occurs when somebody is taken to a place against his will. Barrister Abdul Waheed Olatunde Lawal was ambushed at Iware Junction, 20 kilometers from Ilua. He was forced out of his vehicle and put in another vehicle, all against his will. He was then forcefully driven 20 kilometers away from the scene of abduction and taken to the Baale’s palace where he was illegally detained.
“What they did to the lawyer in the baale’s palace is nothing but trial by ordeals. The lawyer was subjected to torture as well as physical and psychological trauma. The perpetrators must pay for this horrible atrocity.
“MURIC wishes to put the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on notice. Against the law and against good conscience, the Baale of Ilua, a part III Baale who is still unrecognized according to Chiefs Law has elected to encroach on Allah-given fundamental human rights of a practicing lawyer and bona fide member of the prestigious NBA. What infra dignitatem! Here is Rome burning. Nero must not be dancing.
“It is immaterial whether the victim is a member of the Baale’s family or not but the assault and molestation occurred in the cause of his duty as a lawyer. Attack on a lawyer in the cause of discharge of his duty as a legal practitioner is an attack on the noble legal profession.
“It is most unacceptable to force a full-grown man, a family head and bread winner (and a lawyer for that matter) to be on his knees in the midst of people who have no respect whatsoever for education, civilisation and rule of law to be thoroughly assaulted. The law must surely take its due course.
“NBA must stand up to be counted when one of its own suffers undeserved, undignifying and dehumanizing treatment like this one. Assault on one is assault on all. The molestation of Barrister Lawal by the thugs of Baale of Ilua is a threat to the rule of law, to law and order and to civil decorum.
“We reject the Baale’s alibi as he claimed in another video clip that it was the Area Commander who gave him the order to ‘arrest’ (abduct) Barrister Lawal. It is an attempt to hide under the canopy of an officer of the law when indeed the Baale has no scintilla of respect for the rule of law.
“The Area Commander will do no such thing because he knows that the Baale’s thugs are not policemen, the only agents of government empowered by law to effect arrest, interrogation, investigation and prosecution. The Baale’s action is therefore ultra vires, illegal, illegitimate, unlawful and unconstitutional.
“Before we drop the anchor, it may be pertinent to reveal that Barrister Lawal is the Vice Chairman of MURIC in the Oyo State branch of our organisation. We attest to his integrity, incorruptibility and high level credibility. We will therefore not rest on our oars until justice is not only done but seen to have been done. Injury to one is injury to all.
“We assert clearly, categorically and unequivocally that under the law, the conduct of the Baale of Ilua, Chief Ajani Kilani Azeez and his thugs render them liable to conspiracy, conduct likely to cause breach of the peace, illegal arrest, unlawful detention and criminal abduction. They should be so charged. We demand justice for Barrister Lawal.”
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).