“I Was Not Detained During Cell Inspection”, -Chief Magistrate Matepo

“I Was Not Detained During Cell Inspection”, -Chief Magistrate Matepo

The presiding Magistrate of the Chief Magistrate Court 1, Mushin, Lagos, Mrs. S.K. Matepo, who was allegedly arrested and detained on the orders of an Area ‘D’ Police Commander, in the course of her routine visit to a police cell, has denied the reports of her arrest or detention.

Several news outlets had earlier reported that on Monday, 30th of May, the Area Commander of Area D Police Command, Lagos, ACP Aliko Dankoli, had ordered the arrest and detention of the Magistrate, who went to the Command to see the detainees at the command’s cell. The reports had gone on to state that ACP Dankoli had been angry because she didn’t seek his permission before speaking with the suspects.

But, in an Audio message posted by the Magistrate, she clarified that there was no arrest during the encounter.

She said; “yes something happened but not as bad as it was narrated. I went on the police visit to Mushin and the Area Commander insisted that I must take his approval or permission before I interrogate the suspects in the cell and I explained to him that I’ve seen his senior officers who led me to the cell (and) that I don’t think I need to see him first. That I might come back to him after interrogating the suspects if need be, but he insisted that it shouldn’t have gone that way but I put it to him that that is the way I do my job and I need not come and take permission from his office.”

She added, “I stood my ground that I must conclude my job and his officers are the ones to report to him after I might have finished or if there is any need for me to see him, I will see him. Though he got agitated and shouted but I stood my ground. That was what happened.”

She added that after the incident, she made an official report at the Lagos state judiciary’s headquarters in Ikeja and the Area Commander was cautioned with an assurance that a formal apology would be tendered.

“That was what happened before the viral news that I was arrested. There was no arrest or detention. I am fine and I think the High Court is taking a proper step on the issue,” she concluded.

Meanwhile, The Lagos State Police Command has described the reports of the arrest as, “nothing but fiction”. 

According to the police spokesman of the Lagos command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, “At no time did the Area Commander detain or attempt to detain the magistrate, who was at the Area Command for Cell Inspection exercise. The Police will never engage in such disrespect to the Judiciary.”

He added that, “The Lagos State Police Command did the needful and contacted the judiciary. The Lagos State Judiciary confirmed that there was no such thing and neither was the Chief Magistrate prevented from carrying out her Cell Inspection exercise. We hereby state it unequivocally that any attempt to cause disaffection between the Police and the Judiciary will be fiercely resisted. We remain worthy partners in the justice sector.”