Concern Over Illegal Detention Of Citizens In Police/Prison Cells

Concern Over Illegal Detention Of Citizens In Police/Prison Cells

Report compiled by Clem Ofuokwu, Eferegbo Henry and Kofi Bartel Some memories evaporate fast. Others stick with victims for a long time. Events tha

Parents Culpable in Human Trafficking – Delta Attorney-Gen.
Human Rights Activists Honour Anyakwee Nsirimovu
Addressing Mass Atrocities In Rivers State

Report compiled by Clem Ofuokwu, Eferegbo Henry and Kofi Bartel

Some memories evaporate fast. Others stick with victims for a long time. Events that followed the EndSARS protests left behind memories that will be difficult to erase from the minds of many people. From Port Harcourt to Oyibo in Rivers State, dozens of citizens were brazenly arrested on account of allegedly taking part in the crisis that trailed the EndSARS protests.  Sadly, the constant flip flop of the investigating officials meant that these citizens suffered some human rights abuses.

Twenty years old Success Odinaka was arrested by the police on the 21st October 2020 at Ohwonda Street where he is apprenticing with a master soundproof generator repairer. On that day, a riot triggered by the EndSARS protests swept through Mile One area, and that uproar prompted the E-CRACK unit of Mile One Police to move in. Success and two others – Chibuezie Raphael and Temple Nzuegbu -who are learning the same skill -were arrested and detained at the Rivers State Police Criminal Investigation Department. “I was contacted by Success’s bossbut wecould not go to the police the same day because of a curfew imposed by the Rivers state government. We could not go the next day as well. When we got to the Mile One Police Station two days after, we learnt they had been transferred to the state CID’, said Emmanuel Odinaka, Success’s elder brother. Seven days after the arrest, precisely on the 27 October, Success was charged to a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court. “My brother, two of his colleagues and six others were charged with felony and terrorism at a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court”, Emmanuel recounted. Going through their charge sheet, it explains they took part in a meeting of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. But further investigation showed the trio was busy with their work at the time they were arrested.

Just like Success, Temple Nzuegbu, was arrested 21 October, during the ragging #EndSARS# protest at Mile One area of Port Harcourt. In the midst of the confusion, Temple raced to save his life. First, he tried taking refuge in one of the shops but the owner, troubled by the crowd trooping in, asked everyone to leave because she too was scared. With no option left, Temple continued his search for safety. Unfortunately, he ran into a police team that was arresting people at random. From the State CID where he was initially transferred to, he was charged to court accused of terrorism.  According to Bright Nzuegbu, Temple’s elder brother, there is no iota of truth that Temple is a member of the IPOB.

“All I know about my brother is that he is business conscious, a Christian and much of his social activities revolve around the church. The church where he attends, St Emmanuel Anglican Church, is surprised to hear the news because they know the kind of person he is”, said Bright.

Twenty-six years old Chibueze Raphael is one of the persons standing trial for terror related charges at a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court. According to the charge sheet, Raphael and eight other accused persons are said to have attended a meeting of the proscribed IPOB. As an apprentice learning how to repair generators at Ikoku, Raphael was said to be in the workshop when the E-Crack unit of Mile One Police did a mass arrest. His elder brother, Ogbonna, defended Raphael’s innocence in an interview, stating that he was preoccupied with his work at the time the EndSARS protest was going on.

“My brother is not an IPOB member. I know that for sure. He is under my tutelage – he depends on me for his transport fare and feeding every day. He didn’t even take part in the protest”, lamented Ogbonna.

After their arraignment on October27, the Magistrate Court remanded Success, Temple, Raphael and six others in prison custody. Since then, the case has not been heard again. More worrying is  the fact that the detainees are not allowed access to visitors. For almost two months, their families only saw them once even though every once in a while, they made attempts to see them.

“I made several attempts to see him but it was not granted. Each time I go there, I would be asked to pay N1000 or more as a bribe to officers to deliver food and medicine to him”, said Ogbonna.  Emmanuel Odinaka echoed the same concern. “I have been able to see my brother (Success) once. He told me the condition in prison is horrible and unbearable”.

Temple’s poor health continues to trouble the family. “My brother is asthmatic, and he is always on drugs although we had given him an inhaler. We have been praying he doesn’t have a crisis in the cell because we know how terrible it can be when he has an attack”, said Bright who has now assumed a fatherly role after his dad was struck with stroke when his BP shot up due to frustration triggered by his failure to get his son out.

