By / 11th March, 2015 / projects / Off

SUMMARY

Most of the victims of prolonged pre-trial detention in Nigeria do not have legal representation because they cannot afford a lawyer and as such have no access to justice. Hence, they languish in prisons for years, some for alleged offences they neither committed nor knew nothing about and many for offences they would have served a shorter time than they have spent in prison if they had been convicted.

BACKGROUND

Prolonged pre-trial detention, outdated penal and criminal codes, a slow judicial process, corruption and arbitrary arrests and detention of citizens by the police are some of the factors blamed for the phenomenon. Also, many detainees cannot afford a lawyer.
Many prisons are locking up three times their designated capacities, forcing inmates to take turns to sleep. Also, lack of good nutrition and health care are common. Some data may better illustrate the situation.

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In 2011, a prison warden in Keffi Prison in Nasarawa State, North-Central Nigeria, introduced me to a man who had been detained for six years without trial because he could not afford a lawyer and the state failed to provide him with one, which is quite common. At the end of these years, he was acquitted on his first appearance in court, without any compensation following an intervention by an NGO. He was lucky! Thousands of detainees have awaited trial for more than 10 years for alleged offences they would have served a short term if they had been convicted. But many, like him, are innocent of these alleged offences.

 

Overcrowding in Nigerian prisons, a result of excessive pre-trial detention, is as old as the prison system, and the Federal Government is aware of this reality. Between 2006 and 2012, private law firms were solicited at a huge price to trim down the population. Over $53 million (8 billion naira) was spent in payments and verifications of the cases. While the program generated huge debate, it averted a major crisis in prison population and its attendant consequences because prison population dropped from 127,051 in 2006 to 50,100 in 2012. But the rate of pre-trial detention remains high and pre-trial detainees remain one of the most vulnerable groups that have little or no protection of the law and whose rights and dignity are systematically flouted and violated with impunity.

Also, victims of pre-trial detention are often victims of torture and the most cruellest, inhumane and degrading treatment, particularly from the time of arrest, transportation to police stations and detention in the police cells, as police officers usually employ different types of brutal corporal punishments in order to illicit confessions. Unfortunately, some of these false confessions have been used as evidence in court for convictions, putting innocent people behind bars. Besides, pre-trial detainees are denied their right to fair and speedy trial and access to justice as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and guaranteed by many international and regional instruments Nigeria is a party to.

Sadly, there has been a regress on the progress that had been made in achieving criminal justice and prisons reforms and protecting the rights of pre-trial detainees and prisoners due to what seems to be a “change of focus” to new areas like governance, environment and freedom of expression by some NGOS who had previously worked on prisoners rights, welfare and prison reforms. Even with the passage of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, which has been described by many justice reform and human rights advocates as the most progressive criminal law in Nigeria, nothing much has changed. The prison population as well as the awaiting trial population continue to rise due largely to the poor implementation of some parts, and zero implementation of other parts of the Act, such as Part 44, which allows for alternative forms of incarceration, such as community service, parole, suspended sentence, probation, etc. Also, many recommendations for reforms in the Police, the Judiciary and the Prison Service which, if implemented, would have impacted hugely on the rights and welfare of pre-trial detainees and prisoners have not been implemented and there is too little pressure by civil society on government to make these happen.

While good governance and freedom of expression are important elements of every democracy, the protection of human rights and dignity of all persons are equally important and are integral elements of any democratic setting. In fact, it can be argued that there is no democracy and good governance without human rights and rule of law. And Nigeria cannot achieve true democracy if the rights of her citizens, particularly the poor and most vulnerable – detainees and prisoners – are not protected and defended.

Our goal for providing legal aid was not to provide shelter for criminals, but to give each suspect, especially those who are too poor to afford a lawyer, an opportunity to have a lawyer in order to get a fair and just hearing  in accordance with the demands of justice.

Our achievements

Legal representation to pre-trial detainees

The number of cases concluded as shwon below, demonstrate our achievement and competence in the provision of legal aid.

