Nigerian lawyers have given legal opinions to a topical issue involving a human rights activist, Ahmad Isah, who was seen slapping a woman in an investigative video aired by British Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Africa Eye’.
Isah hosts “Berekete Family” which is a magazine program on Human Rights Radio 101.1; and has a large audience who are glued to the show.
The video which went viral captured him slapping a lady who allegedly poured kerosine on a little girl’s head and set her on fire.
During the interrogation by Isah, she claimed she never knew what came over her to do such.
According to the BBC journalist, Peter Nkanga, “Ahmed’s methods raise many questions, but there is no denying that they can be effective”.
The documentary is causing reactions on social media.
In his reaction, Barrister Tunde Falola told our correspondent that there were two angles to the incident – moral and legal.
“I watched the video and I think there are two angles to this. First and foremost, the moral aspect of the incident that led to the man unconsciously overwhelmed to have slapped the woman in the first place. In other words, Mr Ordinary President, going by his antecedents, he is a very compassionate and patriotic Nigerian given his various human rights programs that have received wide acceptance in recent times. I personally, have not received or heard anything criminal about him. He must have been carried away by the story of the little child who was the victim of abuse and inhuman treatment meted out by the woman in question,” he said.
Again, Falola noted that in the eyes of law, it was wrong for Isah to have assaulted the woman in question due to the fact that physical assault is an offence under our law.
“Section 351 of Criminal Code Act , Laws of the Federation 2014 provides thus any person who unlawfully assaults another is guilty of a misdemeanor and is liable if no greater punishment is provided, to imprisonment for one year,” he added.
He also advised Isah to tender an apology for the sake of his personality and the impact of his programs.
“It must also be noted that morality and law are two parallel concepts that may never meet because what it is unlawful may not be immoral as we have in this case,slapping that woman without her consent was unlawful but may not be immoral going by the allegation against her.
“From whatever angle one sees it, it was totally wrong for him to have slapped the woman no matter how emotional and sympathetic he might be towards the innocent victim.
“Be that as it may, I think the man can be pardoned if he tenders unreserved apology to the woman in question, given the fact that his invaluable services to humanity through his program is legendary,” Falola said.
On his part, a human rights lawyer who refused to be named said Ahmed allowed his emotions to get the best part of him, adding that slapping the said woman constituted a violation of the law.
He said that it was the duty of the police to investigate such a case and arraign such person in court.
“What he did amounts to self-help and reciprocity. He took the law into his own hands. It is against the law. Only the law court can impose punishment for an offence that someone committed.
“What he did also amounts to assault which is both liable in civil and criminal actions. This is likened to some torture that take place in the interrogation room at the Police Stations. Even if the woman confessed, her confession should be reduced into writing in form of a statement given voluntarily.
“He should have allowed Police to conduct its investigations as empowered by section 4 of the Police Act and charge her to court,” he said. source Witness