“Joy has ceased in my family. We are still grappling with the awful story of my younger brother, and as if that was not enough now my father has BP and his hand is paralyzed”, cried Bright. Bright regularly visits the prisons but he is never allowed to see his younger brother. During those visits, he could drop medicines and other items with officials to deliver to Temple, although he still nurses a doubt whether those things really get to him.

Nuzubee Ukachukwu is also facing terror-related charges at a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court. This apprentice was arrested along Owhonda Street by Ikoku Junction in the heat of the EndSARS protest at Mile One axis of Port Harcourt. His elder brother Michael said there had been no restrictions on the number of times they could visit him but he was quick to point out that such visits come with a huge price tag. Michael proclaimed his 19-year-oldbrother’s innocence and asked the government to release him unconditionally.

Besides the anguish in these families, their finances have received a telling blow. “Before my brother was charged, I gave N130,000 to a policeman at the State CID who said he would help change the charges to be milder”. Although Emmanuel Odinaka does not have any evidence to prove this as the said money was transferred by hand, the allegation of bribery is evident in the narration of all family members interviewed.

In Oyibo and Afam, the mayhem that resulted from the ENDSARS protests led to the burning of police stations. Six security personnel were killed and guns carted away by hoodlums alleged to be members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB. This incident created room for the indiscriminate arrest of citizens in Oyigbo and Iriebe communities. In search of those behind the destruction and killings, dozens of citizens were arrested and detained by the police and army. Expectedly, the victims were stripped of their rights and denied contact with their relatives although those who stayed in military cells said they were well treated. Unfortunately, most of the arrests in Oyibo and Iriebe point to a police informant who is alleged to be using his relationship to get at perceived enemies. There has been a growing rivalry among some occupants over the control of an obviously abandoned Rivers State Iriebe Housing Estate and the rent.

As security personnel revved up their search for the perpetrators of the attacks, Mr. Friday Obodoakor was arrested by soldiers on Wednesday December 16, 2020 at the Rivers State Government Estate Iriebe. He was accused by a fellow occupant of knowing one Mr. Kelechi, a suspected member of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Kelechi is among people alleged to have participated in carting away riffles during the attacks on police stations. Friday Obodoakor, who is in his 60s, is also accused of being a devotee of Amadioha; adeity believed to be the god of IPOB members.

In his account, Friday Obodoakor, said he was cajoled by Sunday Nwosu popularly known as Sunny Degree to come to the Oyigbo Police Station, and right before the DPO, Sunday Nwosu alleged he had something to do with Mr. Kelechi. Not able to achieve his motive, Sunday Nwosu, allegedly took the matter to the soldiers who detained Friday Obodoakorat the Oyigbo Police Station. “The next day Mr. Sunday Nwosu came with soldiers and they gave me a beating of my life. Subsequently, I was taken to Oyigbo Police Station where I was detained for seven days”, he said.

“I told the commander that I know nothing about this; that my apartment is in Road 9 and not Road 2 and I could not be worshiping in the Amadioha Shrine since I am not an IPOB member.” Although Friday Obodoakor is now a free man, the horrible experience he had would remain etched in his mind.

Onyekachi Sylvester’s story followed the same pattern.  On Saturday, December 19, 2020, officers of the Oyigbo Police Division arrested Sylvester who is a motorcycle taxi operator at Iriebe in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State. Mr. Sylvester’s ordeal, according to his wife, Onyekachi Augustina, has the imprint of the same Mr. Sunday Nwosu. Mrs. Onyekachi said her husband was framed up because she turned down a request by Mr. Nwosu for a sexual relationship.

“He (Mr. Nwosu) wanted to date me; I refused and told him that I am a married woman. He got angry and threatened to deal with me”, she alleged. Her husband was arrested by the police based on the allegation made by Mr. Nwosu that he is an IPOB member.

“We were living in a two- bedroom flat inside the estate, the IPOB, Amadioha boys who live in the same estate broke into our house severally. We were uncomfortable and approached the Iriebe indigenes that acted as agents before we rented the apartment. They demanded an additional N20,000, and in August  (2019) we moved into a three-bedroom flat. We have two of the rooms while another tenant took the third room.

