The Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) has demanded the immediate arrest of Oladapo ‘D’banj’ Oyebanjo, a singer, for interrogation over rape allegation by Seyitan Babatayo, a Nigerian lady.
In a statement by Patrick Odey, the coalition’s director, human rights and gender, on Wednesday, the lawyers also called out the Nigerian police.
According to the coalition, the claim made in an earlier statement by Babatayo over the manner of her arrest and consequent detention suggested attempts by the police to “complicate the process of truth”
“We do hereby express our disappointment with the conduct of the relevant agencies tasked with investigating such matters, particularly the Nigeria Police whose complicity in an ensuing chain of event from the date of the allegations made by Ms. Seyitan Baba Tayo have muddled up and complicated the process for truth and justice in this matter,” the statement read.
The lawyers wondered why D’banj has not been invited by the police for interrogation over the matter even after the order by Mohammed Adamu, the inspector-general of police (IGP), that the rape allegation be probed.
“We find it odd that the first line of action of the Nigeria Police Force in a matter such as the present case is to arrest and detain the victim in an allegation, while failing to invite the accused before it for interrogation. This imbalance in strategy, rationale and common sense leaves us, and indeed the general public, with unanswered questions touching on the transparency of the process deployed in the conduct of investigations in the present case, if there was any,” it added.
“While, we understand that preliminary investigatory requirements may include the invitation of persons involved in, and/or connected to the allegations, we find it particularly unsettling that it was during the period of the victim’s faceoff with the Police that the statements credited to her through her social media handle were issued thereby giving us reason to believe that same may not have been made voluntarily.”
The lawyers, who also stood for Busola Dakolo, a celebrity photographer, added that their request was informed by “public perception of the process.”
“While we are in no way attempting to interfere with the conduct of the investigation, we make bold to say that the continued delay in inviting the alleged offender for the purpose of interrogation in pursuance of the investigation ordered by the Inspector General leaves much to be desired as regards public perception of the process,” the statement read.
The coalition also demand investigation into the allegations by Babatayo that some police officers earlier attempted to thwart her efforts to report the incident.
“We also consider it apposite to state that a proper and comprehensive investigation of the allegations must not exclude an inquiry into the role and actions of the officers of the Nigeria Police who were involved in the arrest and detention of the victim and her subsequent possibly coercion into issuing self-contradictory statements,” the statement added.
“We, therefore, demand the immediate arrest of D’banj without any further delay.”
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