By BARTHOLOMEW MADUKWE
The Solicitor-General of Lagos State, Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN, has decried the transfer of Investigating Police Officers, IPOs, from one state to another, noting that it was affecting trials in various courts across the country.
He pointed out that any Police officer, who is to appear before any court to testify, should be given transportation money to enable the policeman be present as expected in a matter where he was a witness or for investigation purpose.
Pedro noted that when a police officer who is on a case is transferred to another State and as a result of that fails to appear in court when needed, practically it is affecting the criminal justice system.
He said: “When the man investigated the case where was he and where is the man now? The policeman may have been on another assignment now. Maybe the man has been posted to Sokoto. Now you want him to come and testify in Lagos, will he use his salary to transport himself?”
Urging the police authority to ensure that provision is made for its officers going to testify in court, the Solicitor General said “even the policeman in Okokomaiko, you say he should come and testify in Lagos High Court, will he fly? Who then is checking from the police authority if any provision is made for the policeman going to testify before a court? The answer is zero!”
According to him, “In Lagos State as I speak, if there is any witness coming from Kano to testify in Lagos and the witness says he is coming by air, I will pay his air ticket and one hotel night for him to sleep to give evidence. That is what operates in Lagos now. Unless the police officer is not willing to come; this is another problem.”
Citing DPP’s conflicting advices in Cynthia’s case, Pedro stressed that when investigation is not done in collaboration with the person who is the District Attorney or who is going to prosecute, there are chances for areas to be left untouched.
He opined that if the first advice issued was recognized and the subsequent letter says this one supersedes the earlier one, it does not make any difference, adding that if the DPP says you have a case to answer does not mean you are going to jail.
“You may give an advice today that Mr. A has no case to answer. Then tomorrow, new facts emerges, will you say that because Mr. A has no case to answer, I won’t revert. And do not forget that the DPP is not the court” the Solicitor General added.