10th February, 2012
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has commended the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, for warning his officers and men against illegal detention of suspects.
Falana described the action as a commendable move for the police boss to have directed
that all police formations in the country should not detain suspects beyond the maximum period of 24 hours.
In order to ensure that the directive is strictly enforced the IGP should issue guidelines on bail conditions to prevent the impositionof onerous bail conditions. The state police commands should
immediately liaise with the various ministries of justice and thenational human rights commission with a view to obtaining courtorders if it becomes necessary to detain suspects beyond 24 hours.
Police personnel who abuse powers of arrest and detention should be made to pay part of the damages awarded by courts for illegal arrestand detention of innocent persons. They should also be subjected todiscipline for gross misconduct.
“In view of the several decisions of local courts and international tribunals which have declared illegal the practice of parading suspects, the police should be restrained from further violating the
fundamental rights of suspects to fair hearing and dignity of their persons.”
Falans further stated that “right now, many armed robbery suspects are arrested, paraded and
extra-judicially executed by the police. The barbaric practice should be stopped by the IGP. Robbery suspects should not be ‘ tried’ by the police but by law courts in accordance with section 36 of the constitution.
“In view of the increasing invovement of the police in purely civil disputes the police authorities should restrict the police to the investigation and prosecution of criminal offences. Police personnel
who engage in illegal ejection of tenants and unlawful occupation of business premises without court orders should be prosecuted forthwith.
“The new IGP should pluck up the courage to put an end to the disgraceful extortion of money from motorists at police check points.”