The Lagos house of assembly has passed an amendment bill of the Administration of the Criminal Justice Law 2015 of the state, which seeks to prevent the police from parading suspects before journalists.
The amendment bill, titled: ‘Lagos State Administration of Criminal Justice (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, was passed on Monday during a plenary presided over by Wasiu Eshilokun-Sanni, deputy speaker of the assembly.
In the amendment bill, section 9(a) states: “As from the commencement of this law, the police shall refrain from parading any suspect before the media”.
This implies that under the Lagos criminal justice law, it will be illegal for police officers to parade suspects before the media in the state.
In recent times, stakeholders in the criminal justice system have expressed concern over the parade of suspects by police officers — a recent example was the parade of Chidinma Ojukwu, a 300-level student of University of Lagos, for the alleged murder of Usifo Ataga, Super TV CEO, by the Lagos police command.
The amendment further stipulates conditions under which a police officer can arrest without warrant, one of which is that a person must be reasonably suspected to unlawfully be in possession of firearms or other such dangerous instruments.
According to a statement by Eromosele Ebhomele, chief press secretary to the speaker, the subsection of the bill also bars the police or any other agency from arresting a person “in lieu of any other person in a criminal matter”.
The bill adds that a person who is arrested “shall be given reasonable facilities for obtaining legal advice, bail or making arrangements for defence or release”.
The bill stipulates that a suspect should be “accorded humane treatment, with the right to dignity of person; not be subjected to any form of torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment; be brought before the court as prescribed by this law or any other written law; or be released conditionally or unconditionally”.
The deputy speaker also directed Olalekan Onafeko, acting clerk of the house, to transmit the bill to Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, for assent.