A Customary Court sitting in Ikere Ekiti in Ikere Local government Area of Ekiti State has detained octogenarian woman, Madam Racheal Akeregun, for the offence being committed by another person, Ekiti Standard reports.
In what seems an infringement on the fundamental rights of a detained octogenarian woman, Madam Racheal Akeregun by an Ikere-Ekiti Customary Court, one of the children of the embattled 80 year-old woman, has instituted a legal action against what he described as unlawful detention and threat to the life of the victim.
Joined in the suit are the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the Divisional Police Headquarters, Afao, Ikere-Ekiti, Mr. Ayinla Reuben and the customary court.
The children accused the President of the court, Mr Kayode Kolawole, the Registrar, Mrs Awolope and the DPO of Afao Police station as an accomplice to the unlawful arrest and detention of their mother while seeking redress for the unjust act.
They expressed anger that the Customary Court erred in law by the arrest and detention of their defenseless 80 year old mother without any charge or charges preferred against her.
It learnt that a civil case involving another son of the victim, Daisi Akeregun had earlier been instituted against his wife.
According to a source, the complainant and his wife were engrossed in a divorce suit in a Customary Court sometimes in April but the lockdown prevented the court to sit.
Speaking further, a son of the victim said that his brother Daisi, had earlier told him that he received a telephone call on July 27 from the court Registrar, Mrs Awolope that the case would come up for hearing the second day, July 28, adding that he must appear in court.
The complainant in addition, raised objection to the caller that the notice given to him was less than 12 hours, which he said was too short because he was out of Ikere Ekiti and that he was an apprentice with an Alluminum company in Akure, pleading that the court should pick a convenient new date for both parties.
Trouble however started when Daisi failed to appear in court, and the president of the Customary Court in cohort with the Registrar ordered the arrest and detention of the accused mother.
The visibly angry son lamented that her mother was never a party to any civil suit whatsoever, adding that the old woman was not standing surety for either of the parties to the case.
His words: “She is a hypertensive patient with her medical report on hand and she was taken to the Correctional Centre, which I was made to understand was on the order of the President of the Customary Court”.
The aggrieved son however berated the action taken by the court describing it as unconstitutional to detain a third party to a suit.
He stressed that he personally called the DPO to let him know the implication of their action and the consequences thereafter, but he refused to listen and accompanied the court to detain the old woman.
“What the court ought to have done was to serve a summon for the absentee to appear on another day. “Their actions have never been part of the constitution but maybe, the president of the court has his own disposition of the law that directed him to act contrary to what is obtainable in the constitution”.
“In the criminal code and the Nigeria constitution, it is not in existence. Even in the administration of criminal justice, you cannot hold the third party for the offence being committed by another person”
However, in a separate interview with newsmen, the detained octogenarian, expressed her displeasure about the development, saying she prays the government will intervene in the case and make sure that everyone involved in her unlawful detention is given commensurate punishment to serve as a deterrent to others who might want to do same in future.
“I never stood surety for my son. So I don’t know the reason why the President of the court and the Registrar should order my arrest. It is unfair to an old woman like me”
The President of the customary Court in Ikere , Mr. Kayode Kolawole however; refused to talk to the press on the matter saying, he is not oblige to talk.
Adding that if our correspondent wanted any information regarding the case, he should talk to the Chief Judge who appointed him.
Also, at the Afao police station, an officer who spoke to newsmen on the condition of anonymity said the case in question was a court order, adding that the station is not directly involved in the matter.
He said the arrest and the release of the woman rest with the customary court.
Meanwhile, counsel to the complainant in his letter to the Registrar of the Customary Court described the arrest and detention as shocking, unconstitutional and callous.
He stated further in the letterthat Madam Akeregun was not a party to the action before the Customary Court and that the action in court is a civil matter, more so, that his client was the complainant.
“There is no reason whatsoever, that such an action should be taken against his client’s mother.
He described the action of the court not only as a travesty of justice, but a gross abuse of judicial power against an 80 year-old defenseless woman.