The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public and Developmental Law, NBA-SPIDEL, has threatened to drag the Inspector-General of Police before the court for the continued detention of one Gloria Okolie over her friendship with an alleged Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, member.
In a statement on Monday, Chairman of NBA-SPIDEL, Dr. Monday Ubani, demanded that the police should release the suspect, who has been in detention for over 68 days or immediately charge her to court.
Ubani observed that it is wrong for the police to detain the suspect or any citizen in the country indefinitely without any court order.
He also condemned the police practice of detaining suspects in their custody while sourcing for evidence to prosecute them.
He said: “It is absolutely wrong to arrest an individual and start sourcing for evidence for prosecution. It is not only archaic but patently criminal for police officers to indulge in this manner of primitive investigation of crime in this modern time.
“We are, therefore, giving the police authorities 14 days from today to charge Gloria Okolie to court, if she has committed any known offence or release her unconditionally.
“We shall commence the enforcement of her fundamental right, which has been criminally violated if this request is not adhered to as usual by the police authorities. They are deemed adequately advised.”
Part of the statement by Ubani reads: “Our attention has been drawn to the long and illegal detention of one Gloria Okolie by the Nigerian Police Authorities for over 68 days for her friendship with an alleged IPOB member.
“It is further alleged that while she is under the police detention in Owerri, she has been used as a slave(beast of burden) and terribly abused, tortured by the officers in charge of her detention.
‘While these allegations are yet to be verified as no lawyer or relation had had access to her, we are of the candid opinion that there are many things wrong with this detention which we consider patently illegal, wickedly and appalling.
“What makes this matter more shocking is the latest press release by the IGP after over 67 days conceding to the arrest and illegal long detention on the ground that she was providing information, drugs and weapons to the said IPOB member.
“The truth of the matter is that if the IGP thinks that this explanation will justify this long and illegal detention of this young lady, it has further exposed the incompetence and illegality with which the security agencies carry out investigations in Nigeria .
“Assuming but not conceding that these “grave allegations” are true, does this by any stretch of imagination empower any security agency any right to detain a citizen for such length of time, thereby depriving her the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of movement, rights of dignity of person and right of fair trial within a reasonable time as provided under 1999 constitution? Nay, her guaranteed rights of presumption of innocence until proven guilty has been destroyed permanently by this lengthy detention without any charge or arraignment.”
“We have counselled that scientific and modern mode of investigation of crime is the best global standard that is applicable all over the world even in small African countries with lesser economic viability as Nigeria. Our security agencies have become a big embarrassment to us as a nation, especially when we claim to be giant of Africa.”