Delta state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Peter Mrakpo has urged victims of Police illegal arrest, detention, brutality and other forms of violation of fundamental rights to seek legal redress for the enforcement of their fundamental rights.
The state attorney-general was reacting to several allegations raised against the Nigerian Police by the chairman of the state Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Prince Kehinde Taiga when he paid a courtesy visit to him in Asaba.
Taiga urged law enforcement agents to show more respect for the rights of the people. He accused some law enforcement agencies, particularly the Nigerian Police of illegal arrest and detention, brutality and complexity in the remand of suspects in prison custody.
The human right activist also condemned the slow pace of criminal trials and incessant adjournments of cases.
The CDHR chairman did not also spare the Ministry of Justice as he accused some of its officials of acting as ‘consultants’ to defendants
or their cronies to fast- track legal opinion.
He pleaded with the Delta AG to accelerate the process of rendering of legal opinion when duplicate files of defendants are forwarded to the ministry from the magistrates courts.
While appealing to the state attorney-general and commissioner for justice to address the issue of prison congestion and poor detention
facilities, Prince Kehinde also pleaded with the Mr Mrakpo to prevail on the Chief Judge of the state to set up a panel of magistrates to be visiting detention facilities in order to checkmate the excesses of law enforcement agents.
The AG while debunking the allegations that legal opinion are stalled at the ministry stated that the administration of the Criminal Justice Law which has been domesticated by the state has drastically reduced the time for rendering of legal advice by the DPP to 30 days. He added that the ministry has been complying with the provision of the law.
He told the CDHR team that visitation by magistrates to Police cells is a statutory provision which does not require the consent of the Chief Judge before embarking on such an exercise.
While disclosing that the ministry receives an average of 60 case files weekly for rendering of legal advice, Mrakpor added that the administration of Criminal Justice law is meant to fast- track justice delivery and an efficient justice system in the state.
He decried the poor funding of the Nigerian Police and the Prison Services by the federal government and advocated for the establishment of state police since the tier of government constitutionally empowered to control and fund the police is not doing so.