Falana Asks Chief Judge To Order Inspection Of Detention Facilities

Withdraw Charges Against CJN, Falana Tells FG
Human rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana (file)


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, and made available to Channels TV.

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.

Why terrorists couldn’t escape when SARS was attacked – Police

The police on Tuesday gave details of the possible reasons why suspected terrorists in the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) detention in Abuja could not escaped when the facility was attacked on Monday morning.

Gate of the headquarters of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS)

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s programme, Sunrise Daily, the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Police Force, Frank Mba gave an update on the suspects that fled the SARS detention facility saying one of the five suspects have been re-arrested.

“Leaving out there at large just four of the 30 suspects that escaped,” he said.

Mr Mba reiterated that none of the suspects held for terrorism related crimes escaped the facility.

He explained the reasons why the suspected terrorist could not escape the SARS detention.

“The reason is simple, in detention facilities such as SARS detention facilities, the chambers of the detention facilities are compartmentalised. That is to say, certain categories of suspects are held in certain chamber while the other categorise of suspects could also be held in other chambers. That is the plausible explanation for the fact that the bulk of the suspects that escaped were those who were connected with robbery and other related crimes,” the police PRO said.