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Court condemns detention of detainees without trial, orders release of Naval officer

Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas, Chief of the Naval Staff, Nigerian Navy.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has condemned the growing culture of impunity in the country and declare as unacceptable, the culture of detaining people without trial.

The court, presided over by Justice Chuka Obiozor therefore called on the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to fish out and prosecute naval personnel responsible for the detention on one Captain Dada Labinjo who has been detained by Naval authorities for the past one year without trial.

While ordering the immediate release of Captain Labinjo, Justice Obiozor said the Nigerian Navy acted in breach of the fundamental human rights of the applicant as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.

Captain Labinjo had filed an enforcement of fundamental rights application before Justice Obiozor asking for his release having been detained by the Navy since September 13, 2018 without charging him to court of competent jurisdiction.

The judge also ordered the release of Labinjo’s hand set which was seize from him.

The judge described the continued detention of the applicant and the prolonged incarceration of the detainees as an unacceptable act that cannot be justified under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended or the Armed Forces Act.  “They should be released from custody or arraigned before a competent court of law if there is reasonable suspicion that they have committed any criminal offence whatsoever”.

He said further: “However, to curb the growing culture of official impunity in the country we are compelled to call on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN to charge the naval personnel responsible for the violations of the fundamental rights of the detainees with contempt of court and acts of torture under the Criminal Code Act and the Anti Torture Act”.

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