… Flays DSS, Police over illegal detention of suspects

… We’re yet to receive invitation letter to partake in FG’s probe of Sowore’s rearrest – NBA

Why we sent magistrates to detention centres ― FCT Chief Judge
Justice Ishaq Bello

By Luminous Jannamike

Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Justice Ishaq Bello, has warned security operatives against detaining suspects beyond the statutory 48hrs period prescribed by the law.
Bello, who gave the warning a special event organised in Abuja to celebrate his appointment as Life Bencher of the Nigerian Law School, reiterated that security agencies must seek and obtain court order if they desired to detain an alleged criminal beyond the statutory period.
He lamented the congestion of detention centres nationwide due to the deluge of suspects held illegally by security agencies.
As a way of addressing the situation, the apex Judge in the FCT judiciary said magistrates have been deployed to detention centres in the nation’s capital to drive down the number of inmates awaiting trial.

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He said, “No suspect should be detained beyond the statutory period prescribed by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
“Security agencies must seek order of court to detain any person beyond the statutory period. If you want to have them, come and seek order for remand. We will give you time, if you want weeks, we will give you and if you are not done with your investigation ask for more time and we would look at it and give you. It is all about civility.
“As Nigerians, we must desire the beat for our country. We must belong to the comity of nations that do things within standards. That is why we have cravings to enforce every bit of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
“We had to send magistrates to detention centres to decongest them. Because I want this message to sink into the minds of Nigerian, let me not speak further.”
The Chief Judge, who also said his recent appointment would spur him to do more for the common people, stressed that the declining standards of legal practice in Nigeria and the issue of ethical conduct of practitioners were key concerns he hoped to tackle as Life Bencher.
In her remarks, Justice Olasumbo Goodluck described the Chief Judge’s elevation to the Body of Life Benchers of Nigeria as deserving.
She attributed the reforms in the FCT judiciary to the ingenuity of Justice Bello, saying the High Court of Abuja is a model judiciary courtesy of his efforts, doggedness, commitment, and passion for advancing the course of justice
Speaking also, the National President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro, noted that Justice Bello still had a lot to offer the nation.
“We’ll keep calling on Your Lordship to contribute his quota to the advancement of the legal practice in Nigeria,” he said.
On the Federal Government’s probe of the arrest of convener of RevolutionNow Movement, Omoyele Sowore, within the court premises by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), Usoro said: “I have not received a letter that has invited the NBA to be a member of the investigating body. I am not saying a letter may not have been sent to me. As at today, I have not received the letter.”

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