S/N Case Name Case No. Nature of Offence/

Alleged Offence

Trial Court Awaiting Trial

 Duration

Prison
1 COP vs. Monday Michael CR/36/14 Criminal Conspiracy G1 Area Court,

Ako Lugbe

3 months Kuje
2 COP vs. Segun Elibiyo CR/37/14 Criminal Conspiracy/ Mischief/ Escaping From Lawful Custody G1 Area Court,

Ako Lugbe

2 months Kuje
3 COP vs. Murtala Gazali

& 2 Others

CR/147/14 Joint Act and Theft G1 Area

Court, Kubwa

3 months Suleja
4 COP vs. Ibrahim Musa CR/147/14 Joint Act and Theft G1 Area

Court, Kubwa

3 months Suleja
5 COP vs. Kabiru Illiyasu CR/147/14 Joint Act and Theft G1 Area Court,

Kubwa

2 months Suleja
6 COP vs. Solomon

Emmanuel

 

G1 Area Court,

Kubwa

Kuje
7 COP vs. Machukwu

Ifeanyi Emmanuel

CR/274/14 Theft Magistrate Court

10, Wuse, Zone 2.

Kuje
8 NSCDC vs. Okashatu

Ibrahim

Theft Senior Magistrate

Court, Wuse,

Zone 6.

Kuje
9 COP vs. Oluchukwu Nneji Criminal Trespass

and Theft

G1 Area Court,

Ako, Lugbe.

Kuje
10 COP vs. Ime Luke Udom Criminal Trespass

and Attempt to

Commit Offence

G1 Area Court,

Kado.

Suleja
11 COP vs. Anas Mohammed G1 Area Court,

Kado.

Suleja
12 COP vs. Tochukwu

Nwaubani

CR/247/14 Joint Act and

Cheating

G1 Area Court,

Kado.

3 weeks Suleja
13 COP vs. Mohammed Isa CR/270/15 Theft G1 Area Court,

Ako, Lugbe

Kuje
14 COP vs. Andrew Omale CR/579/15 Criminal Trespass UAC, Gudu,

Kubwa

Kuje
15 FRN vs. James Olaitan Federal High

Court 2, Abuja

 

Kuje
16 IGP vs. Bala Musa FHC/ABJ/

CR/72/2014

Felony Federal High

Court 8, Abuja

Kuje
17 IGP vs. Oke Egbune FCH/ABJ/

CR/72/2014

Felony Federal High

Court 8, Abuja

Kuje
18 IGP vs. Hamza Suleiman FCH/ABJ/

CR/72/2014

Felony Federal High

Court 8, Abuja

Kuje
19 COP vs. Abdul Hussein Theft Area Court, Karu Keffi
20 COP vs. Abdullahi Ibrahim CR/02/16 Car Theft Magistrate Court

1, Wuse, Zone 2

3 months MSP

Keffi

21 COP vs. John David CR/90/16 Theft Magistrate Court

3, Wuse, Zone 2

Keffi
22 COP vs. Haruna Ibrahim CR/1153/15 Robbery G1 Area Court,

Kado.

Keffi
23 COP vs. Simeon Ortyom Conspiracy and

Cheating

UAC, Mararaba. Keffi
24 COP vs. 2nd Accused Person Conspiracy and

Cheating

UAC, Mararaba. Keffi
25 COP vs. Lamila Daniel Joint Act and Theft UAC, Kuje 1year and 1

month

Keffi
26 COP vs. Ismaila Sani CR/41/16 Chief Magistrate

Court 15, Zone 2,

Abuja.

Keffi
27 COP vs. 2nd Accused Person CR/41/16 Chief Magistrate

Court 15, Zone 2,

Abuja.

Keffi
28 COP vs. Basiru Mamman CR/73/16 Conspiracy, Theft

Voluntary, Causing

Hurts.

G1 Area Court,

Kubwa.

