Lagos #EndSARS panel awards N7.5m to petitioner detained six years without trial

A petitioner, Marc Chidibere Nwadi, has been awarded N7.5 million by the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Restitution and Inquiry set up to investigate cases of police brutality especially involving officers of the now-defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The petitioner had complained that he spent six years in the prison without trial.

Nwadi had alleged that his long stay in prison was because he could not offer a bribe.

Chairperson of the panel, Doris Okuwobi, delivered the judgment on Friday.

She upheld that the petitioner suffered unduly in the hands of police officers.

Okuwobi subsequently presented a cheque of N7.5 million to the petitioner on behalf of the state government.

The 39-year-old, who first appeared before the panel on Saturday, November 28, narrated how the Nigerian police killed his dream of becoming a journalist.

The petitioner had informed the judicial panel of how he was detained and tortured and later remanded in prison (Kiri Kiri) for six years awaiting trial.

Okuwobi in her ruling said the panel found out that, “the petitioner was tortured and abused by officers of the Nigerian Police force without any justification. “His experience was excavated by his inability to provide a bribe. “This inability to provide bribe led to tons of charge and as a result, he was awaiting trial in Kirir Kiri maximum security prison for six years. “The duration of six years for awaiting trial was not justifiable to his human rights and procedure of the system.

“The petitioner was incarcerated by the Nigeria police force at the prime of his life without justification for 6 years and was not tried or sentenced for any crime despite enduring six years in prison and losing a vital part of his youth and opportunities.

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“We hereby give an award of N7.5 million to the petitioner. The constitutional time frame within which suspects in custody has to be charged to the court must be observed at all times.

“Failure of Investigating Police Officer to charge the suspect to court within the prescribed time as stipulated in the constitution should resolve in being sanctioned by the Nigerian Police Force and being suspended for 6 months without pay. Other officers directly involved in the investigation should be suspended for 3 months without pay.

“A daily audit of should be carried out by DPO and Human right desk for the purpose of ensuring that suspects are charged to court in the stipulated time frame in the constitution and incident of extortion are reduced and eventually eliminated

“Six officers should be made to undergo a minimum of four training in a year on self-restraint and human right. Such training should priorities the need of all officers to take personal responsibility for their actions. Arresting officers should ensure relatives of people in custody are aware of their arrest and circumstance of their arrest.”

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