A group, COMMPART Foundation for Justice and Peace Building has demanded the unconditional release of Mrs Naomi Ebong of Oruk Anam local government area of Akwa Ibom state and her son, Kufre Ebong, detained at Police headquarters Ikot Akpan Abia over unknown cause of death of one Aniekan Udoh.
The Executive Director of the Organisation, Mr Saviour Akpan, made the demand in a letter written to the Akwa Ibom state commissioner of police, dated February 26, 2021 and copied to the State Attorney General, Assistant Inspector General of Police zone 6, Calabar, National Human Rights Commission, Legal Aid Council; Complaint Response Unit, Force Headquarters Abuja and Human Rights Units of Nigerian Bar Association.
Akpan in the letter made available to newsmen on Tuesday in Uyo, described the prolonged detention of the duo since February 10, 2021 as disrespect to legal provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended and the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
He stressed that the administration of the Criminal Justice Act was propounded to ensure that the system among other things promotes speedy dispensation of justice, protection of the Society from crime, and the rights, interest of the suspect as well as the defendant and victim.
Akpan stated, “We write most respectfully to bring to your attention, and immediate action over the prolonged incarceration of Mrs. Naomi Ebong and Kufre Ebong of Obio Akpa clan in Oruk Anam local government area which is in total disregard for the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“We hereby demand unconditional release of Mrs. Naomi Ebong and her son, Kufre Ebong to a reliable surety pending investigation and in this case we recommend the family head of Ekpuk where she is married to in Obio Akpa in the person of Chief Isreal Asuquo.
“We also demand a stop within Akwa Ibom state police command the practice of detaining suspects at the pleasure of complainant as it seems the practice is gradually gaining grounds and if not checked will be detrimental to citizen’s access to justice. “It is a truism that the police can detain suspects pending conclusion of investigation.
But in this case scenario since the arrest was not done on the same date the incident took place , it is a believe of every reasonableness that investigation must have been carried out before the arrest and as such arraignment of the suspects wouldn’t have delayed longer than 48hours as stipulated by Law.”
Akpan said section 63(1) of the police Act provided that where a suspect was taken into custody and it appears to the police officer that the inquiry into the case could not be completed immediately, he may discharge the suspect on his entering into a recognizance with or without sureties for a reasonable amount, to appear at the police station at a time named in the recognizance.
He said part of the focus of his organisation was to serve as a centrepiece in defending citizen’s rights in order to build confidence in the justice and security sectors.
“We are not in support of the sudden death of the deceased, but we believe the police have so many ways to unravel such mystery and have the perpetrator (s) brought to book including the evoking of the Corona Inquest which is properly provided for in our extant Laws,” Akpan further said.