Prisons Advocacy And Justice Initiative Seeks Adherence To Administration Of Criminal Justice Law

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·        Writes Imo CP, Attorney General, Chief Judge, Chief Magistrate

Prisons Advocacy and Justice Initiative has drawn the attention of the state government, the Police, Judiciary and other relevant agencies to what it referred to as the increasing rate of human rights abuses and unlawful arrests perpetrated against Imo people by security agencies in the state.

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The group in press statements dated November 21, signed by the Chairman Godwin Iyke Umah Esq and addressed to the Chief Magistrate, Owerri Magisterial District and the Imo State Commissioner of Police, Chief Judge of Imo State, the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice,  with the captions, “Quarterly report of Arrests and Visit to Police Stations” respectively state that, “as Head of the police, in the state, “you know very well that Section 31 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Imo State 2020 mandates you to remit quarterly to the Attorney General of the State, a record of all arrests made within the state with or without warrant. From the records so remitted, the Hon Attorney General is in turn mandated by law to maintain both manual and electronic registers of all arrests made in the state.”

Referring to the Chief Magistrate, the statement stated that, “We have made efforts to access these registers but sadly cannot find any. This has made it extremely difficult for us to assist Imo people who are desirous of Justice especially in the midst of daily disappearance of able bodied young men who are randomly raided and arrested by operatives of the security agencies without any trace. You also know very well that massive arrests are now being made daily by men of the security agencies without proper identification as they no longer wear uniforms nor offer any identification whatsoever.

We have observed with dismay the disobedience and/or refusal by relevant authorities to enforce Section 3G of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Imo State 2020 which mandates the Chief Magistrate to visit the Police division or other places of detention within jurisdiction at least once every month.

This we observed has given the security agencies in the state the leeway to flagrantly abuse Imo people with reckless abandon. We have it on good authority that the Tiger base detention facility in particular has become a “GAS CHAMBER ‘. Other detention facilities in the state are not better of either.

We are therefore compelled to pleadingly request that you use your good offices to effect compliance with this very important and justice driven provision of the law.”

Addressing the Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice, the group said, “As the Chief Law Officer of the state, you know very well that Section 31 (4) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Imo State 2020 mandates you to establish a manual as well as an electronic database of all records of arrested persons in the State.

“We have made efforts to access these registers but sadly cannot find any. This has made it extremely difficult for us to assist Imo people who are desirous of Justice especially in the midst of daily disappearance of able bodied young men who are randomly raided and arrested by operatives of the security agencies without any trace. You also very well know that massive arrests are now being made daily by men of the security agencies without proper identification as they no longer wear uniforms nor offer any identification whatsoever.

“We therefore write to demand that you cause the relevant registers provided by law to immediately be established in total obedience to the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Imo State.”

“In the portion addressed to the Chief Judge of the state, the group stated that, “Your Lordship, kindly TAKE NOTICE that we are determined to explore the full weight of the law in seeking the enforcement of this provision if we do not witness its implementation before the Christmas vacation. Please accept the assurances of our highest regard. “

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