Born in Lagos State, Solomon Samuel is an electrician, and like many Nigerians who move to the State looking to make more out of life, he aspired to the Lagos dream.
In June 2020, Samuel was wrongfully arrested in Ikeja following an unprofessional raid by Police officers from the, now disbanded, Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Like the Police officers routinely do when their victims are poor and uneducated as to their rights against wrongful arrest and detention, Samuel was dragged to the station and detained along with the other young men who were victims of the same unprofessional raid. The young men, including Samuel, were arbitrarily branded “classmates” by the Police and charged with the offense of “Belonging to an Unlawful Society and Being a Disorderly Person”.
Arraigned before the Magistrate Court, Samuel was granted bail but remained in detention because he did not have the resources to meet the conditions set for his bail. On the 20th of February, 2021, Barr. Eniola Omosehin, a lawyer with Headfort Foundation’s “Lawyers without Border” project, met Samuel and took his case. The hearing of the case suffered several adjournments, some related to the general disruptions caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, but many times because the prosecution failed to bring the defendants to court.
In an inexplicable twist, Samuel was taken to the High Court to appear as the defendant in an unrelated case of sexual assault. According to the prosecution and officials of the correctional center where he was being held, the High Court had issued a warrant to the correctional center for a person bearing a similar name to be produced in court, and Samuel was mistaken for the defendant in the case involving sexual assault.
On the 20th of December, 2021, Barr. Omosehin represented Samuel at the Magistrate Court, and applied for the charges against him and the others he was charged along with to be discharged, and the case struck out. The Court looked at its records of proceedings, and nothing that the prosecution has not diligently prosecuted the matter, moved to strike out the case. Despite having spent 1 year in prison by this time, Samuel was remanded in custody because of the High Court matter, and could not go home like the others who were charged with him.
On the 4th of February, 2022, our lawyer represented Samuel at the High Court and duly informed the Court about the case of mistaken identity. The prosecution counsel corroborated the submission. After crosschecking Court records to verify that Samuel was indeed not the accused person in the case before the High Court, the Court ordered that Samuel be released immediately.
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