“Early this year 2020, some bad boys in connivance with their member sharing the flat with us, forcefully took over the two rooms from us. To avoid trouble, we moved our belongings to the sitting room, where we sleep and also cook.

“After the EndSARS protest, Mr. Sunday Nwosu assisted the police to arrest two of the boys while others are on the run. He wanted to rent the apartment and my husband refused; he threatened to deal with us if we don’t give up the apartment”. However, on December 24, 2020, the police paraded Onyekachi Sylvester before the cameras, alleging he is a member of IPOB. The incident left a question as to how much investigation had been carried out.

“On Saturday, December 19, 2020, Mr. Nwosu came with police to pick some of the evidence of the IPOB in the apartment after arresting one Mr. Ugo and Star Boy. And to make good his threat, they arrested my husband. They alleged that he was among those that burnt down Oyigbo Police Station and also a criminal and refused him to tell his own part of the story. They almost killed him while beating him.

“I came back from Port Harcourt and rushed to the Oyigbo Police Station; the police officers declined to grant me access to see him until an army officer intervened. When I eventually saw him, he complained of pains all over his body and requested for drugs”.

Without any shred of evidence, Mr. Nwosu continued to lead the police on a journey to nail Onyekachi Sylvester at all cost. He told the police that he saw a gun used by the criminals in attacking Oyigbo Police Station in Mr. Onyekachi Sylvester’s apartment. This new allegation paved the way for the police to apply unreasonable force to try to push Mr. Onyekachi to confess.

“My husband was blindfolded and whisked away from Oyigbo Police Station. And now we don’t know his whereabouts”, alleged Mrs. Onyekachi. She also alleged they lost the money they had been saving after Sunday Nwosu led the police to search their apartment.

The whereabouts of Onyekachi Sylvester still remains a mystery although it is believed he is in the custody of the police.

Chidinma Okafor did not suffer her fate alone. She was in her apartment with her daughter, Vivian, and a visitor when officers of the Nigerian Army swooped on her apartment at Iriebe Housing Estate, following an allegation by the same informant, Mr. Nwosu, that they are members of IPOB. Mrs. Chidinma Okafor was also accused of preparing meals for the IPOB foot soldiers and of being in the know of their whereabouts. Mrs. Chidinma had faced multiple arrests before on a similar allegation. But unlike previous incidents, this one stripped her of her dignity.

“I had only a wrapper on me at the time we were arrested. They took us to Road 8 and laid us on the ground for one and a half hours under the sun before we were moved to Oyigbo Police Station”, she narrated. The soldiers finally set them free after they had spent seven days in custody. Although they were denied access to visitors, and their phones seized, Mrs. Chidinma Okafor said the soldiers took good care of them “All through our detention the soldiers cared and also fed us three square meals a day, though we were bailed with the sum of N50,000 only”, she said.

Like the proverbial ubiquity of a tortoise in tales by moonlight, Mr. Sunday Nwosu was also alleged to be the mastermind of Mr.Victor Nathaniel’s arrest on accusation of belonging to IPOB. “It all started when one Mr. Sunday Nwosu visited me, and while in my apartment, he made a phone call and directed the person to where he was, only for me to see a police van. He pointed at me and asked them to arrest me”, he said.

Like other incidents, the soldiers and police did not investigate Mr. Nwosu’s allegation before arresting Victor Nathaniel. Victor Nathaniel is not Igbo but a Rivers man. During his incarceration, he endured terrible conditions that left wounds on his body but he was lucky enough that it only lasted for a day.

“You can see the wounds all over my body. I kept screaming, insisting that I am not Igbo but a Rivers man and I don’t do IPOB. The commander asked them to release me. No one asked me to pay any money for bail and no one came for my release either”, said Victor Nathaniel.

The reason for the arrest of Sunny Udo is not only outlandish but funny. Sunny was doing his routine early morning exercise when the police picked him up on a flimsy reason that, “he looks like an IPOB member”.

According to his elder brother, Chinwe Udo, the arrest and detention of Sunny by the Oyigbo Divisional Police Officer at Iriebe Housing Estate, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, happened on Wednesday December 9, 2020. In pursuit of his younger brother’s freedom, Chinwe Udo went to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) in the company of the man allegedly responsible for his ordeal. Sunday Nwosu, popularly known as Sunny Degree, like in dozens of other cases, was the informant who sold Sunny Udo out. Another reason for the visit to the SCIID was to take a shirt to his brother because he had none on when he was arrested.

