Controversy trails detention of ‘sick’ school proprietress by Lagos police
•Police acted within ambit of the law, says PPRO
Controversy is trailing arrest and detention of a sick suspect, Mrs. Kemi Omoyah by Officer in Charge (O in C) of gender unit D10, State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos, CSP Margret Ighodalo.
While Omoyah, the proprietress of Cedarville Montessori Schools, Magbon Ibiye, Lagos, alleged that her detention was in a bid to extort money from her and her husband, the police denied the accusation, stressing that they acted within ambit of the law.
The Guardian learnt that trouble started when the school proprietress scolded a Junior Secondary School (JSS) 1 student, Oreoluwa Macaulay, for allegedly spreading false information about her and the school.
Macaulay had allegedly told her classmates that Omoyah buried a charm in the school premises.
Learning about the information, Omoyah sent for Miss Macaulay and asked her if what one of her classmates, Chidinma told her was true. She was said to have confessed to getting the gist from one Daniella, a former student of the school.
According to Omoyah’s lawyer, Toye Eniola, in the course of the proprietress chatting with Oreoluwa, to know what would have made her conceive such thought, Omoyah discovered that the girl had also told other classmates.
The lawyer said: “She called the four concerned students, warned and scolded them to desist from spreading such misinformation capable of tarnishing her image and that of the school.
“When Oreoluwa got home, she narrated what happened to her mother and the mother called Mr. Omoyah to threaten him that she had all it takes to drag the name of the school in the mud and get him and his wife arrested.
“Two days later, the couple received a letter from Ms. Nkechi Macaulay, that her daughter was harassed, intimidated, and subjected to trial.
“She demanded an apology, and I replied to Macaulay, that we owed her no apology.
Ms. Macaulay resorted to meeting parents of the school and instigating them to withdraw their children from the school, which some of them did. When Mr. and Mrs. Omoyah, noticed, they petitioned Ms. Macaulay, to Area K Police Command and she was invited and after interrogation, she was asked to come back the following day with her daughter to be interviewed.
“Sometime early December, the Area K Command received a signal directing it to transfer the case to SCID Panti, Yaba, and the parties.
“On December 14, Mr. and Mrs. Omoyah, made themselves available at the SCID, as scheduled and they were taken to the O/C gender Unit D10, where CSP. Margret Ighodalo, harassed, intimidated and told the couple that they will pay dearly for the pain they caused the complainant.
“It came to me as a rude shock when the IPO, Inspector Olayemi, filled a Detention Order for Mrs. Omoyah, before obtaining her statement. I went to express my displeasure to CSP Ighodalo, who told me that that is the procedure; that the complainant, Ms. Macaulay has been cheated and needed to be compensated, thus we should be ready to part with N500, 000. 00. They said some people that had a similar issue sometime in October 2021 paid almost N1 million.
“ When all efforts by CSP Ighodalo, to extort money from us failed, she directed the IPO, to obtain the statement of Mr. Omoyah, and detain him too which the IPO did, but later released him from cell after someone called the DC on his behalf.
“We left SCID at about 10:50 p.m. on the said day. At about 7:10 a.m. on December 15 on our way to SCID, we received a distressed call from the IPO that Mrs. Omoyah needed medical attention, Mr. Omoyah and I attempted to talk to her, but she was not responding.
“When we rushed down to SCID Panti, we met her in the IPO’ s Office unconscious in the company of the IPO and a nurse trying to revive her then we picked her up and rushed her to Lagoon hospital, Ikeja, where she has been receiving treatment.”
When The Guardian reached out to Omoyah, she confirmed that she was detained and slapped by a policeman who asked her what her offence was. She claimed she was detained for more than two hours and harassed by the police and Ighodalo.
BUT the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Adekunle Ajisebutu, told The Guardian that enquiries revealed that the woman did not spend more than two hours at the station.
He also said the claim that N500,000 was demanded by officers was a lie and that the police acted within the ambit of the law.
He said: “The allegations are baseless and outright lies told to hoodwink people and seek sympathy. There were criminal allegations of child abuse and other complaints against the suspect.
“Barely two hours after her arrest, she suddenly took ill, perhaps due to a previous underlining ailment she didn’t disclose.
“In line with our practice and tradition of policing with a human face, and in compliance with the earlier directive of the Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, that sick suspects should be allowed quick access to medical treatment, the suspect was immediately released to her husband unconditionally to enable her to undergo medical treatment.
“The police have not acted outside the provisions of the law. Since her release the same day, she has not reported back to the State CID as was expected of her.”