The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called for the redeployment of Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Lanre Bankole, following the arrest and detention of the ex-chairman of the students’ body in the state, Olawale Balogun.
NANS which said Balogun’s detention for over 72 hours is unlawful is calling for his unconditional release, demanding a N500 million compensation and a public apology from the CP.
Tribune Onlinereports that Balogun popularly known as Movement was arrested on Saturday on the suspicion that he was part of the hoodlums and political thugs who disrupted the congress of a faction of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at Ake area of the state.
It could also be recalled that Balogun has since been paraded by police authorities which claimed he was arrested in a Hilux van found with guns and ammunition.
But the students’ body stated that the Ogun Police cannot substantiate such claim as Balogun “was arrested while crossing the road at Ake” during a raid after the congress and “nothing incriminating was found on him.”
While noting that multiple sources confirmed to it that the allegations against Balogun were false, NANS alleged that the “narration was spun” by police against Balogun, adding that the political thugs who were captured in viral pictures and videos while disrupting the congress are yet to be arrested by the police.
NANS, in a press conference addressed by its Deputy Coordinator in Southwest (Zone D), Comrade Oladimeji Uthman, on Wednesday said failure to release Balogun unconditionally in the next 12 hours, “we shall be forced to involve and move the National Secretariat of NANS to Ogun State and exercise the full extant of aluta laws.”
It also said the newly-deployed Ogun CP has “failed to ensue peace and dispense justice in the matter of public interest within his first six days in office” and should be suspended and redeployed from the state by the IGP Usman Alkali Baba and the Police Service Commission.
NANS also asked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to probe the CP for allegedly receiving N50 million to arrest and prosecute Balogun as a political thug.
The statement reads in part: “Olawale Balogun is a former chairman of our noble association, NANS/JCC Ogun Axis and was unlawfully arrested at the Ake area of Abeokuta, an area that was used for the APC Ogun State congress last Saturday 16th October 2021 by a team of police officers deployed to the area.
“He was arrested while crossing the road at Ake but was paraded as a political thug with claims of being arrested in a Hilux van found with guns and ammunition. A claim that the Police Commissioner, CP Lanre Bankole, could not substantiate himself, simply a lie from hell.
“Meanwhile, multiple sources have confirmed to us that the claim was nothing but false and only being promoted by the police to carry out their heinous actions against our comrade and others.
“In contravention to the Human right charter and section 41(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) which guarantees the free movement of Nigerians within Nigeria without hindrance, the police arrested Comrade Olawale Balogun against this background even when nothing incriminating was found on him and the Nigeria police under CP Lanre Bankole immediately spinned the narration to accommodate the evil plots orchestrated by his men and levied charges against the innocent Comrade Balogun while the real culprits who perpetrated the evil continue to move freely around the state even when their pictures as been captured in actions are all over on the internet for more than 48hours now.
“Having detained Comrade Olawale Balogun for more than 72 hours unlawfully, we demand his immediate and unconditional release from the Police custody in Ogun State.
“For subjecting Comrade Olawale Balogun to unlawful arrest, parade and media trial in the last 48 hours, we demand an open letter of apology from the Nigeria Police Force, Ogun State Command, to be published in three national dailies and damages of N500 million to be paid within the next 25 days from now.
“Furthermore, we call for the immediate suspension and investigation of CP Lanre Sikiru Bankole by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) for accepting a bribe to undermine his oath of office in fragrant abuse of power and privileges by taking sides with politicians in a matter he was supposed to be just and fair as a public servant living on the taxes of Nigerians whom he swore to protect.
“Immediate redeployment of CP Lanre Bankole from the Ogun State Police Command, having failed to ensue peace and disperse justice in the matter of public interest within his first 6 days in office. We demand his immediate redeployment to the Nigeria Police College for more training on leadership, human and crisis management. He still has much to learn as we doubt his qualifications, intellect and experience as a Police Chief.
“Finally, we hereby give CP Lanre Sikiru Bankole, IGP Usman Alkali Baba and the Police Service Commission only 12 hours to accede to our demands stated above, otherwise, we shall be forced to involve and move the National Secretariat of NANS to Ogun State and exercise the full extant of Aluta Laws as we refuse to be intimidated and can not allow our comrade to be sacrificed as political bait by the politicians and police in Ogun State.”
When contacted over the phone, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the state command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the allegations levelled against the police and CP by NANS were laughable, ridiculous and mischievous, saying that “I don’t know where they got their information from.”
He further said that Balogun and the other suspects will be arraigned in court “anytime soon”, adding that the suspects were arrested in a Hilux van with two prohibited firearms and that NANS should not resort to blackmail the CP who is a trained lawyer.
When asked why they were detained longer than 24 hours as prescribed by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, Oyeyemi said the police has obtained a remand warrant from the court against all of the suspects.
He also urged NANS to engage a lawyer to defend Balogun in court since he is still deemed innocent before the law, adding that the police will soon conclude its investigation.