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Telecoms CEO sues police for alleged unlawful arrest, detention

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A telecoms guru, Mr. Adegoke Ayoola, has sued the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) for alleged unlawful arrest and detention in respect of civil and commercial transactions at the federal high court, Abuja. 
   
The claimant through his counsel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa (SAN), is claiming that the police was directly aiding and abetting his opponents to take over his company and commercial interests. 
   
Also joined, as defendants in the suit are DSP Funmi Eguaoje, who is the police team leader; SC Connections Ltd; Mr. Ali Joda, Mohammed Bashir Ahmed, among others.
   
Mr. Ayoola in a 58-paragraph affidavit stated that he formed a partnership with some businessmen to handle telecoms interconnections between the telecoms operators, with a profit ratio of 58/42 per cent.
 

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He also said that he has been running the company as its Managing Director since 2010 until sometimes in July 2019, when he travelled abroad for medical check up and some of his partners claimed to have held an illegal board meeting to remove him as a signatory to the bank accounts of the company.
   
To challenge decisions purportedly taken at the said board meeting, Mr. Ayoola stated that he filed a suit at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court, but instead of defending the suit in court, his partners formed an alignment with some officers of the Nigeria Police Force in Abuja, through a frivolous petition.

According to him, the petition led to his arrest on September 3, 2020 and his subsequent detention for seven days in Abuja, with other suspects who had no face masks, sanitizers and did not observe any COVID-19 safety protocols.
 
While he was in police custody, the police allegedly forced him to agree to settle with his opponents, who were allowed to take over his interrogation and interview, and all the while dictating to the police and demanding documents from him. 

At age 61 and with underlying health conditions, Mr. Ayoola stated that he is scared for his health and that the police were deliberately surrendering their powers to his opponents to harass, intimidate and bully him into yielding his interests, investments and years of labour, to them. 
   

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Consequently, Mr. Ayoola prayed the Court to declare his arrest and detention as illegal, null and void.
   
He also prayed the court for an order to restrain the police from setting the law against him in respect of civil matters, and to preserve his liberty and life and N500 million damages, amongst others. 
   
Mr. Ayoola then contented that by virtue of section 8 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and section 32 (2) of the newly enacted Police Act, 2020, the police cannot arrest any citizen for contractual or civil matters. 
   
He also stated that his opponents had boasted openly to him that they were well connected with the law enforcement agencies, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Department of State Security (DSS) and National Security Adviser (NSA) and they have vowed to use their connections even up to the Presidency to deal with him and to force him to relinquish his interests in the business to them.
   
Mr. Adegboruwa in a personal letter addressed to and received in the office of the IGP, therefore urged him to call the team handling the case to order, to obey the civil authority and integrity of the court.

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