The interview was prompted by the ugly experience Olobi suffered on Monday the 26th November 2009 at the premises of the first compound of the Ikeja High Court, in the hands of embittered supporters of Chief Olabode George, who alongside four other people was jailed Justice Olubunmi Oyewole of the Ikeja High Court for the offences of contract splitting and disobedience to lawful orders.
Below are excerpts from the interview.
HOW IT STARTED
I knew that day, judgement in the Olabode George case would be delivered by the trial judge, so I came to the court (Ikeja High Court) to know the outcome.
I came also to protest against the way supporters of Chief Olabode George had turned the court, any hearing date of the case to a place to dress in Aso-Ebi and make merry, in short a carnival-ground.
I thought that was not good enough in my opinion a descreation of the hallowed grounds of the court.
I mean a man was being tried for fraud and related offences and all he could was to organize and encourage people to troop to court in carnival fashion in the name of solidarity with him.
When I finally gained entrance into the court premises, I distributed a one page article entitled STOP THE UTTER DESCRATION, CONTEMPTOUS AND GRIM DEMYSTIFICATION OF THE HALLOWED CHAMBERS to newspaper correspondents and other media people. Upon going through the leaflet, the journalist decided to interview me on my protests and view points.
I did not grant the press interview in the midst of Bode George people. However they saw and heard me talking from a distance, because I was talking quite loudly and gesticulating as well to make my points.
When I was addressing the press, nobody disturbed or challenged me, even though the Olabode George supporters saw me and some of them were pointing at me. After the press conference, I did not go away but waited for the outcome of the case.
When the verdict came, and it was against the accused, the supporters mood changed and tension rose immediately. I was dressed in the formal wears of the barrister when I spoke with the press-But I came with a change of dress. So I went to a place and changed into this other wears, just ordinary suits. I felt safer that way and was quietly making way towards the second gate, servicing the new court complex when two men approached me and demanded to know who I was. I knew trouble had come and I tried to bluff my way out. So I put up a bold face and asked them what manner of question that was and who, they too were? Then they asked me “Are you not the man who was speaking against Baba George?” I told them I didn’t know what they were talking about.
Then one of them shouted. He is the one jo”. Then they moved on me, two against one. Almost immediately thereafter about twenty of them rushed to the scene, shouting while beating kicking me. They were saying
“He is from Tinubu” (Mr. Nola Ahmed Tinubu immediate past Governor of Lagos State and Action Congress Chieftain). “He is Fashola’s lawyer!" At a point they resolved that the best way to deal with me was to carry me out of the court premises. So they tried to bodily lift me up but I managed to hold on to the fender of nearby car and cling to it-tenaciously. I was fighting for my life. I knew if I was carried out, it would only result in my death.
Some of my attackers were with pistols. I saw the guns. Suddenly Barrister Yinka Farounbi one of counsel to the defendants rushed into the rowdy scene. A police man, who I later knew to be the Divisional Police Officer also came.
These two men rescued me and saved my life. By then my coat, shirt and singlet had been torn. Blood was flowing from a cut on my head. My right eye is especially traumatised. Even now more than a week after the attack, I am not seeing well with the eyes of course during the attack those hoodlums took my phone away but the D.P.O retrieved it from them. But it was only my sim card I could retrieve from it-the phone had been smashed
AFTER THE ATTACK
I had to go to hospital to nurse the injuries I received. For several day after I could not see well. Of course I have no personal relationship with either Asiwaju Bola Tinubu or the Governor, Raji Fashola. I have not met them, only their pictures in newspaper and on television. The attack on me on Monday 26th October 2009 only revealed that there is no security of life and property there. Although the policemen were many that day, but they made no arrests, they were looking the other way. After rescuing me from the hoodlums, they refused to arrest them.
I am not deterred by the attack infact since that day I have been receiving threat calls, from theses Olabode George supporters, boasting that they will deal with me. They claim that I am being sponsored by Tinubu and the congress. They said Bode George is not the first and only thief in Nigeria and wondered why he is being singled out for punishment. These threat calls did not show the telephone numbers of the callers.
But I am not deterred by the threats since I know that my life is not on their hands. I will still come to the Ikeja High Court on Monday, to protest against the act of turning the court premises to a carnival ground.
As to what steps I will take on the attack on me we are considering a number of options including suing the government, the police and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). We may sue the government for failure to provide effective security on that day, the police, for failing to do their duty despite their presence and the P.D.P because my attackers are her members and Bode George’s supporters.