Oyo FIDA offers free legal service to viral video victim
•demands apology video from police perpetrators
Female lawyers in Oyo State under the aegis of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), on Thursday, offered free legal service to a lady identified as Towobola in a viral video where she was being assaulted by people alleged to be police officers, in order to ensure those that assaulted her are brought to justice.
The lawyers also asked that the police perpetrators to apologise to the lady through a video that must also go viral on social media while they further demanded that the police do whatever it takes to track and pull down the viral video from the internet
A video went viral on Wednesday showing Towobola being asked sexually demeaning questions while she was also physically manhandled and recorded by alleged security operatives.
Though the Inspector General of Police, Mohamed Adamu, had on Wednesday ordered investigations into the matter through the police Twitter handle @policeNG, the women lawyers say they are not going to allow the matter be swept under the carpet.
The women lawyers who spoke at a press conference which held at the Nigerian Bar Association Secretariat, NTC Road, Iyaganku in Ibadan, through the chairperson, Mrs Deborah Collins said her interaction with Towobola after the viral video indicated that she still feels fear and apprehension as a result of the treatment meted to her and the emotional torture she went through due to the viral video.
Oyo FIDA explained that the association had already gotten in touch with Towobola as well as the police hierarchy to get their side of the story but that they await the consent of Towobola before taking her case up.
“Having watched the said video, we cannot but express our shock, anger, sorrow, pain and condemnation on the dehumanising way the young lady was treated. Assuming but not conceding that the man in the clip was an armed robber and or kidnapper as alleged, couldn’t the young lady have been his potential victims? Why would the police officer interrogate her on her private life bothering on immorality and attempted to link same to the alleged crime? Why would the police feel comfortable in breaching her right to dignity of the human person? Why was she given such negative publicity? “Just like every concerned citizen, we are searching for answers to why such treatment was melted out to the young lady. We call on the Inspector General of Police and the Oyo State Commissioner of Police in whose jurisdiction this illegal act was committed, not to only investigate, but ensure that the perpetrators of this dastardly act are brought to book so as to serve as deterrence to others.
“We are using this medium to call on her that FIDA Oyo is ready to render legal services to her pro bono. That is the way we have always handled matters in our organisation. We are assuring her that we will give her all the required legal service she needs so that she can get justice. We know that the video has done a lot of damage to the life of the lady in question. We talked to her this morning (Thursday) and even the way she was talking, we could sense apprehension. We could feel the fear that she still nurses by that act and treatment meted to her.
“We called on her because this is what we do, we are giving her solidarity, speaking with one voice and condemning the act in totality; the Nigeria Police should know that where the human life is involved, not even women and children alone, it is important. FIDA Oyo State is enjoying the response, solidarity, support and hands of the fellowship of the police, but this act that has been done against this young lady, we condemn it in totality and we hope that the top echelon of the Nigeria Police will rise up quickly to this matter.
“We want to the police to investigate the matter through the viral videos that have gone online and seen how they can bring it down and probably erase it because once it continues to go like that, you can imagine the level of damage it is doing to this lady. Two, we also insist and we demand that there should be a public apology from the policemen from this lady. This apology should also go viral just like the assault video has gone viral from the police,” FIDA said The association reiterated its commitment to the promotion and protection of the right of women and children in the society, adding that, “we undertake to ensure that all legal machinery and defence are set in motion to ensure that Towobola gets justice, her dignity restored and her damages image redeemed.”