May 5, 2017

Police Bail is free or so they say | Adedunmade Onibokun

It has been made known time and time again, that Police bail is free. The words “bail is free” have been recited by officers of the Nigerian Police on several occasions, so -  

1.     Why is bail still collected in Nigerian police stations?
2.     What is the money collected as bail used for?

On the 2nd of May, 2017, The Punch Newspapers, broke a story about a 50 year old photographer who died shortly after being released on bail. The said newspaper article is available here. The photographer allegedly died as a result of torture in the hands of the police but that allegation is being investigated and not the purpose of this article. In this post, I will like to bring to the fore other elements of the story.

According to the news report by The Punch Newspaper, Mr. Kola Adeyeye, a photographer had been arrested alongside 4(four) others. At the time of his arrest, no criminal allegation was made against him and all he happened to be doing was drinking herbal concoctions at a local spot where it was sold. Mr. Adeyeye was then taken to a Courtyard, where the head of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) team who made the arrest interviewed them. The Head of the SARS team cleared them of any wrong doing but ordered that they pay for bail before they could be released from detention. It was learnt that while others paid between N25,000 and N40,000 and were set free, Mr. Adeyeye was remanded because he could not raise the bail sum and was reportedly kept in detention for 7 (seven) days until his pastor came to bail him with N3,500. N2000 was paid while the deceased’s phone was seized until he came back to pay the remaining N1,500. Mr. Adeyeye then died on the motorcycle that was taking him home.

From the above report, I have raised the following questions that need to be determined;

a.     If bail is free, how come the head of a Special Anti – Robbery Team could demand for it?
b.    If bail is free, how come Mr. Adeyeye was not released from detention unconditionally even after he was cleared of any wrongful act?

c.      If bail is free, what happened to the monies paid by the other people arrested alongside Mr. Adeyeye?

d.    If bail is free, does it mean the Head of the Special Anti – Robbery Squad is himself a robber?

e.     If bail is free, can the leadership of the Nigerian Police force admit to not knowing that bail money is still collected in police stations across the country?

f.       If bail is free, does it mean police officers who demand for bail are part of criminal racketeering enterprise within the Nigerian police?

I will leave the questions to be answered by the Inspector – General of Police or Mr. Yomi Shogunle, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Public Complaints Rapid Response Unit, he can be reached via his twitter handle @yomishogunle.

However, because bail is free, I will recommend that if any police officer demands bail from you, please make a complaint by contacting the Police Complaints Unit via 08057000001 or via the website . Don’t forget, just the way bail is free in Nigerian police stations, the police is also your friend.

Adedunmade Onibokun, Esq.

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