Lawyers without borders better known as Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France), have enforced the fundamental human rights of two awaiting trial inmates at the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCS), Kirkiri in Lagos State.
The detainees identified as Mr. Promise B, and Mr. Mohammed B, had spent over 10 and three years respectively of Arbitrary Detention Without Trial in Lagos State before they regained their freedom.
A Press release from the SAFE project jointly supported by the European Union (EU) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) seen by our Correspondent said on Tuesday that the inmates were subjected to arbitrary detention.
Part of the release reads: “The victims are beneficiaries of ASF France’s pro bono legal aid, on the platform of the European Union and AFD funded “Strengthening the National Actors Capacities and Advocation for Ending Severe Human Rights Violations in Nigeria project” (SAFE) project.
The awaiting trial inmates were both handled between the months of October 2020 and June 2021. Both men had spent a period of 10 years and 3 years respectively awaiting trial.
Both men had never appeared in Court since they were remanded in custody at the Kirikiri Custodial Centre, according to the human right pro bono group.
The Lawyers in its pro-bono legal intervention tendered separate applications to the Lagos State High Court on behalf of the two 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.
The Press release said: “All two applications were successful at the Lagos State High Court. In the judgment of the case of Mr. Mohammed (who had spent over 10 years in arbitrary detention) delivered by Justice Adenike J. Coker (Mrs.), a damage of five million Naira was awarded against the Police in favour of the victim. Awarding Judgment in favour of the victim, the judge highlighted that “There would be no amount of money that can compensate for 10 years of one’s life.”
The Country Director of Avocats Sans Frontières France, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu commended the judges for their rulings, but went on to say that “It is a failure of our justice system and a gross violation of the rights of a citizen for anyone to be held in arbitrary detention, let alone for over 10 years”.
The arbitrariness of these detentions entitles the victims to a remedy and this is what the ASF France legal team has achieved in this case”, the Press release said.