As the police are on a desperate manhunt for those who executed the mayhem in Oyibo, Sunday Nwosu was a willing tool who provided the oxygen to make the scores of police intimidations and arrests possible. Sunny Udo spent three agonizing weeks, including Christmas and New Year in police detention without being charged.  The police insisted on arraigning him and others in Court on the  of December 31, 2020 or on Tuesday  January 5, 2021.

It was a dark moment for young Praise Ogbuagu who was driving with his father from the Mile One area of Port Harcourt. Their destination was the Mile One Hospital where they intended to obtain much needed medication for his father who had been suffering from an ailment. On the way, they were accosted by officers of the Nigerian Police Force. “They asked for our driving particulars and car documents which we provided. We were not allowed to go despite our need to urgently get to the hospital and an exchange of words ensued between myself and the policemen”, he said.  Praise says he and his ill father were arrested and taken to the notorious E-Crack office at Mile One Police Station, Port Harcourt after the argument.

“At the police station, I was using my phone on Instagram and they accused me of using my phone to film them. They pounced on me and hit me with wooden planks and guns”, he said. Police officers demanded to go through the contents on Praise’s phone and when they saw pictures and posters of the EndSARS protests in his phone, Praise says the police accused him of being part of those who attacked and burned the police station in Oyigbo, Rivers State.

Praise Ogbuagu and his father spent the night in the E-Crack cell and they were made to write a statement with Praise accused of being a member of the proscribed IPOB group. “In the cell, we were stripped naked. My dad was sick and I was afraid for his health. That was the first time I saw my Dad naked. I saw injured persons there who had wounds and were near-dead. A small boy was brought into the cell and he said his mother sent him on an errand and he was picked up by the police for no just cause”, Praise said.

His father was granted bail the next day while a court remanded Praise at the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre where he spent three days.  He had a four-count charge of criminal conspiracy. Praise says the police soaked his phones in salt water because they didn’t have any evidence of what they would charge him with. “Till now I’m struggling to recover documents I stored on my phone. My dad’s health has deteriorated”, he said. According to Praise, some of the prisoners told him they had no lawyers when they made their appearance in court hence their continued stay in prison. Praise was handcuffed like a common criminal and driven in a prison vehicle and dumped in the prison yard for crimes he didn’t commit. He revealed that the police officers who accompanied him to court told him and other prisoners to plead guilty so that they would get released. He however did not follow their advice. On the next court date, the police failed to show up and the Magistrate dismissed the case, setting Praise Ogbuagu free. The young man said the episode had a drastic effect on his father’s health and they are trying to keep him alive now.

Still another nerve-racking incident connecting the EndSARS. On October 21, 2020, 18-year-old Andrew Oyama was watching TV at his parents’ home when the power went off. He decided to move outside to take some fresh air and wait for electricity to be restored. As he sat outside his family house at the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, a team of policemen showed up and began arresting anyone around. Andrew was bundled into a police van along other people and whisked away to the State Criminal Investigation Department office while still clutching his TV remote.

According to his lawyer, Mr. Steven Mkpuma, there was an order from a high authority that all those arrested should be charged with terrorism. Andrew was arraigned before Magistrate A.O. Amadi on October 27, 2020 (with charge No. PH/105/2020) on chargesof unlawful gathering and conspiracy to commit terrorism. Two groups were arraigned separately, one from Oyigbo and the other from Mile One.

The lawyer Mr. Steven Mkpuma said there is lack of evidence to prosecute the accused but the tactic has been to get them remanded in prison for as long as possible. Mr. Mkpuma said he approached the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt since the offenses Andrew was accused of are federal offenses, and made a bail application. On November 12, 2020, Andrew Oyama was granted bail of N5 million or surety in like sum and a Certificate of Occupancy. Andrew’s parents have been unable to meet the bail conditions and he remains in prison till date. Andrew turned 19 years while in prison.

