THE Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (LACON) on Thursday discharged 30 suspects from the Nigeria Correctional Service Medium Security Custodial Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State.
The 30 suspects were remanded without being charged.
Sharon Tanko, Director, Magistrate, who led the delegation with directive from the FCT Chief Judge on decongestion of correctional facilities within the FCT, was accompanied by Idayat Akanni, Director, Training, Mohammed Zubairu, Celestine Odoh and Chinyere Onwuchere
“My team visited this facility in order to correct an abnormal situation, which ordinarily ought not to have been so.
“The discharged suspects have not been discharged from the offence for which they were arrested.
“The suspects were discharged from the remand warrant that had continually kept them in the facility instead of being charged to court via exparte application to court by the police.
“They were discharged in line with the provisions of Section 296 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, that stipulated that no one should be kept in police detention for more than 14 days ( to be renewed only four times), without being formally arraigned before a court,” she said.
In addition, she informed the suspects that they could still be rearrested when the police decide to conduct their investigation and find them liable of an offence which they can then be arraigned for.
Also speaking, Mr Kenneth Mozie, LACON Director for Decongestion Services, called for more of the visits.
“We in the council will follow up on the cases of suspects who were not discharged as their cases had already been charged to court,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 38 inmates were on the list to be discharged.
Three out of the remaining eight had already been charged before the FCT High Court, Nyanya with charge number CR/37/2020, to be represented by LACON counsel on pro bono basis.
The council was also mandated to liase with the office of the director, Magistrates to get their charge number of the remaining five suspects with a follow up of presenting them before Mpape Magistrates’ Court, on July 5 .
NAN reports that the suspects who were initially in the custody of the disbanded Police’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad ( SARS), since 2019 without been formally charged to court.
They were however, visited by Magistrates from Life Camp and Mpape courts, who the issued them with remand warrants, before being taken to the correctional centre in 2020.
LACON, on its part led by Director General, Abubakar Aliyu, in its effort to carry out one of its mandate of prison decongestion in Feb. visited the facility and made the discovery that the suspects who were issued with remand warrants between Jan. and Feb. 2020 had not be charged to court.
The council thereafter identified the suspects, followed up with the matter with the intention to provide pro bono services to the them, however,c the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria ( JUSUN), delayed the process.
NAZn reports others on the visit are Mr Frank Johnson, Director, Criminal Litigation Services, Mr Daudu Hassan, Mrs Musilimat Abdulraham, Omolola Afolabi, Chiko Ikem- Mgbemena and Olusegun Adekeye.
Others are Mary Egbuna, Vianona Ose, Ogechukwu Ibenegbu, Vic-Cliff Obiayo, representatives from NewLife International and students from the department of Law, Nasarawa State University.
– June 24, 2021 @ 14:10 GMT|