In our endeavour to meet daily needs, one may be arrested during or immediately after committing a crime; or on suspicion of having committed a crime and be detained. There are laws on the rights of a detained person. Unfortunately the laws are constantly abused by law enforcement agents and sometimes lead to death of the detainee.
A Lagos based notorious hoodlum popularly known as Sunday Terror arrested and detained by the police, died in police custody in January this year. In May, Gbenga Omolo, a 70-year-old man was allegedly tortured to death while in detention in the cells of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad of the Ondo State Police Command. In June, The chief protocol officer of the minister of state for defence, Mr Desmond Nunugwo died in the custody of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The deceased right to life and fair-hearing were violated. Many cases of death in custody and extra-judicial killings are neither reported nor investigated. Those whose love ones died in law enforcement custody, must speak out. Civil societies must stand in the gap for those who had no one to fight their cause. An independent autopsy should be done as it is possible that the deceased may have died as a result of physical abuse by police.
Fundamental human rights enforcement proceedings are meant to help in containing the excesses of government agencies. It should be used to assuage pains of kin of victims of violation of rights of detained persons. It is all the more important because some of the deaths were attributed to overcrowding, prolonged pre-trial detention and inadequate medical attention. However, it is our view that government must investigate every death in custody.
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