A High Court in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, presided over by Justice Adebayo Yusuf on Friday summoned the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to appear before it next Wednesday to explain the reason behind the continued detention of a personal assistant to the state governor, Mr. Lekan Alabi.
Alabi has been in detention since May 28, 2018 over the armed robbery attacks that took place in Offa on April 5, 2018, but he has yet to be arraigned before any court of law.
Although the IGP was not represented during Friday’s proceedings, Alabi’s counsel, Mr. Adelodun Ibrahim (SAN), who led a team of four other lawyers, informed the court that they had served all the processes relating to the case to the IGP.
Adelodun told the court that the non-arraignment of Alabi contravened the provisions of Order 4, Rules 3 and 4 of the Fundamental Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules (2009), as well as Sections 34, 35, 36, 37, 41 and 46 of the Constitution.
While moving the application, he said the detention of the applicant for about 60 days without trial was a prima facie case of a breach of his rights to liberty as enshrined in Section 35(7) of the Constitution.
According to him, Section 122 of the Evidence Act empowers the court to take judicial notice of the time involved in the exchange of written addresses and affidavit by the parties.
He said, “We are not asking the court to declare our client guilty or innocent at this stage, but the police have no right to keep a suspect forever.
“The decision of the Appeal Court in the case of EFCC vs Akingbola, (2015 NWLR p1470, pgh249, pp290) buttresses my submission.”
In his ruling, Justice Yusuf said there was nothing in the Constitution that allowed the detention of a suspect without trial for a period beyond 24 hours where there is a court or 48 hours in an environment where there is no court.
Following the application by Adelodun for an interim bail for the suspect pending the determination of the substantive application, the judge aligned with the position of the SAN but decided to give the police another opportunity to defend its position.
Yusuf said, “The position of the law is as stated by the learned silk. However, I’m inclined to hear from the respondent to come to court and show cause why the applicant should not be released from their custody since they have been served the motion on notice. It is clear that the police cannot change the Constitution.”