Adewale Sanyaolu, Lagos
The Legal Assistance and Citizens Rights Initiative (LACRI) has urged States’ Attorneys-General and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) to immediately release unconditionally all #EndSARS detainees with no evidence of a crime.
This was even as it advised States that have set up a judicial panel of inquiry into the #EndSARS protests to get down to work and assess preliminary findings matching same with available evidence so as not allow innocent citizens suffer while expediting prosecution in all other cases of established violations of the law.
‘‘Anything short of this will amount to a travesty and further burdening of the criminal justice system, further congestion of correctional facilities and most importantly trampling on the fundamental rights of lots of innocent people languishing in captivity.’’
The group while advising State’s Attorney General in conjunction with the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) said the prolonged delay could lead to a waste of time of the court, saying such was further capable of congesting Nigeria’s antiquated corrective facilities and remand centres.
A statement by the Executive Director of LACRI, Mr Arinze Odiari, said it was aware of the recent arrests and detention of some persons as a result of the killings, carnage, destruction and looting that took place recently in various parts of the country, adding that some of the arrested persons have been charged to court and further detained, while the court waits for “DPP’s advice”
‘‘We are all well aware of the squalid conditions in Nigeria’s jails and police cells, and any action that worsens an already precarious situation instead of remedying it is most unwholesome.
LACRI is not unaware of crimes committed across the states and does not frown at perpetrators being brought to book, however, we are not oblivious of the fact that innocent citizens have been lumped together and paraded alongside suspected hoodlums that unleashed mayhem in different parts of the country.
We are not oblivious of the dangers inherent in this ugly development and therefore urge, that a clear distinction be made between the two categories of detainees before a regrettable miscarriage of justice becomes the order of the day. Some of them are already claiming that they have been detained under horrible conditions for weeks without food, water or medical care, or access to family or lawyers.”