A civil rights organisation under the aegis of Coalition of Public Interests Lawyers and Advocates, on Monday opened a fresh chapter in the allegation of rape against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of Commonwealth Zion Assembly.
The organisation specifically said information at its disposal suggested that the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, was planning to transfer the case to Abuja.
The convener of COPA, Pelumi Olajengbesi, in a statement in Abuja, said the case would be diligently monitored with a view to checking the abuse of the process by parties.
Rather than transfer the case to Abuja, he advised that priority must also be given to the security and convenience of the vital and primary witness and Fatoyinbo’s alleged rape victim, Busayo Dakolo.
Olajengbesi reminded the police that a valid and active warrant of arrest against Fatoyinbo had yet to be executed, adding that the police would be setting itself up for ridicule and suspicion, “and are in themselves in gross contempt of their oath of office and duties as enforcers of civil and criminal discipline.”
According to him, the handling of such a delicate, yet grievous allegation against Fatoyinbo “will go a long way to either mar or make the reputation of the Nigeria Police Force as an institution of discipline and an objective principal in the pursuit of justice.”
While demanding that the allegation of rape must not be moved to Abuja for Fatoyinbo’s sake, Olajengbesi said keen observation of the processes being undertaken by the police on the matter revealed “a lacklustre and suspicious plot underfoot to give a soft landing to the suspect.”
The statement read: “Our demands are simply that the matter be allowed its due course within the jurisdiction where the complaint was filed. Transferring the case to Abuja from Lagos where it was originally filed prejudices the complainant while extending a kid’s glove to the accused who perhaps feels too connected to deign to go to Lagos to answer to the serious allegations against him.
“We are vehemently opposed to such a move and demand that this matter be thoroughly investigated and the accused invited to the place of domicile of the victim especially given the matter was filed there.
“Let it be abundantly clear that we are sufficiently conscious of the law in matters of jurisdiction as to investigation and prosecution of criminal matters. In this matter, investigation can take place in Lagos, Nigeria and if any place should be given premium attention, it is the place of residence of the victim to aid and facilitate proper information needed by the police and not the place of residence of the accused.
“We have noticed with displeasure the usual mischievous moves that have come to characterise the Nigeria Police Force in the past whenever it is set to deliberately or negligently mess up a case of such importance.
“We do hereby state emphatically that the Nigeria Police Force is not handling the Fatoyinbo rape allegation with the urgency and seriousness it deserves. This is wrong, condemnable and very much in disregard of the need to ensure that justice is done in the matter regardless of whose ox is gored.
“A warrant of arrest was issued to secure Biodun Fatoyinbo to answer questions in line with the police investigation. Unfortunately, nothing has been done and Fatoyinbo has continued to walk freely without reporting to the police station. Instead of arresting him for proper interrogation, the police have now changed gear after days of filing the complaint with the victim now being unduly pressurised to relocate to Abuja or to fly to Abuja every day as the Nigeria Police Force intend to transfer the matter there. This is unacceptable.
“We totally reject all attempts by the IGP to unduly transfer the matter to Abuja where the accused is resident. This is like giving the accused person a red carpet treatment when he should actually be thoroughly investigated. Though we acknowledge the fact that the IGP has the administrative discretion to transfer matters to any division or jurisdiction for proper investigation, we make bold to say that same must be exercised judiciously and professionally.
“We call on the IGP to drop his personal interest in this matter, where any, and allow justice take its full course as a respecter of no one. We have sufficient information that the IGP has taken personal interest in the case as Mr. Biodun Fatoyinbo has influenced him into redirecting the case to Abuja where it would most likely be suffocated and dropped.
“In any case, where the Nigeria Police Force attempt to bring up argument of where the elements of the offence took place to determine prosecution, let it be known that it is Ilorin, Kwara State not Abuja. The alleged case happened in Ilorin years back. The victim now lives in Lagos and the suspect is in Abuja.”