Policeman detained for 10 years regains freedom

Policeman detained for 10 years regains freedom

A civil society organisation, Foundation for Public Interest Law and Development, has secured the release of a police officer detained for 10 years without trial.

The police officer, Enejo Gabriel, who was arrested on November 2, 2013, and incarcerated for allegedly killing one Azeez Omotosho, at Ajisegiri Street, Shogunle in Oshodi area of Lagos while responding to a distress call from the control room on a free-for-all was discharged by Justice Ibironke Harrison of the Lagos State High Court on November 9, 2023.

He was arrested and detained by the police for 237 days from November 2, 2013, to  June 26, 2014, before he was brought before Mrs. E. B. Daudu of the Magistrates’ Court of Lagos State in the Ebute Metta Magisterial District at Court 6 for a remand proceeding.

Upon his remand, “Gabriel was not brought to court for proper arraignment despite bail applications denied by the High Court of Lagos State until we applied for the enforcement of his fundamental rights on December 31, 2021, before the Federal High Court Lagos Judicial Division,”  the founder of  FPIL&D, Yusuf Nurudeen said.

Sequel to the application for the enforcement of Gabriel’s fundamental rights, the Director of Public Prosecution filed information against him on  August 22, 2022, and he was arraigned before Justice Harrison on June 8, 2023.

Considering the longevity of the case, the court ordered an accelerated hearing and gave four adjournments for the persecution to prove its case.

“However, the prosecution could not provide witnesses before the Court for his trial.

“Arguing for him to be discharged, I made a passionate appeal to the court to strike out the matter for want of diligent prosecution. I submitted that the state cannot dump the defendant on the court. And that it is indeed against the spirit of our criminal justice system which should never be allowed or encouraged. The court, in its well-considered ruling, agreed with us and discharged him,”  Nurudeen added.

He noted that earlier in the year, FPIL&D also known as The Pro Bono Centre which was founded in 2019 secured the release of one Muideen Bilau after nine years of remand at the Kirikiri Medium Correctional Centre.

He said the foundation provides legal assistance to the indigent and vulnerable by connecting them to volunteer lawyers willing to render pro-bono legal services.

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