Sowore: You Cannot Be Judge Unto Yourself, NHRC Boss Tells DSS
Many cases have been reported to the commission about investigating police officers and state security officers deliberately refusing or delaying to verify bail conditions following court orders just to punish suspects unduly for reasons that are not constitutional.
The Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, has called on the Department of State Services to respect court orders and release detained activists, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare.
He stated this while reacting to the alleged refusal of officials of the agency to release the activists after meeting their bail conditions.
In a statement, Ojukwu said, “A situation where the order of courts are continuously disobeyed by security agents makes such security agents judges onto themselves and such situation does not augur well for our democracy based on the separation of powers and rule of law.
“Many cases have been reported to the commission about investigating police officers and state security officers deliberately refusing or delaying to verify bail conditions following court orders just to punish suspects unduly for reasons that are not constitutional.”
He, therefore, called for a renewed commitment on the part of law enforcement agents to submit to constituted authorities and oversight and release all detainees, who had met their bail conditions as ordered by the courts of the land.
He added, “There is the need for the three arms of government to work harmoniously with utmost respect for each other as envisaged under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“A situation like this can also lead to self-help thereby creating more problems for law enforcement agents and threaten the precarious situation of state responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill human rights in the country.”
He explained that the constitution guaranteed the innocence of every citizen until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Ojukwu said the action of DSS trying to be a judge unto themselves portend a great danger, which may lead to anarchy and loss of confidence of the people in the government.
“It makes the law uncertain at any point in time and leads to loss of confidence of the people in government and state institutions of which the judiciary is one of cannot approbate and reprobate,” he said.
He noted that the commission would continue to train and sensitise law enforcement agents on the need to respect the law and the constitution, which they have sworn to protect so as to engender a culture of respect for human rights in the country.