Magistrates in Osun State have unanimously resolved to embark on an indefinite strike should the Commissioner of Police, Fimihan Adeoye, fail to arrest the Oluwo of Iwo, Abdulrasheed Akanbi, and make him available in court on Friday, January 6.
They hinged their decision on the contemptuous posture of the monarch and the refusal of Mr. Adeoye to arrest him and make him available in court as ordered by the magistrate court in Osogbo.
The last order of the magistrate, Olusola Aluko, for the arrest of the monarch was given on December 30, 2016, after the monarch had turned down previous invitations by the court to appear in defence of various allegations of fraud and forgery levelled against him by another monarch, the Oluwo Oke of Iwo Oke.
Mr. Akanbi had described the warrant of arrest as disrespectful and instigated by corruption on the part of the judge, vowing never to appear in court.
The monarch had also threatened to issue a “traditional warrant of arrest” against the magistrate for daring to issue same against a first class monarch of reputation.
“I am baffled that the CP is claiming ignorance of the court order. It must be a joke of the century. I am not joking with my order. My order remains my order,” Mr. Aluko had declared when issuing his last order of arrest on December 30, 2016.
In spite of the order, the commissioner of police made no attempt to arrest the controversial monarch.
The body of magistrates, however, in a letter dated January 4, 2017 and addressed to the Chief Judge of Osun State, Adepele Ojo, demanded for an order from the judiciary compelling the police commissioner to arrest the monarch.
The letter, which was made available to journalists in Osogbo on Thursday, addressed to the Chief Judge through the Chief Registrar, was signed by the chairman of the Magistrates’ Association of Nigeria, Osun State branch, F.A Sodamade; Secretary, F.I. Omisade; A.O. Oyeniyi; J.O. Owolawi; A.O Ayilara and A.O Ajanaku.
“We therefore humbly seek Your Lordship’s attention, protection and response in the following ways: An urgent directive to the Commissioner of Police to arrest and present for prosecution the Oluwo of Iwo,” the letter partly read.
“An urgent order directing the commissioner of police to provide each magistrate with armed personal orderlies as done in other jurisdiction.
“We humbly state that with the prevalent threat to the security of magistrates as exemplified in the events in Iwo and Osogbo, we consider our lives unsafe and may be unable to continue sitting in our various stations, which may affect us entertaining any new charge from the office of the Commissioner of Police until the commissioner of police has complied with Your Lordship’s directives.”
The Oluwo is standing trial before Mr. Aluko, following a suit brought before the court by the Oluwo Oke of Iwo-Oke, alleging that the Oluwo of Iwo was not fit to be the Oba and that he fraudulently procured the stool.
Mr. Adeoye told the court that Mr. Akanbi concealed some facts about his past to the state government when he was installed as a first class monarch about a year ago.
He alleged that Mr. Akanbi was used to carrying armed thugs and hoodlums around to harass and attack persons whom he perceived as his enemies.
He further alleged that Mr. Akanbi forged his name to obtain travel documents to the United States where he was allegedly jailed in New York City and deported to Nigeria in year 2000.
He added that Mr. Akanbi later travelled out with his real name to Canada in 2001 and became a Canadian citizen but was also arrested in Toronto and was in jail between 2006 and 2007.
“These facts were concealed for the state government which appointed and installed him as the Oluwo of Iwo,” the suit read.
He also accused the monarch of making money through internet fraud and using his palace as a cover.
But Mr. Akanbi denied the allegations, saying they were concocted to tarnish his hard earned image.
He made his defence in a 13 paragraph affidavit through the Aremo of Iwo land, Adelani Akanbi, describing the application filed against him as “scandalous, vexations and designed to embarrass, blackmail and ridicule the monarch in the view of right thinking members of the society.”
He also told said the allegations were worthless and could not stand the test of justice.
Governor Rauf Aregbesola made a subtle intervention move on Tuesday when he called on the judiciary to soft pedal on its orders to arrest the monarch.
He also called on Mr. Adeoye to withdraw the case from the court in order to ensure peace among the traditional rulers and the judiciary in the state.