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The Commissioner of Police in Ogun state, CP Kenneth Embrimson has argued that there was nothing wrong in parading suspects before the media.
PLATFORM TIMES reports that Embrimson expressed his argument while speaking on SPLASH FM’s “No Bars” programme.
He argued that the parade of suspects was intended to send a warning signal to criminals to desist from committing crimes.
“The parade of suspects is to send a strong warning signal; when we parade ,we do not just parade without any evidence. When we parade, you will see the exhibits; you will see the offensive weapon; you will see the stolen items and the suspects paraded .
“So that parade is a kind if sending a warning signal to other suspects who will not allow the good citizens of this state to sleep . I don’t see anything wrong in parading the suspects,” he said.
However, findings by PLATFORM TIMES show that the practice of parading of suspects before they are tried in a court of law is unconstitutional.
While there is no provision in the constitution nor in the criminal Act that prohibits the practice, there is a precedent by a Federal High Court in 2011, where the act was declared unlawful.
The precedent was the case of Ottoh Obono v. Inspector General of Police on July 18, 2011, at the Federal High Court in Calabar.
Justice Aneke sitting on Suit No. FHC/CA/CS/91/2009 delivered a judgment in 2011 where he declared the parade of suspects before the media illegal and unconstitutional.
The judge condemned the Lagos State Police Command for parading one Ottoh Obono before the media on the premise that such parade violated Obono’s right to presumption of innocence as enshrined in section 36 (5) of the constitution
Justice Aneke held thus: “The parading of the applicant (Ottoh Obono) on the 7th of October, 2009 by 2nd respondent (commissioner of police, Lagos state) before a horde of journalists from both the print and electronic media prior to the applicant’s arraignment before a court of competent jurisdiction as a member of a gang of armed robbers who specializes in car snatching and the subsequent publishing of the applicant’s photographs in the Punch Newspaper of Thursday, the 8th of October, 2009. The airing of same news item on the 9’o’clock Network News Programme of the NTA on the same date, only for the said applicant to be exonerated of having committed any crime by the Legal Adviser of the Learned Director of Public Prosecutions of Lagos State after having spent a period of over 10 months in Kirikiri Maximum Prisons, Lagos State on remand, makes nonsense of the Applicant’s right to presumption of innocence as enshrined in section 36 (5) of the constitution off the Federal republic of Nigeria, 1999 and leaves much to be desired in the administration of justice system in the country.
“The respondents’ conducts against the applicant are totally reprehensible and condemnable and I hereby condemn same without equivocation.”