By Stanley Nwanosike
Enugu – Police and the judiciary in Enugu state have resolved to partner in implementing the Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL) to ensure that no innocent person is imprisoned in the state.
Both bodies made the resolution known in a communiqué issued on Sunday after a “Partnership Meeting” between them on the implementation of ACJL as it affects “Arrest, Search, Detention and Bail (ASDB) Protocol’’ in Enugu on Saturday.
The communiqué was signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Finance and Administration, Mr Oliver Amaechi, for the command and Mr Sylvester Eze, Administrative Chief Magistrate for Igbo-Eze North/Ette Magisterial Districts, for the judiciary.
The meeting was organized by the Enugu state Police Command in collaboration with the Nigeria Policing Programme (NPP).
“The police and court (judiciary) should ensure that those who have no business in prison should not be in prison, while cases should be thoroughly investigated before taking to court.
“We agreed that a police officer should not violate the fundamental human rights of persons while effecting arrest; a person can only be arrested for committing offence stated by law and not for civil wrongs.
“The police should not use violence in effecting arrest unless the situation so demands. In that case, the force to be used must be reasonably necessary and proportionate,’’ the communiqué stated.
It said that in implementing ACJL as it affected ASDB Protocol, all stakeholders in justice delivery should work as partners in progress and “not enemies at war front”.
It added that stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice should undertake continuous sensitization on the enforcement of fundamental human rights.
According to the communiqué, cases should not be discharged or struck out by judicial officials on technical grounds.
“Nigeria Police should embrace the international best practices of policing, especially in the areas of ASDB protocol, while police officers effecting search warrant should first of all, surrender themselves for search before conducting the search.
“Any suspect arrested with or without warrant must be taken to the police station immediately.
“Recovered property not connected with a case should be released to the owner forthwith, while recovered, found and unclaimed property can be disposed through auction sale in accordance with the law,’’ it said.
The meeting was attended by all chief magistrates, Director of Public Prosecution, representatives of the Attorney-General and Chief Judge of the state and Divisional Police Officers, Area Commanders and other senior police officers in the state.