The Chairman, Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law, NBA-SPIDEL, Dr Monday Ubani on Monday intervened in the case of Gloria Okolie, the female student arrested and detained by the police while on her way to write her JAMB examinations.
SPIDEL in a release signed by Ubani has handed down a 14 day ultimatum to the Inspector General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, to either charge her to court or grant her an unconditional release.
Ubani condemned Nigerian security officers attitude towards Nigerians saying that it exposes their incompetence.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to the long and illegal detention of one Gloria Okolie by the Nigerian Police Authorities for over 67 days for her friendship with an alleged IPOB member. It is further alleged that while she is under the police detention in Owerri, she has been used as a slave(beast of burden) and terribly abused, tortured by the officers in charge of her detention;
While these allegations are yet to be verified as no lawyer or relation had had access to her, we are of the candid opinion that there are many things wrong with this detention which we consider patently illegal, wickedly and appalling;
What makes this matter more shocking is the latest press release of the current Inspector General of Police after over 67 days conceding to the arrest and illegal long detention on the ground that she was providing information, drugs and weapons to the said IPOB members. According to the IGP “further investigations by the police team revealed that Gloria Okolie takes advantage of her gender and seemingly innocuous looks as camouflage to carry out espionage against military and police targets on behalf of IPOB/ESN.” The truth of the matter is that if the IGP thinks that this explanation will justify this long and illegal detention of this young lady, it has further exposed the incompetence and illegality with which the security agencies carry out investigations in Nigeria ;
Assuming but not conceding that these “grave allegations” are true, does this by any stretch of imagination empower any security agency any right to detain a citizen for such lenght of time, thereby depriving her the constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of movement, rights of dignity of person and right of fair trial within a reasonable time as provided under 1999 constitution? Nay, her guaranteed rights of presumption of innocence until proven guilty has been destroyed permanently by this lengthy detention without any charge or arraignment;
We have consistently advise our security agencies to discard this primitive and outrightly unscientific mode of investigation of crimes in this modern times to avoid this unnecessary embarrassment they bring to themselves most times they effect arrest of suspected criminals. We have counselled that scientific and modern mode of investigation of crime is the best global standard that is applicable all over the world even in small African countries with lesser economic viability as Nigeria. Our security agencies have become a big embarrassment to us as a nation, especially when we claim to be giant of Africa;
It is absolutely wrong to arrest an individual and start sourcing for evidence for prosecution. It is not only archaic but patently criminal for police officers to indulge in this manner of primitive investigation of crime in this modern time.
We are therefore giving the police authorities 14 days from today to charge Gloria Okolie to court if she has committed any known offence or release her unconditionally. We shall commence the enforcement of her fundamental rights which has been criminally violated if this request is not adhered to as usual by the police authorities. They are deemed adequately advised”, Ubani concluded.