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Okun groups caution police on Melaye’s ordeal

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Arbitrary arrests with crude means, bane to criminal justice, says Kogi AG
Two groups, Okun Development Initiatives (ODI) and Okun Development Union (ODU), have cautioned the police to tread softly in their quest to enforce the law and the performance of their responsibilities.

The groups, which admonished the police on the need to conform with laid-down rules, also appealed to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to seek peaceful resolution of the crises within its fold.

The ODI, in a statement signed by its General Secretary, Apostle Olalekan Aiyenigba, said it is appalling to every law-abiding citizen the events playing out between Senator Dino Melaye and the police.

The statement reads: “We agree that no individual is above the law. Every alleged infraction of the law should be investigated. “The assumption of innocence as guaranteed by the law must be sacrosanct in the conduct of the police in the current case of Senator Dino Melaye.

“The respect for the fundamental human rights of Senator Dino Melaye as enshrined in and guaranteed by the constitution must guide the police authorities in the course of their investigation.”

It, therefore, cautioned the police not treat with levity the issues raised by Melaye through his lawyers which prompted the Acting Chief Judge of the Federal High Court to transfer the case in question from Lokoja to Abuja.

In the same vein, the ODU, in a statement by its President-General, Mr. Femi Mokikan, said Melaye is like every other person with legitimate claim to any part of Okun.

He said: “The Okun people of Kogi State, more than any other people, have justifiable reasons to be apprehensive at the recent ugly dimension that his encounter with the law enforcement agencies has assumed. “Government must not deploy extra-judicial and extra-legal methods in dealing with suspects.”

He noted that what they are witnessing today is traceable to political differences between experienced stakeholders that were leading lights to their teeming supporters from the same political association.

He also appealed to all the government law enforcement agencies assigned the responsibility of Melaye’s challenges to discharge their responsibility with due respect to the laws of the land, respect his fundamental rights and protect his dignity.

In another development, Kogi State Attorney-General (AG) and Commissioner for Justice, Ibrahim Sani Muhammed, has said that arbitrary and confusing powers of the police in the arrest of alleged criminal offenders and the use of unwholesome means in the investigation of crimes are greatest challenges in justice sector administration.

Muhammed, who stated this yesterday at the conference of attorney-generals from northern states in Lokoja with the theme “Anti-corruption laws and policies,” listed other challenges to include paucity of funds, lack of capacity for proper investigation by some law enforcement agencies, among others.

Besides, he blamed judicial officers for delay in the administration of justice as well as their lack of proper understanding of the procedures of court, culminating in the manoeuvres by legal practitioners.

“I cannot but agree that these challenges are real and seriously underpinning the administration of criminal justice,” he said.


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