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Ayo Sogunro: How the visit of a married female friend landed me in Abuja police custody

Ayo Sogunro, a Nigerian lawyer and activist, says he slept in a police cell in Abuja after a married female friend visited him in his hotel room.

Ayo-Sogunro. Photo Credit: Punch Newspaper
Ayo-Sogunro. Photo Credit: Punch Newspaper

Ayo Sogunro, a Nigerian lawyer and activist, says he slept in a police cell in Abuja after a married female friend visited him in his hotel room.

Sogunro who narrated his ordeal in a lengthy Twitter thread on Wednesday, said he arrived in Abuja for a human rights meeting last Friday and reached out to some of his friends to inform them of his presence in Nigeria’s capital.

He said a female married friend (name not mentioned) was his first visitor at the hotel and shortly after she arrived, the police arrived at his room.

“Of the people I texted, she was the first to get to my place. I had checked into the hotel around 6.20 p.m., and she got there around 6.40 p.m. Barely 15 minutes later, three police officers came to my door”, he tweeted.

“When the police arrived at my door, they asked to be let inside.

“I denied them entrance and told them they had no authority to enter a private space without a warrant or a clear just cause. Instead, they just pushed me aside and made their way in.

“On seeing my friend, they asked her to come with them. We both asked why. The police replied that because my friend was a married woman, she should not have been in the hotel with me.”

After several arguments with the police, the activist and his female friend followed the police to the station.

On getting to the state, he said he declined to write a statement without the presence of a lawyer because he was still oblivious to his offence.

However, the Divisional Police Officer at the station explained that they were in Northern Nigeria, which is under the Penal Code, and it was suspicious for a married woman to visit a man, adding that the police officers were right to have invaded his hotel room without a warrant.

“After a while behind the counter, they called me for an interview with the DPO. I was still quite upset at this disruption of my day – and all this started barely one hour after I had landed in Nigeria and entered Abuja.

“I told the DPO everything they did wrong: the process of arrest before investigation; using the police to settle what was now seeming to be a marital issue not involving me; barging into a hotel room without a warrant; and taking me into custody without a clear charge.

“I then asked her, well, if that’s the case, where’s their evidence that any offence had been committed?” Sogunro asked.

After a long discussion with the DPO, he was taken to a cell, where he spent the night.

“The night behind bars was philosophical. Later, I was more amused than angry. The idea of coming to do a human rights event in Nigeria only to end up in a cell was a hilarious and tragic testament to the Nigerian condition,” he concluded.

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