American woman released after 44 days in Lagos police detention

Detained American lady Kari-Rouke

Lagos State Police Command on Thursday released an American woman Kari R’ouke who was arrested and detained over the death of her Nigerian host Ayomide Michael, her lawyer Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa has said.

R’ouke was arrested at the airport on February 9 while making her way out of Nigeria.

Her lawyer had raised the alarm that the police refused to release the American despite that the Lagos State Directorate of Public Prosecutions said there was no prima facie case against her and three others.

The American reportedly arrived in Nigeria on January 22, 2021, on the invitation of her late host.

They lodged in a hotel in Victoria Island on the same day, while Mr Michael “became unconscious and lifeless” in the early hours of February 8.

After intercepting R’ouke at the airport, the police had submitted a case file to the Lagos DPP, seeking legal advice on the possibility of prosecuting her and three Nigerians for murder.

But the Lagos State director of public prosecutions on behalf of the state’s attorney general Moyosore Onigbanjo advised against the prosecution of the American and other suspects, citing insufficient facts to sustain murder charges.

In his statement on Thursday, Adegboruwa appealed to the police to show greater respect for human rights.

He said, “This case has shown the intolerable level of impunity prevalent within the law enforcement agencies, whereby the police did not comply with a valid directive of the Ministry of Justice, which is the body recognised by the law for the prosecution of suspects. Kari Ann R’ouke was still being detained even after the police got the legal advice since March 5, 2021.”