Mrs Mercy Adetokunbo Oluwaseyifunmi

A mother of three, Mrs Mercy Adetokunbo Oluwaseyifunmi, has sued the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, and the Officer in charge of General Investigation Section, Force Criminal Investigations Department (FCID), Alagbon Close, Ikoyi, Lagos, for N10 million.

Oluwaseyifunmi is suing for what she described as illegal detention and breach of her fundamental right.

The woman said she was arrested and detained by the police in Ondo State but was later transferred to Alagbon, for bearing the same middle name (Adetokunbo) with her former lover’s estranged wife residing in the United Kingdom (UK). The police also accused her of stealing and trafficking her teenage daughter, Damilola, to the UK.

The alleged trafficked girl is, however, living with her grandmother in Akure, Ondo State.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abutu Yaro, in charge of General Investigations, FCID, had earlier told our correspondent that Oluwaseyifunmi stole and trafficked her daughter in connivance with her former lover, Bankole, who is also the girl’s father.

The police claimed that Oluwaseyifunmi and Bankole carried out the crime using Bankole’s estranged wife’s name. The estranged wife also bears Adetokubo.

Oluwaseyifunmi had Damilola for Bankole while they were still young before both married different partners. Oluwaseyifunmi has kids for her husband, while Bankole had litigation issues with his wife in the UK, leading to separation.

Oluwaseyifunmi’s travails with the Police started after she supported Bankole’s legal battle with his estranged wife. According to Bankole, he had urged Oluwaseyifunmi to go to court and swear an affidavit that he did not carry out circumcision on Damilola. He said it became necessary after his estranged wife attempted to ensure he was deported by alleging that he engaged in Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The affidavit, which was sworn to by Oluwaseyifunmi, led to Bankole winning the legal battle in the UK.

Bankole noted: “My wife vowed to deal with Mercy. She had also been doing everything possible to ensure I got deported. Although she lives in the UK, she has been using policemen in Nigeria to harass and intimidate Mercy.”

Two weeks ago, Oluwaseyifunmi was rearrested by Ondo State Police Command and later transferred to Alagbon. She fell sick, after spending 14 days in police detention. She was eventually released after her lawyer, on her behalf, sued police for breach of her fundamental right and illegal detention.

Recounting her ordeal in Alagbon, she said: “Why the Nigeria Police kept transferring me from one state to another is a mystery to me. It was after my lawyer sued them that they decided to transfer me back to Ondo State. On our way from Lagos to Ondo, the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Sergeant Emmanuel Ebong, was speaking with somebody on the phone. He told the person not to worry that he would ensure I was remanded in Ondo State. He said that nobody would know my whereabouts.

“My family members called me, asking me where the police were taking me. I told them that I didn’t know. The IPO collected my phone and turned my battery upside down. He didn’t want anyone to contact me. He told me that I would go to prison. We got to Akure about 3p.m. and I was immediately taken to Ondo State Police Command. He told the police that there was order from above that I should be charged to court immediately. I was confused over why I should be moved from Alagbon to Ondo State, to be charged to court, after spending 14 days in detention for committing no crime. It was God that caused me to mention the name of my lawyer in Akure at the Ondo State Police Command. A Good Samaritan heard the name and alerted my lawyer that I was at the command. Luckily for me, as I arrived at the Magistrates’ Court 1 in Akure, my lawyer and his team were already waiting to represent me. This was how my bail was perfected.”

Bankole said: “It was after the suit was filed against the police that they bundled her back to Ondo State in order to charge her to court. She was charged for perjury and conspiracy.”

Oluwaseyifunmi’s suit against the police would be heard on Thursday at Federal High Court, Ikoyi.

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