By Juliana Francis
A love story which started in Nigeria between two lovers, leading to marriage, has degenerated into divorce, power play, blackmail, accusations and counter-accusations.
Caught in the middle of this drama are the Metropolitan and Nigerian police. While the Metropolitan police are presently looking at the merit of extraditing the man identified as Bankole, their Nigerian counterparts are lining their pockets.
It was learnt that the Nigerian policemen, who are investigating the marital issue, have allegedly been extorting the estranged couple, Bankole and his former wife, Eileen.
While the policemen allegedly collected money from the woman to ensure that her former lover was extradited from UK, the policemen turned to Bankole, demanding money to stop his extradition.
The policemen, who are pulling these strings, are attached to the Police Interpol Section, Force Headquarters, Abuja.
The Force Public Relations Officer (FPPRO), a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Frank Mba, while expressing anger over the policemen shenanigans, said that he had received complaint from Bankole on the issue and vowed to fish out the policemen.
Mba, while elaborating on supposed extradition documents sent to UK Police, said: “If there is a serious crime, the security of a country will have to collaborate with the other country in the operation process, that is, after the two countries have investigated and come to agreement. Extradition does not involve case of husband and wife, except it has to do with murder, fraud. Whatever is the crime must be investigated by both countries and come to an agreement.”
This is not the first time some Nigerian policemen have been dragged into the drama between Bankole and his wife. The drama with different policemen started almost three years ago, where they illegally arrested Bankole’s former lover, Mercy, who had a daughter for him.
Mercy resides in Ondo State, but policemen from Alagbo, Lagos State, broke all protocols including jurisdiction laws, failed to follow procedure and went to arrest Mercy.
The matter between Bankole and Eileen has been taken to different courts, at different occasions, and at each occasion, it has been struck off as lacking merit. One of the accusations earlier levelled against Mercy was impersonation.
Mercy was locked up in police cell at Alagbon for days until she fell sick and desperately needed medical attention. The policemen, who were alleged to be acting on instructions of Bankole’s former wife, refused to grant Mercy bail, even though she didn’t know her offence.
She was eventually bailed after a concerned police officer, worried by her depreciating health, secretly gave her a phone to contact a journalist.
In another power play, Bankole’s former wife reported him to Metropolitan Police that he carried out genital mutilation on his Nigerian-born daughter, whom he had with Mercy.
Mercy has since remarried and has other children. The matter was also looked into. The latest drama right now is the extradition.
According to suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/1415/18 at the Federal High Court in the Abuja Division, between Bankole Oni Ogunnowo and the Attorney-General of the Federation and Inspector-General of Police, “The nominal complainant is the estranged wife of the plaintiff in this present suit. She is a Briton of Nigerian extraction, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom and only comes to Nigeria for visits, while the plaintiff is a Nigerian and has lived in the United Kingdom since 2012.
“The plaintiff and the complainant, Mrs. Eileen Adetokumbo Ogunowo, got married at the Ikeja Marriage Registry, Lagos on the 18th day of February, 2012. Subsequently, the plaintiff at the invitation of the complainant, moved over to join her in the United Kingdom. The couple was living in peace and the plaintiff eventually started working. Trouble, however, started when the complainant and her mother, who also is in the United Kingdom, requested that the plaintiff’s employer pay his salary into the complainant’s mother’s account and that they in turn will pay him a commission since they were the ones housing him.
The suit further stated: “This was a request the Plaintiff did not agree to. This led to serious and constant matrimonial difference between the plaintiff on the one hand and the complainant and her mother on the other hand for one year and four months that the couple stayed together. The plaintiff was eventually removed from the complainant’s apartment by the United Kingdom authorities for his own safety due to the constant harassment and domestic violence meted out to him by the complainant. He has been on a protective watch list by the United Kingdom Police against any attempted violence on by the complainant.”
Although Eileen and Bankole have a child together, they apparently didn’t have a smooth divorce and some ghosts have refused to remain buried.
Bankole, however, has moved on; he has remarried and had children with another woman in the UK.
He is, however, not having a settled marriage as some Nigerian policemen keep sending myriad of documents filled with one allegation after another. The present document facing him now is that of extradition over alleged marriage fraud.
Some lawyers and policemen, while speaking on when to invoke extradition on a citizen, said that it must be a serious case like murder, fraud, forgery and others, not marriage dispute. The police and the lawyers stated these while reacting to the attempts by policemen to extradite Bankole.
An Assistant Inspector-General of police (AIG), Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) Alagbon-Ikoyi in Lagos, Mr. Murtala Mani, said that whatever that could warrant extradition of a person must be a serious crime.
Mani said that in Nigeria, the bilateral relationship with some countries of the world determined how possible to carry out an extradition of her citizens, through the embassies in those countries.
He said: “If there is any crime that warrants extradition, the embassy looks into it with the host country and by agreement, workout the extradition operation. The embassy will be involved, that is one of their duties. It depends on the crime, before the Nigeria government can seek extradition of person such as murder, forgery, fraud. It is sometimes difficult to extradite a person from another country depending on the agreement of both countries.
“However, the Nigerian government or security agencies cannot extradite anyone on personal matters or family case. Your crime must be against the country of resident and your home country.”
A Lagos-based constitutional lawyer, Mr Spurgeon Ataen, said: “Murder, manslaughter, attempted murder, drug offences, trafficking in humans are extraditable offences because they are crimes in both countries, that is to say the country seeking extradition and the country the offender escaped to after committing the offence. Nigeria has extradition treaty with several countries of the world. Therefore, it is only with those countries she can either extradite or seek extradition. This may be a way to check the rampancy of such crimes or stop recidivism in respect of such crime. However, my opinion is that all indictable offences should be extraditable except crimes orchestrated by the state for purposes of witch-hunting and silencing legitimate opposition.”