Posted by News Express | 29 July 2020 | 1,387 times
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been reported at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Abia State Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Umuahia.
A statement by the rights group, Rule of Law And Accountability Advocacy Centre (RULAAC), identified rumours of the outbreak of the pandemic as one of the reasons beind the escape of inmates from the cells of the Central Police Station (CPS), Umuahia, on Saturday, July 20, 2020.
“The cause of their escape is not yet clear but there are complaints and reports about congestion in the cells and fears of spread of Covid-19 among inmates at some State CID cells,” RULAAC said in the statement signed by the Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma.
“Reliable sources inform us that there is an outbreak of Covid 19 at the State CID Umuahia. The source said the number of affected detainees and police officers is yet to be ascertained. But Police authorities are reported to be taking measures to ensure that the decease does not spread to other police formations in Umuahia. They are also managing the information to ensure it doesn’t leak. Our source said samples have been taken from detainees at Central Police Station Umuahia.
“The number of detainees at Central Police Station Umuahia has continued to increase as courts in Umuahia area now order detention of defendants at police stations.
Police authorities in Abia State confirmed the escape of detainees from the cells of the CPS but denied outbreak of Covid-19 among inmates in any police cell in the state,” RULAAC said.
It called for an enquiry onto the matter while commending “the Police in Abia State for exercising restraint during the operation to re-arrest the fleeing inmates. We are delighted to note that there was no report of misuse of force or casualty.”
According to RULAAC, “It is however, imperative to inquire into the reason the detainees made the escape. It is important to ascertain the categories of offences of the detainees to know if they fall within categories of offences permitted under the IGP’s directive to detain accused persons only for major offences. It is also important to ascertain the conditions and security of the cells, the level of congestion in the cell, whether there is maltreatment of inmates and if there’s scare of infection. Measures must be taken to address these concerns.”
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