The Lagos State Police Command, on Thursday, described the yet-to-be-identified lady that was brutalised and stripped by policemen stationed close the State House of Assembly, Alausa, Ikeja, as someone suffering from a mental condition.

An eyewitness had raised an alarm as the policemen brutalised and stripped the lady after she was labelled a cultist.

"Despite her screams that she was innocent and only came to the area to relax and was not guilty of anything, the policemen dragged her on the floor, removed her footwear, handcuffed her and drove away," the eyewitness told one of our correspondents on Wednesday.

However, in a reaction on Thursday, the state Police Public Relations Officer, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, said the dark-skinned lady, spotting a low cut, was attacking passers-by when the policemen, after being notified of her actions, visited the scene to apprehend her.

Hundeyin said while attempting to effect the arrest, the lady, whom he said was of unsound mind, attacked the policemen, adding that the policemen had to defend themselves against the unarmed lady.

He said, "She wasn't brutalised. She is of unsound mind and was attacking them so that is the situation. I wonder where the talk of cultism is coming from.

"After she was released yesterday, they had to look for her today. They found her at the Ikeja City Mall, took her but she was very violent and even broke the side mirror of the police vehicle.

"After further interrogations, it was discovered that truly she is of unsound mind. We plan to take her to the hospital for proper mental evaluation."

Hundeyin explained further that anybody culpable of attacking a policeman would be responded to with commensurate force.

"The kind of force you bring, you get commensurate force back. It is all in line with self-defence. Of course, any officer that uses excessive force would be dealt with but in this case, the officers came under attack.

"It is unfortunate that the eyewitness did not show what transpired before the officers had to restrain her. She was attacking passers-by that prompted the police to go close and she also attacked the police officers," the PPRO added.

However, in one of the pictures of the incident, the lady was seen sitting on the floor as one of the two policemen attempted to make the arrest.

In another picture, one of the policemen was seen using his boot to step on the lady's foot as he used his hands to raise the other leg of the victim.

Reacting to the development, rights activists including lawyers condemned the action of the policemen.

A rights lawyer and Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, Monday Ubani, while describing the policemen's action as barbaric and against the law that established the force, said the policemen committed a criminal assault rather than an arrest.

Ubani said, "That cannot be an arrest. That is an assault because the police under the police act were given the power to investigate, arrest and prevent crimes. Section 4 of the Police Act gave them the power to do this.

"What they have done is not arrest or prevention of crime. It is purely an assault and violation of the human right of the lady. The lady can sue the Nigerian police for such a violation. Not all the policemen are ready to do the right thing. Whether man or a woman, every gender has a right to be protected."

Also commenting on the matter, the legal adviser to the NBA, Oyo State, Oyewale Kehinde, said, "Ordinarily, what the policemen have done is assaul++t. Regardless of the gender of the victim, the law does not recognize gender; it is simply an assault in the Criminal Code, not an arrest."

In her reaction to the development, a Professor of Counselling Psychology, Lagos State University, Badejo Ayodeji, said the lady victim's dignity had been dehumanised.

Ayodeji said, "If someone is found to have committed a crime, there are steps and procedures that must be taken. But stripping a woman or a man or anybody is not one of the processes. These are not what they were asked to do as law enforcement agents.

"This is a complete debasement of human beings. She has been stripped of her pride and dignity and wholly relegated to the position of a lower animal like a dog or a cat that you see on the street. She will be in a complete state of shock and state of distress. She will find it difficult to believe that had actually happened to her in real life."



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