Suleja
29 COP vs. Jamilu Ibrahim CR/73/16 Conspiracy, Theft

Voluntary, Causing

Hurts.

G1 Area Court,

Kubwa.

Suleja
30 COP vs. Kabiru Usman CR/73/16 Conspiracy, Theft

Voluntary, Causing

Hurts.

G1 Area Court,

Kubwa.

Suleja
31 COP vs. Sunday Obande CR/65/14 Criminal Conspiracy

and Car Theft

Magistrate Court

12, Wuse, Zone 2

Kuje
32 COP vs. Emmanuel Ocheme CR/65/14 Criminal Conspiracy

and Car Theft

Magistrate Court

12, Wuse, Zone 2

Kuje
33 COP vs. Odang Ocheme CR/65/14 Criminal Conspiracy

and Car Theft

Magistrate Court

12, Wuse, Zone 2

Kuje
34 COP vs. Ali Sidibe CR/347/16 Theft Kado Area Court. Keffi New

Prison

 

35 COP vs. Simon Olawale CR/43/16 Theft Chief Magistrate

Court 4, Wuse,

Zone 2

36 COP vs. Christopher Usen CR/43/16 Theft Chief Magistrate

Court 4, Wuse,

Zone 2

37 COP vs. Daniel Yohanna CR/122/15
38 COP vs. Mohammed

Abubakar

CR/366/16 Theft Kado Area Court. Keffi
39 COP vs. James Ibor Kado area Court Keffi New

Prison

40 COP vs. John Danjuma CR/443/16 Kado Area Court
41 COP vs. Benedith Agha Kado Area Court
42 COP Aro C. Chimezie CR/1449/15 Criminal Conspiracy

and Attempt to

Commit Robbery.

UAC, Gudu MSP Keffi
43 COP vs. Mr. Obinna Mbah CR/1449/15 Criminal Conspiracy

and Attempt to

Commit Robbery.

UAC, Gudu MSP Keffi
44 COP vs. Sunday Jay Malo CR/08/16 Belonging to gang of

Thieves, theft and

Public Disturbance

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

45 COP vs. Mohammed Biya CR/08/16 Belonging to gang of

Thieves, theft and

Public Disturbance

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

46 COP vs. Okay Duru CR/08/16 Belonging to gang of

Thieves, theft and

Public Disturbance

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

47 COP vs. Solomon Chan CR/08/16 Belonging to gang of

Thieves, theft and

Public Disturbance

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

48 COP vs. Obumneke Aneke CR/08/16 Belonging to gang of

Thieves, theft and

Public Disturbance

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

49 COP vs. John Odey CR/08/16 Belonging to a gang

of Thieves, theft and

Public Disturbance

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

50 COP vs. Isaac David CR/08/16 Belonging to gang of

Thieves, theft and

Public Disturbance

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

51 COP vs. Godwin Ladan CR/56/16 Chief Magistrate

Court, Wuse,

Zone 2

52 AGF vs. Ogbonna

Chidubem

M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
53 AGF vs. Ovie Yusuf M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
54 AGF vs. Samuel Paul M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
55 AGF vs. Adogi Okolo M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
56 AGF vs. Ishaku Abdullahi M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
57 AGF vs. Stephen Yahaya M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
58 AGF vs. PC Momoh Adamu M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
59 AGF vs. Ekemu Moses M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
60 AGF vs. Ebuka Iheme M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
61 AGF vs. Austin Ukaoha M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
62 AGF vs. Onyeka Nwaeze M/10159/

2016

Conspiracy and

Robbery

FCT High Court

26, Zone 2

Keffi
63 COP vs. Jackson Agbonou Rape /Sex with a

Minor

G1 Area Court,

Karimo.