There is a scourge of abuse of due process in the arrest and detention of all the detainees.  Contrary to the Nigerian law, Success Odinaka and eight others – Oguzie Nwajie, Chibueze Raphael, Andrew Oyam, Chisom Ogbonwu, Mebebari Yogbara, ThankGod Samuel, Nuzubee Ukachukwu and Temple Nzuegbu -were detained in a police cell at the State CID for seven days before they were charged at a Port Harcourt Magistrate Court with terrorism. Their joint charge sheet states that nine of them on October 21, 2020 at Owhonda Street, Port Harcourt, did conspire among themselves to commit felony which precisely means terrorism. Terrorism is an offence punishable under section 17 (b) of the Terrorism (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2013.

The number of days spent at police cell before being charged to court is shy of what the law says. “In Nigeria, arresting authorities, including the police, may detain a suspect in their custody for a maximum period of one day, generally or two days in certain circumstances. Such circumstances would include a situation where there is no court within a distance of 40 kilometers. Otherwise, the suspect must be released either conditionally or unconditionally or he must be taken to court”. Surprisingly, in the case being referenced, there is “a court within a distance of 40 kilometers”, yet the police flagrantly chose to continue to keep them in their custody for seven long days.

The only caveat known by this section of the law was equally breached by the police. “A person may be held in detention for a longer period only upon an order of the court. So, the court can remand a person in the Correctional Center or a cell with any of the arresting authorities”.

Another snag in this case, is that a magistrate court lacks jurisdiction to try terror-related offences. Police prosecutors, who are themselves lawyers, filed the case at a magistrate court, regardless of their knowledge of the law. Again, this might be intended to prolong the anguish of the detainees and short-circuit efforts to secure their early release on bail.

At the moment, lawyer to Success Odinaka, Chibueze Raphael and Temple Nzuegbu is in a race to secure bail for the trio. Addah Duke Esquire, was in court on December 17 for the hearing notice of the bail application which the court could not entertain for two consecutive times. However, the court gave January 14, 2021 for the hearing notice. On December 23, in the company of Addah Duke the family members of Success Odinaka, Chibueze Raphael and Temple Nzuegbu, had a second chance to visit the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre to see the detainees. Unlike what it used to be; they had a three-minute exchange with them. Secondly, the meeting was held over the window. Although the detainees showed utmost excitement seeing their families after such a long time, the frustration on their faces was overwhelmingly difficult to conceal. They complained about the horrible meals which is also revealed through their emaciated bodies.

This same impunity gave the police the license to arrest and detain Friday Obodoakor, Onyekachi Sylvester, Chidinma Okafor, Sunny Udo and Victor Nathaniel beyond 48 hours. It is not only the inhuman treatment meted out to them by policemen that has left a deadly mark on their minds. During a visit by family members to Sunny Udo and Onyekachi Sylvester at the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID) cell in Port Harcourt, both suspects said they are facing violence in the cell perpetrated by other inmates. They complained of not sleeping due to space and feeding challenges.

In all the cases, police spokesman, Nnamdi Omoni, downplayed all allegations of illegal arrests and detention. Omoni said it is important to allow the cases to go through the natural legal process. He said at this moment, it is only the court that will declare the suspects guilty or not guilty.

Overall, a human rights lawyer, Henry Ekine, says “illegal or unlawful arrest is one that is contrary to or forbidden by law, especially criminal law. It is an arrest not conforming to, not permitted or not recognized by law or rules”. Illegal arrests could violate so many laws such as Section 35, particularly subsection (6) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and many others.

In much of the cases being referenced, the challenges in securing bail for detainees are enormous. While some are placed at the doorstep of the security agencies, others are linked to the court level. According to Henry Ekine, demand for money by security agencies with arresting powers, pressure by detainees and their relatives for quick release, willingness to compromise and pay for bail by detainees and relatives, poor and slow investigation by security agencies (often deliberate) are some of the challenges. Another one that is hugely troubling is the arraignment of suspects before courts without jurisdiction as seen in the case involving Success Odinaka and eight others who were charged in a Magistrate Court whereas the offence they are being charged with is terrorism. Others are stringent bail conditions by the court in most cases as well as antics and inefficiencies in the Department of Public Prosecution.

