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  • Updated: May 15, 2024

Portable: Legal practitioner condemns singer's arrest over debt

 Portable: Legal practitioner condemns singer's arrest over


Abuja-based legal practitioner, Pelumi Olajengbesi has criticized the arrest and detention of Lagos-based singer, Habeeb Okikiola, popularly known as Portable, by Nigerian Police operatives over a debt-related issue.

Olajengbesi said on Wednesday that the arrest of Portable and the approach taken by the Nigerian Police Force in debt recovery blatantly ignored the laws of the country.

“The mode of arrest highlights the deteriorating state of the Nigerian Police force. It’s crucial to note that indebtedness is not a criminal offence, even the Nigerian government has debts.

“The courts have consistently emphasized that the police should refrain from involvement in civil matters such as debt recovery or contractual disputes, unless there are allegations of fraud, such as obtaining under false pretences, cheating, or criminal breach of trust,” he said.

The lawyer emphasized that Section 32(2) of the Police Act 2020 expressly prohibits arrests solely based on civil wrongs or breaches of contract.

“In the case of Oceanic Securities Int. Ltd. Vs Balogun & Ors (2012) LPELR-9218 (CA), the Court of Appeal reiterated this stance by affirming that ‘the police have no role in enforcing debt settlements or recovering civil debts for banks or any entity.’

“Similarly, in KURE Vs Commissioner of Police (2020) LPELR-49378(SC), the Supreme Court emphasised that ‘the police is not a debt recovery agency and should not intervene in contractual disputes arising from purely civil transactions.’

“Additionally, the Court of Appeal, in Imam & Another Vs USMAN & Another (2023) LPELR-60203(CA), reiterated this position,” the lawyer stated.

Olajengbesi urged the Nigerian Police Force to uphold its reputation and consistently abide by the laws that established it, rather than tarnish its image.

Recall that Portable was arrested by the police for failing to settle the N14m debt accrued from the purchase of a car on Tuesday. It was gathered that he spent the night in police custody after failing to meet the bail requirements for his release.

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