Lagos cops abducting, detaining residents without their families’ knowledge, judiciary

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ADZ

Police officers in Lagos have been accused of kidnapping citizens and holding them in cells without informing their families or the judiciary.

In a statement by their leader, Bayo Akinlade, some lawyers who volunteered under the Duty Solicitors Network revealed this.

They charged the cops with breaking the law that they swore to uphold.

“When the police begin to break the very law they have sworn to uphold, we know our citizens are in grave danger,” the statement reads.

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“Police officers across Lagos are now abducting citizens and holding them in police stations without informing their families or the judiciary.”

“Recently, a chief magistrate in Lagos witnessed a terrifying situation that threatens our safety and completely erodes our trust in the Nigeria Police while performing her duties under the Administration of Criminal Justice Law, which requires magistrates to visit police detention centers.

“Lawyers from the Duty Solicitors Network were alerted to this extortion scheme at the Area C Police Command, where they discovered that people arrested in Lagos were secretly detained in cells within the premises.”

“We arrived at the courthouse at 2:45 p.m., accompanied by the chief magistrate and her support staff. The situation we encountered on the ground revealed several anomalies in Area C’s system operations.

“When we arrived at the cells, we discovered that they were mostly empty, contrary to previous reports of overcrowding.” The detention board had been wiped clean as well. The magistrate inquired about the whereabouts of 19 suspects who had been in brief custody as of her last visit on Monday, January 10th, 2022, as well as eight others who had been in prolonged custody since December 24th, 2021, for a total of 27 suspects.

“When she was informed that the suspects in custody had been released, she demanded proof of their release in the form of a letter, their respective bail applications, or any other form of release records.” Only one bail application was filed in the case of the eight detainees who had been held since December 24th, leaving 25 suspects unaccounted for.

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“What was even more shocking was that the Station Officer had no record of these suspects, nor any statements obtained at the time of their arrest, indicating that nothing had been done.”

“An additional previous report from the magistrate on her Monday engagement revealed that the arrests were made at random on suspects of all ages, charged with no specific offense, without being informed of the reason for their arrest, and picked up while going about their daily lives.” Even their initial public offerings (IPOs) were unknown to them.

“After waiting interminably for the police records of release, which never arrived, our suspicions about the suspects’ release were raised.” After that, some of us conducted a surprise search of the premises, discovering a room where some of the missing suspects had been hidden.

“The magistrate had to embark on an exercise to educate the officers on the importance of keeping such important, documentary records, and he gave a very brief template on such guidelines.”

“It was discovered in another room where a female suspect was being interrogated that she had been arrested since November 2021 and had been charged to court as an accused person, but was still sleeping in the cell as a suspect for inexplicable reasons.” This was a mother who had a family. Others, like herself, had been detained for longer than was necessary.

“An additional search of the facility’s various floors uncovered the other female suspects, one of whom was still a minor.

“In the process, it was also discovered that some cases that the officers claimed had been charged to court were actually charged to a court without a sitting magistrate.”

“A number of other suspects were also discovered, all of whom had been transferred from Ikorodu and were being held indefinitely.”

“However, we were able to compile the names and details of all the suspects we discovered in Area C in order to take immediate action on their cases.”

“In the end, and after several interrogations, we were able to come to the conclusion that all of these anomalies are the result of the CP’s directives, who gave orders for the suspects not to be released or formally charged to court and is fully aware of the situation, and that the officers at Area C Command are simply following orders.”

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“Hopefully, the DSN can look into and correct this situation with the CP while we continue to follow up on the cases at the facility.”

“It is important to note that we would not have been able to discover these horrible activities perpetrated by the Nigeria Police if not for the provisions of the ACJL and the Police Duty Solicitors Scheme.”

ADM

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