64 COP vs. Abdulmalik Tijani Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

 

Kado Area Court.
65 COP vs. Joseph Onoja CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

 

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
66 COP vs. Ken Loto CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

 

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
67 COP vs. 3rd Accused Person CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

 

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
68 COP vs. 4th Accused Person CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
69 COP vs. 5th Accused Person CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
70 COP vs. 6th Accused Person CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
71 COP vs. 7th Accused Person CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
72 COP vs. 8th Accused Person CR/05/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
73 COP vs. Sunday Saraki CR/240/16 Conspiracy and

Robbery

UAC Gudu
74 COP vs. Ndubisi Isaac G1 Area Court,

Karimo

75 IGP vs. James Oshobo CR/110/14 Criminal Conspiracy

and Armed Robbery

(House Breaking)

FCT High Court

12, Apo

Kuje
76 IGP vs. Karlmax Haikougbe CR/110/14 Criminal Conspiracy

and Armed Robbery

(House Breaking)

FCT High Court

12, Apo

Kuje
77 IGP vs. Gabriel Ogbum CR/110/14 Criminal Conspiracy

and Armed Robbery

(House Breaking)

FCT High Court

12, Apo

Kuje
78 IGP vs. Anglagque Chrispen

Peter

CR/110/14 Criminal Conspiracy

and Armed Robbery

(House Breaking)

FCT High Court

12, Apo

Kuje
79 COP vs. Alex Bulus CR/307/16 Joint Act, House

Breaking and Theft

Area Court Karu,

FCT

80 COP vs. Afeez Abiodungun CR/307/16 Joint Act, House

Breaking and Theft

Area Court Karu,

FCT

81 COP vs. Austin Okhia CR/70/13 Conspiracy and

Armed Robbery

Court 12, Apo Kuje
82 COP vs. Hebron Bulus CR/70/13 Conspiracy and

Armed Robbery

Court 12, Apo Kuje
83 COP vs. Chibuzor Osunwa CR/70/13 Conspiracy and

Armed Robbery

Court 12, Apo Kuje
84 FRN vs. Osifo Eruwona CR/53/16 Drug Trafficking Federal High

Court, Abuja

3 years in

imprison

85 COP vs. Friday Williams Conspiracy and

Robbery

UAC, Gudu. Keffi New

Prison

86 COP vs. 2nd Accused Person Conspiracy and

Robbery

UAC, Gudu. Keffi New

Prison

87 COP vs. 3rd Accused Person Conspiracy and

Robbery

UAC, Gudu. Keffi New

Prison

88 IGP vs. Timbyen Bongfa &

5 ors

CR/10/16 Criminal Conspira-

cy, Criminal Breach

of trust and Theft

Magistrate Court,

Wuse, Zone 2

Keffi
89 COP vs. Suleiman Ibrahim CR/443/16 G1 Area Court,

Kado

Keffi
90 COP vs. Mathias Orpini CR/1031/16 Robbery UAC, Gudu Keffi
91 COP vs. David Ogah Breach of Trust

and Cheating

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu

Keffi
92 COP vs. Joseph Markwin CR/443/16 UAC, Gudu Keffi
93 COP vs. Yahaya Musa CR/152/17 Public Nuisance UAC, Gudu
94 COP vs. Mathias Orpine CR/1031/16 Robbery Keffi
95 COP vs. Nasiru Ibrahim CR/62/17 Theft G1 Area Court, Aco Kuje
96 COP vs. Oyobami Olakunle
97 COP vs. Ashiru Isiaka
98 COP vs. Chinedu Ene CR/41/17 Theft UAC, Gudu
99 COP vs. Kamilu Ibrahim CR/20/17 Unlawful Possession

Of Drugs

Federal High Court

11, Abuja.

