By Iduozee Paul, Benin
As need for citizens to be free from police torture, harassment, intimidation, molestation, unlawful arrest and prosecution rises following massive abuses, Edo Civil Society Organizations (EDOCSO) in collaboration with the CLEEN Foundation has called on the Edo State government to remove from the Nigeria Police, the power to prosecute suspects facing criminal trials in court to end violation of the fundamental human rights of citizens.
The groups made the suggestion in Benin City, during their second quarter state working group meeting on accountable governance, justice and security project-accessing.
Delivering on the topic: “Challenges in the implementation of administration of criminal justice law of Edo State and way forward”, EDOCSO coordinator general, Comrade Omubude Agho said the state law giving the Nigeria Police the right to investigate, arrest and prosecute a criminal suspect has led to the violation of the rights of the citizens of the state which ordinarily should not have been.
Agho said the duty of the police should start with the arrest and the investigation of its suspect and that upon completion of investigations, suspects should be handed over to the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for onward prosecution.
In his contribution, the assistant chief state counsel, Department of Public Prosecutions, Ministry of Justice, Edo State, Mrs. Odihirin Justina, confirming the overbearing nature of the police on citizens, said the decision of the police to take up prosecution, has led to unlawful detentions of citizens in their custody.
“In Ministry of Justice today, we discovered that 70 percent of the files on our table brought in by the police are on those who don’t have anything to do in detention at all.So, when we in the DPP discovered that, we recommended that they should be released and they were released.
“I believed that this is happening because the police want to assume the role of arrest, investigation and prosecutions.So, I will suggest that their roles should be narrowed to the arrest and investigation of criminal suspect while the prosecutions should be left with the DPP”, she added.
The one-day round table brought together Edo state Ministry of Justice, Independent Corrupt Practice and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria Bar Association and Edo Civil Society Organisations in Edo State.