Lagos orders release of 253 detainees

To prosecute 92 for arson, stealing, murder

For failure to establish a prima facie case against 253 persons arrested in connection with the criminality that followed the EndSARS protests, the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of Lagos State, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), has directed the police to immediately release them.

He explained yesterday that between November 4 and 5, 2020, the police had forwarded to the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) 40 case files in respect of 361 persons arrested for criminal offences in connection with the protests for legal advice.

According to a statement signed by the Director, Public Affairs, Lagos State Ministry of Justice, Kayode Oyekanmi, the legal advice has been issued in respect of the 40 case files received.

He added that as at November 6, 2020, the directorate had been able to dispatch legal advice in respect of 81 persons that were charged to various courts, while others would be dispatched to court today.

“Out of the 361 persons, the DPP shall be prosecuting 92 for different offences ranging from arson, stealing, breaking into buildings, armed robbery and murder, while the office advised that 253 be released forthwith for non-disclosure of a prima facie case. In the meantime, two case files in respect of 16 persons have been advised for further investigation by the police,” he said.

Reacting to the development, former chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikorodu branch, Adebayo Akinlade, described the decision as great news for those released, their families and friends.

“They have suffered a great deal and we cannot compensate them for whatever humiliation they may have suffered. But we can put in place mechanisms to avoid this kind of embarrassing situation.

“I commend our judiciary for ensuring that justice was done and insisting that a prima facie case should be established and proper investigation be carried out within the shortest possible time,” he stated.Akinlade appealed to be professional in their duties.

The powers given to the police, he added, are sacred and should not be abused. According to him, to arrest and detain a person is a power the police should exercise with great respect and dignity.

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