A slight drama played out yesterday at the two-day Stakeholders’ Summit organized by the Lagos State Ministry of Justice.
The event which held at the Eko Convention Center attracted lots of dignitaries.
During the summit, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo accused the Nigerian Police Force and judges for unlawful detention of suspects.
Osinbajo said keeping suspects in prison custody longer than is legally permissible without trial is wrong.
He queried why judges and security operatives refused to release those granted bail by constituted courts.
The Vice President said others are kept in prison custody for as long as 3 years without being charged to court.
The situation, he explained, has left over 47,000 suspects still awaiting trial in prisons across the country.
“As at 2017, we have 47,229 ‘unsentenced’ detainees awaiting trial out of a total prison population of 67,586.
“It may interest you to know that Lagos State has the highest number of unsentenced detainees in Nigeria.
“We agree that these problems are against our collective interests as practitioners and stakeholders.
“We must make a firm commitment to tackle the problems by changing our attitude and standing up for what is right,” he said.
The Vice President also accused some judges of sitting for less than three and half hours.
“They will not sit on time and before 3:30 pm, they would rise. Such behavior from judges must stop” he said.
Osinbajo’s call for the release of unlawfully detained prisoners is in sharp contrast to how the President sees it.
There have been high-profile political detainees who, according to Osinbajo, ought to have been released but is still kept behind bars.
Prominent among these include Col. Dasuki Sambo, Nnamdi Kanu, Shiekh El Zakzaky, and many others.