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Lawyers condemn parading of suspects, say it is unconstitutional


(File PHOTO) Suspects paraded by the Police

(File PHOTO) Suspects paraded by the Police

Nigerians lawyers have condemned the parading of arrested suspects by security agencies, saying it is unconstitutional and damaging to the accused person.

They said that often those paraded were innocent and in the event of their being pronounced not guilty by courts of competent jurisdiction, the police, especially never re-parade them.

A lawyer, Olawale Apanisile, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that it was a violation of Section 34 (1) and 36 (1) of the country’s 1999 constitution, which states that every individual is entitled to respect for the dignity of his person and (1) (a) no person shall be subject to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment.

He noted that during arrest, investigation and arraignment, the accused should be treated with respect, as they were presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Apanisile, however, agreed that the only time the law allowed for an accused to be paraded was during identification parade.
According to him, in identification parade, an accused will be placed with people who have similar physical appearance with him and paraded before witnesses to know if they will recognise the suspect.

Chris Okani, another lawyer, urged the police to stop the parade of suspected armed robbers and other alleged criminals before the public prior to arraignment, a practice that he condemned as an aberration.

He maintained that a suspect was presumed innocent until proven otherwise by a court of law after a full trial.

For Mr. Alozie Nwoke, the police are usually under pressure to clean up their image before the public and the Federal Government and this has given rise to the practice.

“Due to pressure, suspects are often paraded so as to show that the police are working. The police then get some kind of approval that they are doing well but most times they parade innocent persons,” he added.

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