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Arbitrary Arrest Increasing Number Of Suspects Awaiting Trial – Lawyers

Channels Television  
Updated February 5, 2014

The president of the Nigerian Bar Association, Okey Wali, has attributed the increasing number of persons in Nigerian Prisons awaiting trial to arbitrary arrest of innocent citizens by police.

The union’s president stressed that lawyers were never the cause of the increase.

Mr Wali told Channels Television in Ilorin on Wednesday that it was also necessary for judges to refuse lawyers’ requests for unnecessary adjournment of cases.

“Such decision will also help reduce prison congestion,” he said.

He also listed the lack of vehicles needed for conveying suspects to courts as one of other factors responsible for the high number of awaiting trial suspects in prisons.

A human rights group, Amnesty International, had in its 2012 report accused Nigerian security personnel of dragnet arrests, arbitrary and unlawful detentions, extortion and intimidation” of Nigerians.

But the police dismissed the allegation, saying it is not factual.

Commenting on the letter written to the presidency to reinstate the retired president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, by the National Judicial Council which was not implemented, the leader of the lawyers union absolved the president of any blame.

He cited several pending court cases at that time as the stumbling block, saying that the president took the decision in order not to incur the wrath of the courts.

On the issue of the one representative allotted to the bar for the national conference, the NBA president insisted that the bar would not accept the allotment until the slot was increased.

He expressed shock that some other associations got higher slots than the bar.