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22.06.2022 news For Failing to Give SARS N100,000 Bribe, Lagos Bus Driver Spends 4 Years in Prison

Published 22nd Jun, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

Headfort Foundation, a prison reform initiative, has narrated how Femi Ariyo, a Lagos-based commercial bus driver, spent four years in prison due to false claims made by police personnel.

In a tweet on Tuesday, the foundation said operatives of a Lagos task force seized Ariyo’s bus in Ikeja in February 2018. The operatives then directed him to the office of the now defunct Ikeja Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to recover his bus, Headfort stated.

Ariyo’s life took a turn for the worse when he got to the Ikeja office. According to Headfort, SARS officers arrested him and declared him an armed robber and accomplice of his conductor.

READ ALSO: Arrested by SARS, 4 Men ‘Who Committed No Crime’ Spend 11 months in Custody

“Ariyo maintained his innocence and refuted the allegations. They wrote two statements for him and tortured him,” Headfort said.

“The Investigating Police Officer (IPO) requested N100,000 from Ariyo to guarantee his release and do away with the charges, but neither Ariyo nor his relatives could pay the money.”

Unable to raise the money, the police charged Ariyo to court in 2018, and he was remanded in the Kirikiri Medium Correctional Centre.

Headfort said that in 2019, Ariyo appeared at the Tinubu High Court six times without being able to secure adequate legal representation because of his indigent status.

READ ALSO: Factory Worker Spends 23 Months in Kirikiri Prison ‘for Eating at His Father’s Shop’

The foundation said that in 2021, Femi came in contact with a lawyer of theirs who took his case up, compiled his case file and assigned it to Abdu-Salaam Abbas and Co. law firm, its partner.

“They agreed to represent Femi on a pro bono basis. The firm detailed a team of two bright lawyers, namely Khalid Abbas, a partner, and George Ayanjompe, an associate, to undertake the defence of Femi,” Headfort said.

“After over a year of assiduously deploying resources and putting up a dogged defence for Femi, on the 14th day of June 2022, our partner firm –Abdu-Salaam Abbas and Co – secured the freedom of Femi.”

Published 22nd Jun, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

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