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AWLA tasks police on thorough investigation before arrest  


IKEJA- The President of African Women Lawyers Association, Mrs Mandy Asagba, has called on law enforcement agencies to conduct thorough investigations before making arrests as a strategy to decongest prisons.

Asagba made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday.

“The idea of arresting before conducting investigation is very wrong.

“In Nigeria, once someone goes to a police station and reports that someone stole, the police will arrest without building their case.

“Abroad, the police build up their case in a way that the suspect would not wriggle out,” she alleged.

According to her, Nigeria’s Constitution provides that no suspect should be detained for more than 24 hours.

She said that anything in the contrary would be against the rule of law.

Asagba called on public office holders to uphold the rule of law and the supremacy of the constitution.

The Lagos-based lawyer said that upholding of the rule of law would go a long way to decongest prisons.

She added that there were minor offences that the police should resolve at stations without detaining suspects.

She said: “Look at the Ikoyi Correctional Centre with  the capacity of 800 inmates. At every point in time, we have over 2,000 inmates there.

“They do not even have beds to sleep on, and it is like we even start punishing suspects before they are tried.’’

Asagba called for restorative justice as a means of avoiding prison congestion.

“Why would anybody be detained in prison custody on minor offences such as theft of bread and phones?

“The owner of the bread may say, ‘return my bread or compensate me for the stolen bread’, and the case will be resolved amicably,” she said.

The lawyer also called on the Federal Government to build more prisons to accommodate inmates well.

She also urged that the government should fund the police better to enable them to discharge their duties more effectively.

She said that AWLA had made much efforts to fight for the rights of children, women and the unjustly detained. (NAN)

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