The Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre has condemned what it tagged an unlawful and irresponsible act of brutality and assault meted on two activists by the Osun State Deputy Commissioner of Police, Hamzat Adebola Ayinde, in Osogbo, the state capital.
The activists, Owoeye Olaoluwa, Coordinator of CORE, Osun State, and a female member of the group, Omowunmi Ewatee, were arrested by the police on Friday during a protest on the need for massive resistance of fuel pump price hike and other anti-poor policies of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
Okechukwu Nwanguma, Executive Director of RULAAC, in a statement said Olaoluwa and Ewatee were "seriously slapped and beaten" by Ayinde at the state CID office.
Nwanguma asked the Police Service Commission to investigate the issue with a view to ensuring disciplinary action.
The statement reads, “RULAAC was informed that the DCP brutalised and assaulted them because a police officer told him that they refused to listen to an officer who instructed them to use face mask whereas the officer was also not wearing a face mask. The DCP, without hearing from us, angrily came outside, dragged us in and landed several slaps and beating on us.
“We told him to hear from our side but he said we can't come to his office and be harassing his officers. Members of CORE had embarked on a peaceful campaign to sensitise and mobilise members of the public towards the planned mass protest against insensitive government policies including the recent increase in the pump prices of petrol and hike in electricity bill by the Buhari regime.
“We were singing and as we passed in front of Iree Police Division in Boripe Local Government in Osun State, a police officer called us and said we did not take permit and he would have shot us all, that nothing will happen. They were later taken to the state CID Osogbo where the DCP assaulted them, slapped them several times causing the face of the female victim to swell.
“It is shocking and unbecoming that a senior officer of the rank of a DCP could descend to such despicable level of physically assaulting innocent youngmen and women whose only offence appears to be that they were exercising their fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly: to mobilise popular dissent against anti people policies and actions of the Buhari regime.
“If the DCP believed that the young people had committed any offence, the lawful and responsible approach would be to apply the prescriptions of the law and not to take laws into his own hands, as he recklessly did in this case. He not only acted irresponsibly and beyond his powers but also committed offences under the Anti Torture Act and the Violence Against Persons Act. He also acted contrary to police discipline and professional standards. He is a terrible example to officers junior to him especially those working under his supervision.
“RULAAC condemns the unlawful and irresponsible conduct of DCP Hamzat Adebola Ayinde and hereby calls on the Police Service Commission to invoke its disciplinary powers and investigate him with a view to imposing appropriate disciplinery action against him for deterrence.”