3 Lagos detainees regain freedom after eight years without trial

3 Lagos detainees regain freedom after eight years without trial

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Three detainees who were held on arbitrary detention in Lagos State for 8-years without trial have regain freedom as part of its efforts in promoting Human Rights in Nigeria.

Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France) better known as Lawyers Without Borders legal team secured their release, according to the Communications Department of the Organization.

It said in a statement on Monday that the victims are beneficiaries of ASF France’s pro bono legal aid, on the wings of the European Union and AFD funded “Strengthening the National Actors Capacities and Advocation for ending Severe Human Rights Violations in Nigeria Project” (SAFE).

It explained that the cases of Mr. Adewale F, Mr. Ifekoya S and Mr. Kola A were all handled between the months of September 2020 and December 2020.

“The striking similarity amongst the three (3) cases is that all beneficiaries had been arbitrarily detained for over 8 years, with Mr. Kola spending the most (over 9 years) in arbitrary detention”, the statement said.

Mr. Adewale was arrested because the women made a counter-report against him, following accusation of being in possession of the missing child when he went to the station to report a case of theft which occurred when some women were confronting him on the issue of a missing child.

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But he couldn’t afford the finances required to process his bail, thus he was transferred to SARS Office at Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja and was then charged with armed robbery and remanded in custody. Mr. Adewale had never appeared in Court since 20/05/2013.

In a related development, Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France) also intervened in the case of one Mr. Ifekoya, who was accused of failure to prevent a felony, and secured release.

The accused person was kept in Kirikiri Medium Security Custodial Centre since 2012 for given a lift to a friend who was wanted by the police and failure to produce his friend when requested by the police

The third detainee, Mr. Kola, was also remanded in the same custody since 2012 without trial until ASF France’s intervention.

ASF France, tendered separate applications to the Lagos State High Court on behalf of the 3 detainees, particularly seeking for the unconditional or conditional release, citing the violation of their fundamental human rights, their rights to personal liberty and freedom of movement, provided under the sections 35 and 41 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended.

“All three applications, according to the Human Rights defender’s group, were successful at the Lagos State High Court. In one of the judgments delivered by the Judge, Justice O. O. Abike-Fadipe, she said “No amount of money can compensate for 8 years of one’s life.”

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While commending the Judges for the Rulings, Angela Uwandu, the Head of Office of Avocats Sans Frontières France said, “no justice system should subject anyone to 8 years awaiting trial. It is simply a failure of the system and a gross violation of the rights of citizens”.

It emphasized further that arbitrariness of these detentions entitles the victims to a remedy and this is what the ASF France legal team has achieved in this case. Avocats Sans Frontières France celebrates these victories, and recognizes them as a step forward for rule of law and human rights protection in Nigeria.

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