Olukoya Ogungbeje, the controversial lawyer who represented notorious kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, a.k.a. Evans, has said he was not arrested, but abducted by operatives of the Nigeria Police Force.
He stated this in an interview with SaharaReporters on Friday.
Ogungbeje was arrested and subsequently released on Wednesday. He was taken away by operatives from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, as he tried to park his car at the Federal High Court Premises in Ikoyi, Lagos.
Speaking to SaharaReporters, he said: “I was not arrested; I was abducted. I was forcefully seized, abducted and kidnapped from the Federal High Court by detectives of the state CID over a N200 million judgment sum I got in favour of my client.
“The judge adjourned to that Wednesday for the order absolute, which is the final order. So, the police [wanted] to stop me from appearing in court in respect of the judgment.
“The Police filed an application to set aside the judgment; we argued and the court dismissed the motion of the police. When the Attorney-General of the Federation refused to give me consent, I sued the attorney general and also got judgment in my favour.”
The lawyer said he was arrested in order to prevent him from appearing before the court, adding that when he got to the station, the police officers who had hounded him at the court premises were nice to him.
He said: “They took me to their state command in their CID. They ushered me to a room; they welcomed me, and offered me food which I rejected. They were playing with me just in a bid to delay so that I would not be able to return to court.
“Before I could return to court around 1pm, the court had already adjourned the case till October 11.”
It was gathered that the lawyer was in court on Wednesday to get a final order that would enable him claim a sum of N200 million in damages, which the court awarded against the Nigeria Police Force in favour of one Ibrahim Kabiru, whose brother was alleged to have been a victim of extrajudicial killing by the Police.
Ogungbeje had also filed a new suit against the police demanding fresh N100 million damages for the alleged “forceful seizure, abduction, arrest, beating, torture and detention of the first applicant (Kabiru) by five armed policemen from the SCID, Panti, Yaba”.
The lawyer claimed that policemen swooped on his client, Kabiru, when he came for his case before Justice Hassan at the Federal High Court in Lagos on September 6, noting that Kabiru was bundled into a Sienna Space vehicle.
Ogungbeje, in the suit, argued that the police violated the fundamental rights of his client under Sections 33, 34, 35, 36 and 41 of the 1999 Constitution.
The lawyer joined himself as the second plaintiff in the suit, which has the Inspector General of Police, the Nigeria Police Force, the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, DCP Yetunde Longe, CSP Effiong Asuquo and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Wole Smith, as defendants.
The lawyer and his client are praying the court to make an order, “compelling the respondents to severally and jointly tender written public apology in three widely-read national daily newspapers and pay a sum of N100 million as general and exemplary damages for the forceful seizure, abduction, detention, threat to life and rights, harassment and inconvenience of the applicants without cause or any court order.”
The police, however, denied abducting Ogungbeje, stating that he was arrested in respect to a petition filed against him by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
SP Chike Oti, the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Police Command, told SaharaReporters that the Police received a petition from a senior advocate, alleging criminal activities and conduct against Ogungbeje.
He said: “He is lying. There is a petition against him by another senior lawyer who wrote a serious petition against him and there is no clause that says a lawyer cannot be arrested when he commits an offence.
“I am sure the Police that arrested him must have shown him the petition and told him the reason he was arrested. I am also sure he must have responded to the petition against him by his senior colleague. He is using a slight issue to cover up for the serious offence allegedly perpetuated by his very person.”