20th February, 2020
By Jethro Ibileke
The Assistant Chief State Counsel, Edo State Ministry of Justice, (Department of Public Prosecutions), Mrs. Justina Odihirin, has called for stripping of the police, the responsibility of prosecution of criminal cases.
Odihirin made the call on Wednesday in Benin, during the 2nd quarter state working group meeting on accountable governance, justice and security project-accessing, organised by Edo Civil Society Organizations (EDOCSO), in collaboration with the CLEEN Foundation.
She said the decision of the police to take up the roles of prosecution had led to unlawful detentions.
“In Ministry of Justice today, we discovered that 70 percent of the files on our table brought in by the police are those who don’t have anything to do in detention at all.
“So, when we in the DPP discovered that, we recommended that they should be released and they were released.
“I believed that this is happening because the police want to assume the role of arrest, investigation and prosecutions.
“So, I will suggest that their roles should be narrowed to the arrest and investigation of criminal suspects, while the prosecution should be left for the DPP,” she said.
Speaking in the same vein, the Coordinator-General of EDOCSO, Comrade Omubude Agho, said the state law that gave the Nigeria Police the right to investigate, arrest and prosecute a criminal suspect, had led to violation of the rights of citizens of the state.
Agho who spoke on the “challenges in the implementation of administration of criminal justice law of Edo State and way forward,” said the duty of the police should be limited to the arrest and investigation of suspects, and that upon completion of their investigation, they should hand the suspects over to the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for onward prosecutions.
The one-day roundtable was brought together by the State Ministry of Justice, Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), and Civil Society Organisations in the state.