By Adekunle Samson
The social media was abuzz in the last few days with the news of the arrest and purported arraignment of Dr Anuoluwapo Adepoju of Med Contour Services Limited, a Lagos-based medical doctor, by the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC, over the death of one of her clients, Mrs Nneka Onwuzuligbo.
FCCPC had in a five-count charge brought against the surgeon, Anuoluwapo, and her cosmetic surgery firm Med Contour Ltd, alleged that the defendants shunned its investigation into the case and declined to produce documents required by the commission.
The commission’s Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Babatunde Irukera, in the charge accused Anuoluwapo of failure “or refusal to appear before the FCCPC in compliance with a summons as required by law. “Failure to produce documents in compliance with the commission’s notice of investigation as required by law” and “Impeding, preventing or obstructing the commission’s investigation.”
Irukera alleged that the incidents happened between April 15 and May 4, 2020, at No. 11a Ladi Alakija Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.” He alleged that Anuoluwapo’s conduct contravened sections 33(3)(a) and 113(4)(a) of the FCCPC Act 2018 and was liable to be punished under sections 33(3) and 113(1) of the same Act, among others.
In a six-paragraph affidavit of completion of investigation attached to the charge, the commission stated that it received complaints from three petitioners, Marlene Oluwakemi, Taiwo Temilade and Vivian Onwuzuligbo alleging that Dr Anuoluwapo’s body enhancement business “are unsafe for consumers and that the surgeon made “false, misleading and deceptive representation in relation to the marketing of their services.”
It said, “In particular, the above-mentioned Vivian Onwuzuligbo, a member of the Mrs Nnneka Onwuzuligbo (now deceased) alleged that the deceased died as a result of the failed defendants’ cosmetic surgery and she is privy to the events that led to the demise of the deceased.”
Anuoluwapo pleaded not guilty to the charge after it was read to her.
However, the events of the last few days by the FCCPC and its chief executive officer who is also the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Babatunde Irukera, have drawn the curious eyes of the public over the handling of the case.
The recent actions of Barr Irukera have raised eyebrows and questions are being asked as to his personal involvement in the case which borders on vendetta.
Some of the questions begging for answers over the case are: How else can we explain why the FCCPC would get involved in a case that is outside its jurisdiction? Why would Mr. Irukera the CEO of a Federal Government agency personally come to Lagos from Abuja and invade Dr Anu’s clinic with a team of policemen without a search warrant or any legal backing of any sort? Why does he appear to have an obsessive interest in Dr Anu’s case? In whose interest is he hellbent on circumventing the law just to embarrass Dr Anu? Why would a self-acclaimed lawyer act in this manner?
One would think the involvement of the CEO of the FCCPC will ensure that the agency follows the tenets of the rule of law. Instead, they did a hatchetman’s job; including totally misidentifying Dr Anu.
Barr Irukera filed information about Dr Anu since the 3rd of June 2020 and did not serve her a copy as demanded by law. She only became aware of the charges in court on the 3rd of July 2020.
He was duly scolded by Justice LIMAN J. of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi Lagos for failure to duly and properly serve Dr. Anu the allegation levelled against her before the beginning of trial.
Undoubtedly, Mr Irukera has made himself the regulator, enforcer, investigator, prosecutor and judge in this case.
It is interesting to note that against all sense of decency, Mr Irukera has embarked on a social media trial of Dr Anu. He spends more time attempting to smear Dr Anu’s good name than actually facing the job he was put in office for!
He is also prosecuting Dr Anu in the electronic, print and social media.
It is high time the Honourable Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire and other relevant medical authorities cautioned Mr Irukera as he has no grounds to harass Dr Adepoju.
The vice president, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo should immediately call Mr Irukera to order. He should be compelled to stop dragging the name of a well-respected individual in the mud with his gutter tactics.
This is also a clarion call on the president, Muhammadu Buhari to look into Mr Irukera’s activities as they are not befitting of the prestigious office which he holds. His actions bring disrepute to the efforts of Mr President to better the lot of Nigerians.
God bless Nigeria.
Samson writes from Lagos, Nigeria.