‘I was subjected to inhuman treatment’
BRIGHT Akinyemi’s story is one that no private educational service provider prays for. It is an experience that reveals that a little unintentional mistake in customer-firm relationship could be costly.
Akinyemi is the Chief Executive Officer of Integrity Professionals Ltd. A duly registered educational service entity, which prepares students for professional examinations conducted by professional bodies such as Institute of Chartered Accountants (ICAN), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants (ACCA), the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board among other examinations.
He also operates a sales outlet for the sale of admission forms and different professional direct membership applications, where he charges minimal fees as administrative processing fees.
Trouble began when he assisted one Mr. Christopher Omagbemi in the processing of a Chartered Institute of Administration direct membership application for which he was charged the sum of N5,000 to process the forms.
However, after duly completing the registration process, it was discovered that the Chartered Institute of Administration, did not reply Mr. Christopher Omagbemi, by sending him an acknowledgement and acceptance letter and requesting him to complete a personal data form. He was said to be the only candidate out of about 55 others registered by the educational service firm that had such problem, as the others received their acknowledgement letters, The Guardian learnt.
Apparently worried by the development, Mr. Christopher Omagbemi became impatient and reported the matter to the Police at the “B” Division, Warri, Delta State, that he had been defrauded of N5,000.
On June 22, 2015, at about 9.00 a.m., Mr. Bright Akinyemi was invited to the “B” Division Police Station by quite a number of armed policemen, where he was informed of an alleged offence of defrauding the said Christopher Omagbemi of the sum of N5,000 with which he used to process the Chartered Institute of Administration’s direct membership form. After a series of interrogation at the police station, Akinyemi was arrested and his vehicle, Odyssey Space Bus, with Registration Number AM 813 AGB, was confiscated.
Akinyemi’s office on 253, Warri-Sapele Road, was later invaded by the same police officers allegedly without a valid search warrant, where they carted away one HP desktop system unit, one HP printer, seven desktop monitors and important documents while the office apartment of Mr. Bright Akinyemi was placed under lock and key till date.
All attempts by Adeyemi to resolve the dispute by making the sacred facts bare to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of “B” Division, CSP Anietie Eyoh, fell on deaf ears. He was subjected to assault, inhuman and degrading treatment, and detained for more than the requisite statutory period and was eventually charged to the Magistrate’s Court, Warri, upon a holding charge which occasioned Akinyemi being remanded in prison custody for a period of thirty (37) days all of which was allegedly orchestrated by the DPO.
All efforts to settle with Mr. Christopher Omagbemi, and perhaps, refund the said form processing fee proved abortive on the basis of falsification of the amount and outrageous demands for expenses incurred in securing the arrest and detention of Akinyemi.
Even the DPO, The Guardian learnt, equally rebuffed all efforts by the Akinyemi to settle the matter, accusing him of not being “fruitful”.
Akinyemi was left with no other option than to solicit the services of a human rights group, Advocare Justicae, through which he petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IG), with the hope that the police chief would intervene in the matter and compel the DPO to release all his items and vehicle since the items have no nexus with the alleged offence complained of, to enable him prepare for his defence as stipulated by Section 36 (6) (b) 0f the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria, as amended.
The Co-ordinator of Advocare Justicae, Mr. O. Apinoko, told The Guardian when contacted that the actions of the “B” Division Divisional Police Office, was illegal and an abuse of Akinyemi’s rights as a Nigerian.
He confirmed that despite all pleas the “B” Division Police Station in Warri was still refusing to release Akinyemi’s office equipment and car in spite of the horrendous physical and psychological torture Adeyemi had been through.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State Police Command, Celestine Kalu, told The Guardian that the Police Force Headquarters was not aware of the development despite a petition submitted to the office of the Commission of Police by the victim and his solicitor.
She, however, requested to be furnished with further details on the matter and promised that it would be investigated.