Recall the case of the breast-feeding mother where the Court ordered the arrest of the man three days ago.
This morning, a police officer from the court came to arrest the man. The man refused to open the door.
The police went back and returned with a truck-load of patrol team of officers to the scene. The man again refused to open to the door.
The officers have the house surrounded now, and are determined to effect the arrest in compliance with the order of the Court.
The officer leading the team has been severally in touch with me. The Chairman of the Estate have been in touch with me too.
I made it clear to all of them that the arrest must be effected, that even the woman does not have the capacity to settle the matter at this point because we are dealing with a court order, which must be obeyed.
Now, everybody in his family is begging to settle. But it is not in my power or in the woman’s power to waive the execution of a court order.
The woman is standing by to pick her baby. The only constraint we have now is that the man is using the baby as a human shield.
We do not know how desperate this man is and he may hurt their 10-month old baby just to avoid surrendering to the police.
The situation is thus delicate, evolving and risky. Because of the presence of the baby, the police are avoiding the use of extreme force.
That is why they are not considering other measures such as the use of teargas.
My priority at this moment is the safety of the baby and a peaceful resolution of this standoff.
Because he is keeping the baby with him inside the house and probably using the baby as human shield, I am calling the man’s lawyer to strongly urge him to step into the situation and speak with his client.
He must try to urge his client to surrender. If he surrenders now, I will join in persuading the court to be lenient on him.
It is fair to describe the situation as a hostage situation that calls for maximum caution.
We are in active negotiation. He has to surrender himself. He has been assured that no harm will come to him. He just surrenders and be taken into custody and the mother will get the baby. The situation must be stressful even for a baby this young. Children can feel tension.
The standoff continues. The man knew he would be arrested. His lawyer was in court when he was ordered arrested. So, he has fortified himself with supplies large enough to last for weeks. So, he may not come out soon. It could be a long standoff unless the police break into the house, which is not being considered now. Besides, he has a dog inside the house. The dog may be hostile, leading to the possibility that the police will shoot the dog.
I am calling the man’s lawyer to strongly urge him to step into the situation and speak with his client. He must try to urge his client to surrender. If he surrenders now, I will join in persuading the court to be lenient on him, especially if he is willing to undergo medical evaluation.
By Emeka Ugwuonye