Addressing practices of illegal arrest requires training of personnel of security agencies on the rights of citizens, says Henry Ekine. “It is equally important that heads of security personnel should be responsible and accountable. Human rights education for citizens to know their rights, punishment of offenders for deterrence could also help to make sure illegal arrests and detentions do not take place. Other ways to cure illegal and unlawful arrests will be for the courts and judges/magistrates to be firm in pronouncements in cases of human rights violations. Above all, heads of courts should implement sections 33 and 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 by appointing designated Magistrates and Judges to visit Police Station Cells and the Correctional Centers every month to ascertain the situation of detainees, why and how long they have been in detention”, said Henry Ekine.

Giving his perspective, a constitutional and human rights lawyer, Angus Chukwuka, explained that until the monitoring committee envisaged by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act is activated, cases of illegal detention of citizens would not be put under control. “Since 2015 when the administration of the criminal justice act came into effect, the act envisaged the setting up of a monitoring committee. Unfortunately, that committee has either not been set up or not been functioning. In a way, this accounts for why citizens are still illegally detained in police centers and some languishing in prisons without trial”, he said.

“Prisons should be decongested more regularly. Those against whom there is no tangible proof of evidence and those, whose, records show that they were merely framed up or that the cases against them are mere misdemeanor should simply be cautioned or made to pay fines and be released.  Magistrates, judges and justices of the peace should visit police stations regularly to ensure that those who stay beyond the legally required period in police cells without being charged to court are released forthwith”, said Angus Chukwuka.

However, Angus thinks a speedy rush to the court I unrealistic.

“The constitutional provision that a person arrested should be charged to court within 24 hours is unrealistic because 24 hours after an arrest is not enough for an investigation to be concluded, charge sheet to be prepared and filed and suspect charged to court.  There will be a need for constitution amendment in this regard”, he said.

RECOMMENDATIONS

*To change these ugly narratives, a policy to address and minimize incidents of human rights abuses and reduce cases of illegal and unlawful arrests should be front and center. Interestingly, the new Police Act, 2020, and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, are both set to achieve this if implemented in line with their prescriptions.

*There  is the need for the overhaul and proper funding of the judiciary to ensure that judges, magistrates and other judicial officers rise to the challenge of treating criminal cases expeditiously without frivolous adjournment or no sitting at all that causes people to remain in police cells and prison centers endlessly.  Magistrates, judges and justices of the peace should visit police stations regularly to ensure that those who stay beyond the legally required period in police cells without being charged to court are released forthwith

*Police department should be made accountable on issues of human rights violations. Law enforcement officers who are culpable should be punished as examples to deter others. The police authority must ensure that proper investigations are carried out before arrests. Relying solely on the oral evidence of an informant like Sunday Nwosu can be deadly.

*Policemen and other law enforcement officers should be trained properly on the respect and rights of citizens so that in the course of discharging their duties they will not violate these rights by illegally detaining citizens.

*The law should be amended to ensure that investigation can be carried out without the necessity for arrest. If this is applied, as soon as an arrest is effected, charging the suspect to court can be carried out within a short period of time translating into the arrested staying for a short time in the police cells before they are charged to court. However, as nice as this recommendation is, there is the view that such rush to the court is not helpful.

*The police to civilian ratio of 1:400 should be implemented as this and low funding by the government have jointly resulted in poor investigation by the police, making them rely almost solely on complainants’ information. As noted by Alemika (1999), “Police corruption is a serious issue because they are expected to be moral as law enforcement agency”

*Civil society organizations (CSO) should increase awareness of civic and human rights education with direct attention on the police officers and the public. This will help bridge the training gap by the institution, put a check and enhance effective intelligence and proper investigation by the officers to support human rights. The complacence of the citizens and ignorance on civic space and their rights over time have enabled the police to become an instrument of oppression and abusers of civil rights instead of an instrument to protect the people. The continuous sharing of experience by victims, speaking up and enforcing one’s rights in court will reduce such abuses.

*The State Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department (SCIID) facility in Port Harcourt should be upgraded to accommodate more suspects in line with international best practices. Essentially, the United Nations high commission for human rights series No 5/Add3 (2004) provides that “detainees shall be kept in humane facilities designed to preserve health and shall be provided with adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, medical services, exercise and items of personal hygiene”.

*The Rivers State and the federal government should take ownership and control of the Iriebe Housing Estate to end the reign of survival of the fittest war which has created a monster out of the likes of Sunday Nwosu.

*Finally, citizens detained in awaiting trial cells contrary to what is provided by the law should be awarded monetary compensation administratively by the executive arm of government.

COMMENTS