The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on the Nigeria Police to release Gloria Okolie, a lady arrested by police and has spent over 67 days in detention.
Okolie is in police detention in Owerri, Imo State, Southeast Nigeria where she has allegedly been used as a slave and terribly abused, tortured by the officers in charge of her detention.
The NHRC which serves as an extra-judicial mechanism for the respect and enjoyment of human rights, asked that Okolie be released or be charged to court as reasonable under the Nigerian law.
Tony Ojukwu, Executive Secretary of the Commission, while reacting to the alleged detention of Okolie stated, that the practice of illegally detaining citizens by law enforcement agencies beyond constitutionally stipulated time is ‘unwholesome’ and constitutes gross violation of the rights of the human which must be accounted for, to serve as deterrent.
“The Commission is therefore using this medium to demand the immediate and unconstitutional release of the detainee or in alternative charge her to a court of competent jurisdiction so that she will enjoy the right to fair hearing and the opportunity to defend the allegations against her, if any,” Ojukwu stated.
He noted that Okolie’s rights to freedom of movement and liberty among several others had been “allegedly violated with impunity by the very personnel charged with the responsibility of protecting the lives and property of citizens.”
The NHRC Executive Secretary restated that there is no official state policy in Nigeria that approves the act of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, but regretted that some adamant law enforcement officers “act according to their wicked whims and caprices to engage in dishonorable conduct of debasing and subjecting their fellow human beings to the lowest status that cannot be equated to treatment of beasts and other lower animals.”
He added that such a treatment is inconsistent with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and other relevant Bills of Rights to which Nigeria is a party.
Ojukwu reiterated the Commission’s stance of compelling the police to take necessary legal and constitutional action on Okolie’s case and other citizens being held illegally without delay.
Also, human rights organisation Amnesty International called on the Nigeria Police on Monday, Aug. 23, to release the lady who had been in detention since her arrest on June 17, 2021 over alleged involvement with a suspected Eastern Security Network (ES) and proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) member without trial and denied access to her relatives.
“The police authorities must investigate her prolonged detention and alleged ill-treatment and ensure that officers found culpable are punished according to law,” Amnesty International said.
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