Posted by Alex Enumah, Abuja | 29 June 2018 | 756 times
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen has stated that police brutality, unwarranted arrests and illegal detention have reached frightening level and ordered Magistrates to carry out inspection of police stations and other detention facilities across the country.
The directive, which is in line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, is intended to check complaints of incidents of police’s brutality, inordinate arrests, detention and extortion of innocent Nigerians by police officers across the country.
According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the CJN on Media, Awassam Bassey, the CJN’s order was contained in a directive to Chief Judges of the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Onnoghen said, “I have observed, and received several complaints of the horrific incidents of police brutality, inordinate arrest, detention and extortion of innocent Nigerians by Officers across the country.
“These incidents have assumed frightening proportions in recent times. The Magistrate Courts are currently overwhelmed with cases of such brutality, inordinate arrests and detention of Citizens.
“As we approach election year, it is imperative that we curb these excesses through the instrumentality of the statutory powers of the courts”.
Onnoghen added that the powers of the magistrates to carry out oversight functions over police stations in their jurisdiction, is derived from the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.
He said Section 34 (1) of the Act states that “the Chief Magistrate, or where there is no Chief Magistrate within the police division, any Magistrate designated by the Chief Judge for that purpose, shall, at least every month, conduct an inspection of police stations or other places of detention within his territorial jurisdiction other than prison.
‘’Section 34 (2) further states that, During the visit, Magistrates may, call for and inspect, the record of arrest; direct the arraignment of the suspect; where bail has been refused, grant bail to any suspect where appropriate if the offence for which the suspect is held, is within the jurisdiction of the Magistrate.”
The statement noted that by this directive, the magistrates are “to, at least, every month conduct an inspection of Police Stations or other places of detention within his territorial jurisdiction other than prison”.
He further directed the Chief Judge of every state and Abuja to put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure compliance with the above provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act. (Thisday)
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