Legal Drama

Praiz v. SARs Operatives: Police Issues Statement Defending the Arrest of R & B Singer

On December 19th, 2017, R & B singer Praiz was arrested by the controversial Sars officials (part of Lagos law enforcement/police) for allegedly speeding. The arrest generated a lot of the public and media attention because of the deep distrust the public already has for Sars. Sars, unfortunately, has earned a reputation for police brutality, and corrupt practices. Immediately after the arrest, Praiz’s manager issued a statement, and Praiz also issued a statement after he was released.

The police have now issued a statement defending their action.

Read below. Who do you believe?

-Ms. Uduak

WALE BELLO (Manager) (12/19/2017)
Praiz was on his way to Eleko Beach, Ajah. He was inside an Uber ride and they passed the police but you know the way they go about raiding boys. Praiz spots a beard, he was wearing a fez cap and a big gold chain that day. They saw a young man in the car with a beard, fez cap and a gold chain and probably thought he was a Yahoo boy. So they got into their vehicle and started chasing the car.

When they caught up with Praiz’s driver, they pulled over in front of his vehicle just like in the movies, they came out of their police car, cocked their guns and threatened to shoot. Since Praiz was playing with his phone before the incident and he was not expecting anyone to chase him with guns, he simply began to record the scenario.

He asked the policemen to identify themselves if they were men of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad or normal policemen. Then one of the policemen began to yell, ‘he is even recording us, he is one of them.’ He said that Praiz was being mischievous and he was being used by enemies of the Nigeria Police to discredit them.

Praiz introduced himself as an artiste. One of them recognised him but the other two refused to listen and insisted that they must take him to the police station. At that point, Praiz did not know if they were policemen or SARS men.

While they were taking him to the police station, he called us; I was at the beach already and it was from there we started making calls. When he got to the station, they seized his iPhone 7.

By the time we got there, a police officer, Aley Giwa, had already sorted the issue. There was also another senior police officer, Etim Godwin, who was very courteous to us, at Ajah Police station.

When we got there, Godwin acted like a truly professional police officer who knew what he was doing. After he heard what transpired, he simply told Praiz to sign a document and leave but the three officers that took him to the police station were obviously angry that he was set free.

At this point, I was also at the police station and I witnessed everything. Those three policemen were reluctant to let Praiz go. They were very bitter and said that they should have been allowed to teach Praiz a lesson.

PRAIZ’S RESPONSE (12/19/2017)

“Anyone that truly knows me well knows i am an easy going , non problematic, happy and co -operative individual.
Well, I’m not here to talk about myself. I am here to address issues that happens in our society everyday.
We live in a society where the government has failed us whether we like it or not. No jobs, fuel scarcity , SARS , Asuu Strike , Nupeng Strike , Name it….. it’s endless .. HARDSHIP… ENDLESS HARDSHIP.
Today I had an encounter that a lot of people go through everyday. People who are heading home after a failed interview, people going home after a night shift , people on their way to get their daily bread but get harassed by people who are the force because of reasons best known to them or maybe because u are a young boy wearing a gold chain or have a beard .
Though I won’t deny the existence of great people in the police force that are ready to listen , I still stand by my opinion which is popular amongst the youth and more #ENDSARS
Today I learnt that the police force needs deep reform and sensitization.
This is not my official statement… my official statement will be out soon

OUR ENCOUNTER WITH THE SINGER CALLED PRAIZ.

On the 19th day of December 2017, at noon hours, police men attached to Area ‘J’ Command Headquarters, Ajah, Lagos, who were on routine anti crime patrol along Lekki/Epe express way, noticed a car at top speed approaching their end.

The police men sensed that the speed was much and so were alarmed hence they flagged down the car to check on the occupants and if necessary search the trunk of the car.

When the car stopped, the officers who were in their uniforms approached the driver but to their disbelief, the driver who was yet to be addressed by the police men became hysterical without provocation and started shouting ” Sars, sars, sars ooo”. As he was shouting and pouring unprintable invectives on the officers of the law, he was at the same time filming them.

These unprovoked actions on the part of the driver whose true identity at that time was unknown to the patrol men, made them even more suspicious of him and so they requested him to come with them to see the Area Commander, ACP Felix Oben whom they had already called to report the conduct of the man.

It was at the Area Commander’s office that they got to know that he is a musician that goes by the name Praiz. The Area Commander questioned him and advised him to be of good behaviour. He thereafter departed the police station peacefully without any molestation whatsoever.

The Police authority in Lagos nevertheless felt scandalized by Praiz’s rudeness to the men in uniform who were out to ensure law, order and safety along the Lekki/ Epe corridor.

It is a matter of common knowledge that the Command Commissioner of Police, CP. Edgal Imohimi, who has dismissed a number of police men that abused their offices since assuming office, would not hesitate to deal with the policemen if they had erred. It is also instructive to note that the officers are not SARS operatives as erroneously assumed by Praiz but conventional police men in their uniforms serving at Area ‘J’ Command Headquarters.

The Lagos State Police Command, wishes to use this medium to inform all and sundry in Lagos state, that the present Commissioner of Police, CP Edgal Imohimi had on assumption office set up the Citizen Complaint Centre with dedicated lines where complaints against police actions can be lodged for necessary action. Celebrities are therefore advised to take advantage of these numbers or call on the Police Public Relations Officer instead of resorting to cheap social media blackmail.

Below are the Citizen Complaint Centre numbers:

08067945296
08063025274
08113615350
08113683077
08096283148
08096283183
08089781657
08126404930
08081426895

SP Chike Oti
Police Public Relations Officer,
Lagos State Police Command.

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AFRICA MUSIC LAW™ (AML) is a pioneering music business and entertainment law blog and podcast show by Fashion and Entertainment Lawyer Ms. Uduak Oduok empowering the African artist and Africa's rapidly evolving entertainment industry through brilliant music business and entertainment law commentary and analysis, industry news, and exclusive interviews.

Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Ms. Uduak is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. where she handles her law firm’s intellectual property law, media, business, fashion, and entertainment law practice areas. She has litigated a wide variety of cases in California courts and handled a variety of entertainment deals for clients in the USA, Africa, and Asia.

Her work and contributions to the creative industry have been recognized by numerous organizations including the National Bar Association, The American University School of Law and featured in prestigious legal publications in the USA including ABA Journal and The California Lawyer Magazine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the prestigious Academy of Arts University in San Francisco.
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