Conduct Monthly Inspection of Prisons, Detention Centres – Falana Writes Lagos CJ

Femi Falana SAN

A prominent Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, has called for the monthly inspection of all police cells and detention centers in Lagos State in order to prevent the illegal detention of Nigerian citizens and foreigners.

This was indicated in a letter written to the Chief Judge dated December 15. In the letter, Mr. Falana made reference to section 34 of the Administrative of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015 which affirmed the law.

The section states “34. (1) 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 the prison.

(2) During a visit, the Magistrate may: (a) call for, and inspect, the record of arrests; (b) direct the arraignment of a suspect; (c) 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.”

Mr. Falana asked the chief judge to designate chief magistrates to conduct monthly inspection.

He explained that during the said monthly inspection, the said magistrates are required to call for and inspect the records of all arrests made by the police, direct the arraignment of criminal suspects and grant bail to detained persons in deserving cases.

He appealed to the CJ to grant the request in view of its urgent need to compel the Nigeria Police Force and other law enforcement agencies to respect the fundamental rights of every person to liberty and dignity guaranteed by sections 34 and 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.

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