Sunday, May 25, 2014

Photo: Pastor Labelled as Armed Robber, Police Tortured Him In Lagos

Mr. Ibukun Daniel, pastor of a Pentecostal church in Ikotun area of Lagos, was at home, enjoying the serenity of his family life on August 16, 2012, when a team of policemen barged in on his compound and arrested him, in the presence of his wife and children.


According to him, he was led like a criminal to the Ikotun Police Division, where he was told that his next door neighbours, Mr. and Mrs. Teniennor Abaka, said he was an informant for robbers.
Pastor Daniel was told point blank that the couple alleged that a robbery that took place in the early hours of that day was orchestrated by him.
“I had never seen something like that in my whole life. I had no idea one could simply be labelled an armed robber and arrested without any single evidence. I knew there was a robbery at their house; I knew that the robbers snatched their jeep and everybody sympathised with them. 
“They said I knew about the robbery because the robbers parked in front of my house in Ikotun before Abaka was attacked. I was shocked.”
 After a day in police cell, Pastor Daniel and one of his neighbours, who was also arrested, were taken home for a search on their apartments after which the police were said to have found nothing and they were released on bail.

Shortly after the police released Daniel and his neighbour, he said the couple reported the matter at the SARS office because they were not satisfied with the investigation of the police at Ikotun.

Pastor Daniel told Punch, “It was like they just wanted to cause trouble for my family and get me imprisoned for a reason I did not understand. We realised that they had contacted a highly placed police officer then, who ordered the Ikotun Divisional Police Officer to transfer the case to SARS.

“After being detained till the following day at SARS, with a threat from Mrs. Abaka that we would rot in jail, we were released the following day. Few days later, we saw the Abakas driving the same jeep that was supposedly taken away by the robbers.

“Before that time, the Abakas were fond of threatening anybody they had problem with on the street with the police. They always showed that they knew somebody in the police force who could lock anybody up.”

Because he considered the case as a gross violation of his fundamental human rights, Daniel contacted his lawyer who filed a complaint at the Zone 2 Police Command, where the case was investigated and the then Assistant Inspector-General of Police made a report that the case be charged to court. But the case has remained dormant since then.

A case Daniel filed at the Ikeja Magistrate Court was also quashed. But he feels he was unjustly cheated, while his reputation had forever been soiled by the Abakas.

During a visit to the street where the Abakas and the Daniels live, our correspondent spoke to some landlords who alleged that the Abakas were fond of “causing everybody trouble and threatening people with the police.”

The Chairman of Irebami Community Development Association, under which the street falls, said some members of the association had suffered untold hardship because of the Abakas’ excesses.

Olugboyo said, “Many landlords here would have spent days in jail if not for the grace of God. That family is evil because they just don’t want anybody around them to have peace. I wonder how that pastor even has the courage to take them on.

“There was a time we were contributing money for the installation of a new transformer. We realised that a lot of people did not want to take part in the arrangement but wanted to enjoy light. The CDA decided to disconnect electricity supply to those who did not contributed towards the project.

When we went to the Abakas, one of them slapped a landlord. The next thing they did was to call a high-ranking police officer, whom the couple always use to threaten people here. Eleven of our members were locked up that day.”

The CDA chairman also alleged that the Abakas also got some young men in the area arrested on allegation of smoking Indian hemp, an allegation the couple did not deny when our correspondent spoke with them.

When our correspondent met the Abakas, the man said he accused the pastor of being an accomplice of the robbers because his wife, who witnessed the robbery, told him that one of the vehicles the robbers used to operate at the time had once been seen in front of the pastor’s house.

Narrating how he was robbed, Mr. Abaka said, “I went to drop my son at the bus stop around 5.30am that day and I noticed two vehicles ahead of me as I approached our street. They turned towards my street as I followed them. They went past my house and stopped in front of the pastor’s house. But when I honked to my wife to come and open the gate, some men wielding guns came out of the vehicle, took my phones and everything I had on me and snatched my vehicle. My wife, who was by the gate, witnessed everything.

“She later told me that she had seen one of the vehicles used by the robbers in front of the pastor’s house before, with one of the occupants speaking to the pastor at the entrance.”

When told that the vehicle could simply have been the same make and colour, Mrs. Abaka insisted that she had a good memory and actually noticed a mark at the back of the vehicle that showed it was the same.

“I am very observant, I never forget a face or a vehicle that I have seen before,” Mrs. Abaka told our correspondent.

Her husband told our correspondent that it was doubtful if Daniel was actually a genuine pastor as he claimed.

“He changed his vehicle from a very expensive Toyota Corolla sometime ago and bought a jeep. Why can’t the police investigation delve into his income and how much he pays as tax?” the man asked.

Mrs. Abaka also said she reported the landlords who were later arrested ony because they assaulted her.

However, Pastor Daniel is now insisting that for the sake of posterity and the protection of his children, the police should prosecute the Abakas for soiling his reputation in the public.

Punch spoke with the Officer-in-Charge, Legal at Zone 2 Command, one Mr. Justin, who explained that it was untrue that the matter had been swept under the carpet.

He said, “This matter is so simple. I was the one who led the case but I was not the one who investigated. After his investigation, the officer in charge informed me about his findings and advised that the couple (Abakas) should apologise to the pastor."

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