Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has asked the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to designate judges of the court to conduct a monthly inspection of detention facilities of agencies of the Federal Government.
He made the appeal in a letter addressed to Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati.
The Senior Advocate says in order to end the illegal detention of criminal suspects and political detainees in the country, the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 has made copious provisions for pre-trial detention, detention time limits and monthly inspection of all police stations by Chief Magistrates designated by the Chief Judge of each state of the Federation.
He further stated that pursuant to Section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the Chief Justice of Nigeria directed all Chief Judges in the country to designate Judges to conduct monthly inspections of all police stations and other detention facilities of the agencies of the Federal government authorized to make arrests.
Mr Falana said in line with this directive, the Chief Judges of the Federal Capital Territory and the 36 States of the Federation have complied but for some undisclosed reasons, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court was yet to comply with the directive.
Owing to the increasing wave of indiscriminate arrest and prolonged detention of many citizens and foreigners living in Nigeria, Mr Falana says he is compelled to request Justice Abdu-Kafarati to comply.
According to him, some agencies of the Federal Government authorized to make arrests have continued to detain thousands of persons without trial in various detention facilities in the country.
He says “In particular, scores of people are being detained by the Nigerian armed forces, in detention facilities including underground cells and some of the detainees have been held incommunicado in dehumanizing detention conditions for over three years without trial.
Citing the recent detention of a journalist, Mr Jones Abiri who was recently released from unlawful custody of the State Security Service, on the orders of a Federal High Court, Mr Falana says his law firm has since requested the new management of the State Security Service to release about 294 other detainees who have been detained for about 3 years without trial.
While the DSS has released a number of the detainees from illegal custody, the human rights lawyer said the authorities of the Nigerian Navy have largely ignored his demand for the release of about 150 persons held in naval detention facilities in Lagos, Abuja, Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria says he is convinced that if Justice Abdu-Kafarati designates Judges of the Federal High Court to visit the detention facilities of the agencies of the Federal Government, the detainees would either have been released or granted bail or recommended for trial without any delay.
Specifically, he wants the designate judges of the Federal High Court to urgently visit the detention facilities of the Nigerian Navy.
He, therefore, stated that if the request is not granted within seven days, he would not hesitate to file a suit at the Federal High Court to compel Justice Abdu-Kafarati to carry out his duty under section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.