A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome, has denied the claim that he jumped into the case of the two detained sons of the late Chief Moshood Abiola without being briefed to do so.
In a statement on Monday, Ozekhome said contrary to the claim allegedly made by another law firm, he was properly briefed to file a fundamental rights enforcement suit on behalf of the Abiola sons by their Cameroonian mother, Mrs Olive Abiola.
He added that the boys’ stepmother, Mrs Adebisi Abiola, who allegedly instigated their arrest by the police Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was not joined as a defendant in the suit in order not to polarise the late MKO’s family.
Kassim and Aliyu Abiola were arrested by SARS operatives in their father’s house at No. 42-46 MKO Abiola Crescent, off Toyin Street, Ikeja, on September 2, following a robbery at the house in the wee hours of the same day.
Ozekhome’s law firm had filed a N100m fundamental rights enforcement suit against the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Hakeem Odumosu, contending that their arrest and detention by the police was unlawful.
In the statement, Ozekhome rejected the claim that the suit he filed had prevented the amicable resolution of the matter by the family and was responsible for the continued detention of Kassim and Aliyu by the police since September 2.
The statement was titled: ‘Our measured response to the press release made by Debo Adeleke, esq, on behalf of Maritime, Commercial and Immigration Law Chambers’.
Countering the claim that he was not briefed to file the suit, Ozekhome said, “We were personally briefed to handle the above brief through a series of telephone calls on Sunday, 6th and Monday, 7th of September, 2020, by Mrs Olive Abiola, the very Cameroonian mother of the duo, who lives in Zimbabwe, and who told me she sought and got my numbers through a Nigerian friend of hers and through the Internet.
“We never knew her in person and have never met her before the said brief, and up till now.
“It is, therefore, professionally unfair and extremely preposterous for anyone (let alone a law firm), to suggest, imagine, or even daydream that at our level, we would ever jump up and take up a matter we have not been properly and adequately briefed on to handle.
“The two detained young men gave our lawyers further full verbal briefing, in addition to that already given by their mother via a series of telephone conversations.”
On why the detained men’s stepmother was left out of the lawsuit, Ozekhome said, “The facts, as copiously given to us by both mother and detained children, were so ugly that we could easily have joined Mrs Adebisi Abiola as second defendant in the fundamental rights matter, a move we however advisedly and cautiously discarded.”
Culled from PUNCH