The continuous refusal of the State Security Service (SSS) and the Nigeria Police to obey the constitutional rights of detainees under their lawful and unlawful custody may lead to imminent collapse of constitutional democracy in Nigeria. HURIWA has also carpeted President Muhammadu Buhari for failing to stop the incessant kidnapping of school children by armed terrorists whom the President only recognized as mere bandits because they are ethnic Fulani like the President.
This was the conclusion of the Prominent Civil Rights Advocacy Group:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) in its reaction to the continuous mistreatment, gross dehumanization and unmitigated abuses of the rights of the lawyers to the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Besides, HURIWA has called on the National Anti- Human Trafficking Agency (NAPTIP) to arrest the Inspector General of Police and investigate him over the reported forced disappearance of the Imo girl and her enslavement for over 70 days not until her whereabouts were uncovered by a Human Rights activist.
The rights group said the failure of the police to release her on bail as directed by a competent court of law says a lot on the total disrespect for section 6 of the 1999 Constitution by the Inspector General of Police Usman Alkali Bala. Section 6 stated thus: (1) The judicial powers of the Federation shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established for the Federation. (2) The judicial powers of a State shall be vested in the courts to which this section relates, being courts established, subject as provided by this Constitution, for a State. (3) The courts to which this section relates, established by this Constitution for the Federation and for the States, specified in subsection (5) (a) to (1) of this section, shall be the only superior courts of record in Nigeria; and save as otherwise prescribed by the National Assembly or by the House of Assembly of a State, each court shall have all the powers of a superior court of record. (4) Nothing in the foregoing provisions of this section shall be construed as precluding:- (a) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly from establishing courts, other than those to which this section relates, with subordinate jurisdiction to that of a High Court; (b) the National Assembly or any House of Assembly, which does not require it, from abolishing any court which it has power to establish or which it has brought into being.(5) This section relates to:- (a) the Supreme Court of Nigeria; (b) the Court of Appeal; (c) the Federal High Court; (d) the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (e) a High Court of a State(f) the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;(g) a Sharia Court of Appeal of a State; (h) the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja; (i) a Customary Court of Appeal of a State;(j) such other courts as may be authorised by law to exercise jurisdiction on matters with respect to which the National Assembly may make laws; and (k) such other court as may be authorised by law to exercise jurisdiction at first instance or on appeal on matters with respect to which a House of Assembly may make laws.(6) The judicial powers vested in accordance with the foregoing provisions of this section – (a) shall extend, notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this constitution, to all inherent powers and sanctions of a court of law(b) shall extend, to all matters between persons, or between government or authority and to any persons in Nigeria, and to all actions and proceedings relating thereto, for the determination of any question as to the civil rights and obligations of that person; (c) shall not except as otherwise provided by this Constitution, extend to any issue or question as to whether any act of omission by any authority or person or as to whether any law or any judicial decision is in conformity with the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy set out in Chapter II of this Constitution; (d) shall not, as from the date when this section comes into force, extend to any action or proceedings relating to any existing law made on or after 15th January, 1966 for determining any issue or question as to the competence of any authority or person to make any such law.”
HURIWA expressed disappointment with the Nigerian police for flouting the clear order of the court of competent jurisdiction on matters affecting the Imo girl abducted by the police in Imo State even as for the second time, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja, has ordered the Nigerian police to either release or charge Glory Okorie, an alleged spy for the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
HURIWA recalled that the 21-year-old Miss Okolie was arrested by the operatives of the Intelligence Response Team (IRT), a tactical unit of the police, on June 17, 2021 in Imo State and subsequently transferred to Abuja.Having been incarcerated since her arrest, the suspect has been in custody for 75 days as of Tuesday.
The judge, Sylvester Oriji, had on Friday, August 27, 2021, given the police an ultimatum to either charge her to court on or before 31, 2021, or grant her bail.
Instead of complying with the order, the police authorities, on Tuesday, approached the court, urging Mr Oriji to reverse his earlier ruling on the matter.
The judge, after listening to the police, asked them to comply with the earlier order.
Mr Oriji explained that he could no longer preside over the matter because the case file had been returned to the Chief Judge of the FCT High Court for reassignment to another judge.
Meanwhile, the suspect’s lawyer, Samuel Ihensekhein, while reacting to the police’s attempt to upturn Miss Okolie’s release in his absence, wondered why the legal department of the police would engage in a “back-door and shoddy” courtroom practice.
HURIWA says the police’s consistent inclination to disobey the competent court of law is a grave threat to constitutional democracy and must be stopped. It says ordinarily, the IGP ought to be arrested and prosecuted for allegedly keeping the girl away from her Parents and lawyers for over 75 days and for the fact that she was purportedly converted to a maid for the police.
HURIWA recalled too that the Counsels to leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, said they were “practically stripped naked” during their visit to the IPOB leader.
Ifeanyi Ejiofor, the lead counsel to the Nnamdi Kanu, lamented that the dehumanisation of the lawyers continued during the Monday’s visit.
He narrated how the lawyers were maltreated in Facebook post on Tuesday.
He said, “Our Client – Onyendu Mazi Nnamdi Kanu was visited yesterday and in his usual practice, he extended his compliments to his millions of supporters. He is indeed eternally grateful for the overwhelming support and show of solidarity.
“It is pertinent to note that the harassment, intimidation, and manhandling of our lawyers by the DSS officials during the visit still continued, despite our protest last week.
“Lawyers were “practically stripped naked” while searching for incriminating materials during a court-ordered visit.
“We therefore, do not mince words in stating that it is no longer safe as it stands today for us who are visiting our Client.
“This hostile treatment is becoming exceedingly intolerable and unacceptable in the prevailing circumstance.
“We are now more apprehensive of the fact that no trial will commence in the circumstance we presently find ourselves until our Client – Mazi Nnamdi Kanu is transfered to the Correctional center.
“He can not be tried for a one-way stereotyped conviction in the manner the Federal Government is presently pursuing this. To deny us, his lawyers writing materials and for the visits to be conducted under the atmosphere of fear and intimidation is highly unacceptable and condemnable.
“The script currently being played is a clear demonstration of the Federal Government strategy to deny him fair trial, and we cannot accept it, under no circumstance. We understand the game and the dancing pattern.
“I want you all to be reminded that the present development is a direct consequence of your prayers well answered.
“We crave for more prayers, and urge you all to continue to remain law abiding and peaceful in the conduct of your affairs. Be assured that with truth and God on our side, we will win the battle in court overwhelmingly.
“We shall continue to keep you posted as the event unfolds, but be assured that we will have reasons to rejoice in no distance time, Umuchineke.” HURIWA said the SSS must be compelled to be law abiding unless the current administration is out to destroy constitutional democracy just as the Rights group urged Nigerians to resist the Sinister plots to destroy our hard earned democracy.