By Chimaobi Nwaiwu, Nnewi
A group of human rights lawyers and other stakeholders in Anambra State have raised the alarm over the unlawful detention of no fewer than 18 persons in various Correctional Centres in the State, for offences allegedly committed by their fathers, husbands, brothers or relations.
They also decried the detention of a woman identified as Mrs. Onyekachi Orji, who was pregnant when she was arrested before she delivered in prison and had remained in custody for twelve years with the baby.
The group through its spokesman, Chijioke Ifediora Esq, said they will no longer accept the continued detention without trial of the victims and ask all families and friends concerned, to give this process freeing them a chance, adding that on justice they stand.
Ifediora, further stated that the cases of the victims have been moving at a pace “slower than snail speed” with the last hearing being in January 2020 and most of them adjourned to March 2021.
“We, therefore, say a capital No to the continued detention without trial of these people and we called on Attorney-General of the Federation, the Prosecuting Counsels, State Government and others involved in the matters to urgently administer justice on the victims.
“As concerned citizens and advocates for rights of all and the sustenance for human dignity, we wish to use this opportunity to draw the attention of the International Community, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Anambra State Government to the incarceration, prison detention without trial and gross abuse of human rights of over eighteen citizens of Igbo extraction allegedly for crimes they committed.
“Our investigation reveals that these persons have been in detention at Onitsha and Awka Correctional Services Centers for over twelve years, awaiting trial. We, therefore, request that our justice system should be based on the principle of fair hearing, the presumption of innocence until proved guilty and speedy dispensation of justice.