The Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, has advised law enforcement agents to stop desecrating the judiciary by respecting court orders and due process.
Ojukwu made this remark Tuesday in a statement in reaction to alleged refusal by officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) to release on bail the convener of RevolutionNow, Omoyele Sowore, after his lawyers had reportedly met his bail conditions.
“There is need for the three arms of government to work harmoniously with utmost respect for each other as envisaged under the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
“Many cases have been reported to the Commission about investigating police and state security officers deliberately refusing or delaying to verify bail conditions following court orders just to punish suspects unduly for reasons that are not constitutional.
“The constitution guarantees the innocence of every citizen of Nigeria until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction” he said.
The NHRC executive secretary said “a situation where the order of courts are continuously disobeyed by security agents makes such security agents judges onto themselves and such situation does not augur well for our democracy and negates the principle of separation of powers and rule of law.”
“It makes the law uncertain at any point in time and leads to loss of confidence of the people in government and state institutions of which the judiciary is one. Situations like this can also lead to self-help thereby creating more problems for law enforcement agents and threaten the precarious situation of state responsibility to respect, protect and fulfil human rights in the country.”
He, therefore, called for renewed commitment on the part of law enforcement agents to submit to constituted authority and oversight; and release all detainees who have met their bail conditions as ordered by the courts of the land.
“You cannot approbate and reprobate. On the part of the Commission, we shall continue to train and sensitise law enforcement agents on the need to respect the law and the constitution which they have sworn to protect so as to engender a culture of respect for human rights in the country,” he added.