250 Nigerians die in police custody monthly — Rights group

Posted by Ifeoma Okafor, Awka | 11 November 2017 | 1,609 times

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•Intersociety Board Chairman Emeka Umeagbalasi

Facts have emerged that no fewer than 250 Nigerians die in Police custody on monthly basis.

Making the disclosure to journalists in Onitsha, Anambra State on Friday, Emeka Umeagbalasi, the Board Chairman of frontline human rights organisation, International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law (Intersociety), said that since June 2015 till date, 5,000 arrested and detained citizens have died in Police custody across the country.

Umeagbalasi explained that the deaths were largely on criminal execution or killing, torture, and other cruel inhuman and degrading punishment while in custody as well as prosecutorial vindictiveness whereby citizens are criminally labelled or slammed with bogus charges that are in no way near suspected offences they were caught committing.

He blamed the spate of death in Police custody to absurd or stone age application of criminal justice administration in Nigeria, especially in the area of criminal investigation and prosecution management.

According to him, Nigeria has remained backwards, crude, stagnant and unmoved even when the rest of the world had become scientific, digitalised and mentally and forensically upgraded for criminal investigations.

He said: “The managers of criminal justice recklessly resort to reckless use of criminal labelling or trump-up charges to achieve their selfish interest, and not that of the law.”

In a special report made available to journalists in Awka by Intersociety on the increase of death in Police custody, Umeagbalasi accused the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) of being responsible for most of the deaths in Police custody.

He recalled the alleged killing of about 40 people whose corpses were dumped in Ezu River, Amasea, the border between Anambra and Enugu States on January 19, 2013, saying that it was a clear case of torture and killing of some, if not many of the arrested and detained citizens by Anambra SARS.

He added: “We saw 25 to 40 dead bodies or more shockingly floating on the Ezu River in Amansea, and our report solely indicated that SARS in Anambra State was solely responsible for the torture, killing and dumping of the slain corpses inside the river.

“It is to alert the world on the raging and unlicensed butcheries and cruel degrading treatments being perpetuated by the SARS in the state against detained citizens in their custodies with impunity that prompted this press statement.”

Source: Ifeoma Okafor, Awka

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