Kuje
100 COP vs. Abiodun Sunday CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
101 COP vs. David Fabian CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
102 COP vs. Emmanuel Momoh CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
103 COP vs. Jimmy Dominic CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
104 COP vs. Felix Udoh CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
105 COP vs. Akoji Musa CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
106 COP vs. Ismail Suleiman CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
107 COP vs. Emmanuel

Christopher

CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
108 COP vs. Malvin Baraya CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
109 COP vs. Shehu Mohamed CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
110 COP vs. Ibrahim .S. Haruna CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
111 COP vs. Jamilu Kabiru CR/46/16 UAC, Karu.
112 COP vs. Joshua Gabriel
113 COP vs. Uche Ada
114 COP vs. Daniel Odeh
115 COP vs. Prince Okoronkwo
116 COP vs. Philip Omogba
117 COP vs. Richard Manasa CR/75/17 Area Court, Grade

1, Kubwa

118 COP vs. Egwu Okechukwu CR/53/17 Theft G1, Area Court,

Aco Lugbe.

119 COP vs. Ifeanyi Okpoko CR/152/17 Fighting UAC, Gudu
120 COP vs. Mohammed Labaran CR/443/16 Joint Act, Criminal

Intimidation and

Mischief

UAC, Karu Keffi
121 COP vs. John Sani Haruna CR/443/16 Joint Act, Criminal

Intimidation and

Mischief

UAC, Karu Keffi
122 COP vs. Henry Joseph CR/443/16 Joint Act, Criminal

Intimidation and

Mischief

UAC, Karu Keffi
123 COP vs. 9th Accused Person

(with Joseph Onoja)

CR/12/16 Joint Act, Theft,

Disturbance of

Public Peace,

Mischief

Senior Magistrate

Court, Karu.

Keffi
124 COP vs. Samson Madu CR/209/16 Jont Act and

Cheating

G1,Area Court,

Karimo

125 Cop Vs. Tanimu Sani CR/202/17 Theft, conspiracy and

house breaking

    Keffi  
126 Cop Vs. 2nd Accused person CR/202/17 Theft, conspiracy and

house breaking

     
127 Cop Vs. Bashiru Halidu CR/138/17 Trespass and Theft Chief Magistrate

Court, Maraba

Gurku

   
128 Cop Vs.  Yakubu sunday CR/   / 17 Mischief and theft Area Court Grade

1, Mpape

   
129 Cop Vs.  Emeka  Eze CR/1653/16 Theft Upper Area Court,

Gudu

  Keffi  
130 Cop Vs. Suleiman Amadu CR/655/16 Theft Area Court Grade

1, Kubwa.

  Suleja  
131 Cop Vs. Ibrahim Chairman Cr/107/17 Public Nuisance Upper Area Court

, Kado

  Keffi  
132 Cop Vs. Eze Dominic CR/366/17 Theft Upper Area Court

, Gudu

  Keffi oldprison  
133 Cop Vs. Essien Samuel CR/118/17 Theft and Nuisance G1 Area Court,

Kado

  keffi  
134 Cop Vs. Abbas Rimi CMK/32/016 Criminal breach of trust Magistrate Court,

New Karu.

  New Kefi  
135 Cop Vs. Akinyemi Amuda CR/01/16 Road traffic act CMC, Kubwa   Suleja  
136 Cop Vs. Abdurrahman Bah CR/248/17 Theft SMC 1, Mararaba      
137 Cop Vs. Muhammed Sani     G1 Area Court,

Kado

     
138              

 

Below are some of the pictures of our lawyers with released detainees

Barr. Kalu with ex-inmates Barrs. Kalu & Biliksu with ex-inmates IMG_20161024_135240(1) IMG_20170118_114013 Ten released from Keffi

20150420_125434 ex-inmate with barr.pretrial25505ef98427d8.jpg

 

  Many more cases are on-going presently and we hope take more in the future while advocating a total reform of the criminal system in Nigeria.

 

A lot more need to be done in the provision of legal aid to those who cannot afford the services of a lawyer as there are thousands of such detainees in many of our prisons around the country. CURE-Nigeria is willing and ready to continue with this effort in other states but there is the question of financing the lawyers who are handling these cases on our behalf. Funding therefore is a major constraint in our bid to expand the project and reach more detainees who may not even deserve to be there. Injustice to one is injustice to all, keeping people in prison for long without trial is an injustice. Join us to give freedom to thousands who need it in order to allow human rights reign in our society.