The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, has directed that Chief Magistrates should periodically inspect police stations and other detention centres in their domains, to curb growing level of citizens’ maltreatment by police and other security agencies.
This followed what he described as the “frightening proportions” of “horrific incidents of police brutality, inordinate arrest, detention and extortion of innocent Nigerians by officers across the country,” in recent time.
The Special Assistant to the CJN on Media, Mr. Awassam Bassey, stated this in a statement on Thursday.
Justice Onnoghen’s directive is said to be in a ‘Practice Direction on the Role of Magistrates in Curbing Police Brutality’ issued on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in line with the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
The directive is to be conveyed to the Chief Magistrates through their respective Chief Judges in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
An excerpt of the practice direction quoted in Bassey’s statement on Thursday, read, “The Chief Judge of every state of the nation, including the Federal Capital Territory, shall direct Chief Magistrates, and, where there is no Chief Magistrate within the Police Division, designate any Magistrate for that purpose, to, at least, every month, conduct an inspection of police stations or other places of detention within his territorial jurisdiction other than prison.
“The Chief Judge of every state of the nation, including the Federal Capital Territory, shall put in place appropriate mechanisms to ensure compliance with the above provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.”