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Saturday, August 20, 2016

My life is in danger –Igbo Man who named dog after Buhari cries out

Mr. Joachim Chinakwe, the 41-year-old trader arrested and detained at the Sango Ota Police Station, Ogun State, on August 13, 2016, for naming his dog Buhari, has said his life is no longer safe.

Speaking with our correspondent on Friday minutes before he was again locked behind bars at the State Police Headquarters, Eleweran, Abeokuta, the capital, after initially being released last Tuesday, the father of one who hails from Delta State, said he feared for his life because he does not know what could happen to him next.

“I had to leave for Eleweran very early on Friday after receiving a letter on Thursday evening inviting me to the Command. I thought I was being called over for a peace talk, I never knew it was for the purpose of detaining me again.

“I am a law-abiding citizen of this country, I have never deliberately committed any offence before, I don’t know why I am being treated like this. I only called the dog that name for the love I have for President Muhammadu Buhari and Nigeria, I didn’t mean to taunt or hurt anybody with it. I don’t know what next could follow this, I am afraid for my life, I am in danger, please help me,” Chinakwe said before the telephone line went off.

An officer at the Sango Police Station who did not disclose his name but is privy to details of the matter, told our correspondent that the accused was arrested because his action was intended at causing public unrest in the community which has a large Igbo and Hausa presence.

According to him, Chinakwe not only named his dog Buhari but also inscribed it on its body and usually walked with it into the midst of the Hausas, a claim the 41-year-old and his relatives denied vehemently.

Acting spokesperson for the Ogun State Police Command, Abimbola Oyeyemi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police, revealed on Friday that the accused would be arraigned at the Sango Magistrate Court on Monday.

“The man is here with us at Eleweran, he is being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department. The charge will be prepared and he will be arraigned at Sango Magistrate Court on Monday. What he did was highly provocative, it can cause ethnic and religious crisis,” he said.

But human rights lawyer and former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, Ikeja Branch, Lagos, Monday Ubani, told Saturday PUNCH that there is no such law in Nigeria’s criminal code which states that it is an offence to give your pets a name of your choice.

Though Ubani concedes that this particular case is novel as far as law was concerned in Nigeria to the best of his knowledge, he said the police cannot arrest and detain a person except they are able to prove that the individual’s action is indeed capable of causing breach of public peace.

He however, wonders why the accused would name a dog after his neighbour’s father as alleged because according to him it could be a bit offensive even though it was not a crime.

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