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Illegal Detention: Falana Asks NBA to Challenge Presidential Candidates

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Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana has called on the leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to end incessant arrest and detention of suspects and other people in the country.

 

 

Falana also urged the NBA to invite the presidential candidates of the registered political parties to the 2022 annual conference and make them to commit themselves to end illegal arrest and detention of citizens.

 

Falana in a statement issued at the ongoing NBA Conference holding in Lagos, urged the NBA to direct members of the Human Rights Committee, in its branches to accompany Chief Magistrates during the monthly visits to all police stations in the country.

 

 

He said Nigerian lawyers should apply the provisions of the Anti-torture Act 2017, to end torture of suspects and other people in Nigeria.

 

According to him, the police and other law enforcement officers should be made to know that the penalty for subjecting suspects to torture was 25 years imprisonment and that officers who torture suspects to death are liable to be tried for murder.

 

The statement read: “While welcoming Nigerian lawyers to Lagos for the 2022 Annual Conference of the NBA, we are compelled to advise them to adopt urgent measures to end illegal arrest and detention of innocent citizens by the police and other law enforcement agencies.

 

“In particular, we urge the 125 branches of the NBA to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act which has abolished arrest and detention of citizens for civil wrong and breach of contract.

 

“The law has also made provision for legal representation of suspects in police stations, bail for suspects and humane treatment of detained suspects.

 

“The NBA should direct members of the Human Rights Committee at its branches to accompany Chief Magistrates during the monthly visits to all police stations in the country.

 

“Such visits will end the incessant arrest and detention of suspects and other people as the Magistrates are empowered to grant bail to suspects, order their release or direct that they be arraigned in appropriate courts.”

 

Falana urged the NBA leadership to pressurise the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to designate judges to also conduct monthly visits to the detention facilities of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the ICPC, NDLEA, Customs, armed forces, State Security Service in line with the provisions of section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and section 70 of the Police Establishment Act.

 

“The President and National Officers of the NBA are official visitors to all the correctional centres in the country by virtue of section 21 of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act 2019. The NBA leaders should visit the correctional centres regularly and ensure that the rights of convicts and other inmates are respected in line with the provisions of the Nigerian Correctional Service Act and the Constitution.

 

“Nigerian lawyers should apply the provisions of the Anti- torture Act 2017, to end the torture of suspects and other people in Nigeria. Let the police and other law enforcement officers be made to know that the penalty for subjecting suspects to torture is 25 years imprisonment and that officers who torture suspects to death are liable to be tried for murder.

 

“In addition to the prosecution of torturers the victims of torture are entitled to sue for monetary compensation. State Attorneys-General should ensure that the prosecution of criminal offences in all courts is conducted by legal practitioners in line with the provision of Section 106 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and the relevant provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Laws applicable in the States.

 

“Other states should emulate Delta and Kano States which have cancelled the prosecution of criminal cases by police officers who are not legal practitioners.”

Culled from THISDAY

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