Robbery allegation: MKO Abiola’s sons spend nine days in detention

Two children of the late MKO Abiola, Kassim, and Aliyu, have spent nine days in the detention facility of the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Lagos over allegation of robbery. Kassim and Aliyu were arrested in their father’s house at 42-46 MKO Abiola Crescent, Off Toyin Street, Ikeja, on September 2, following a robbery at the house in the wee hours of the same day. Abiola’s children have, however, sued the Commissioner of Police, demanding N100m in damages. In the suit filed on their behalf by Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, Kassim and Aliyu alleged that their arrest and detention were at the instance of their stepmother, Mrs. Adebisi Abiola, who allegedly suspected them to have had a hand in the robbery attack. In an affidavit filed in support of the suit, a litigation clerk in Ozekhome’s law firm, Ubong Ikon, said Kassim and Aliyu were picked up at their father’s house at about 11.45am on September 2 by fully armed SARS operatives, who forced their way into their apartments without any warrant of arrest. Ikon said, “The applicants were tortured, totally humiliated, dehumanized, and terrorized, with a crowd of people swarming the premises to witness the ugly scene in the home of MKO Abiola, a former presidential aspirant of the Social Democratic Party. “The applicants were informed that their arrest was based on an alleged complaint by one Mrs. Adebisi Abiola, their stepmother, to the effect that a robbery incident took place in their home; that suspected armed men invaded the residence and carted away valuables, including money. “The applicants were forcibly dragged like common criminals, more in form of abduction than arrest and roughly driven to the Ikeja police station. “They were promptly detained without any record, howsoever. They were not given any opportunity to speak with anyone, let alone a lawyer.”Ikon added that the following day, the police took Kassim and Aliyu back to their apartments to conduct a search, and nothing incriminating was found. Ozekhome contended that the arrest and continued detention of Kassim and Aliyu was a violation of their fundamental rights under sections 35, 37, 41, 44, and 46 of the 1999 Constitution. He prayed the court to order their immediate release, noting that Kassim and Aliyu were about to travel to the United States for further education. He prayed the court to order the police to pay them N100m as exemplary damages and to tender a public apology to them.