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HomeNewsUproar Over Continued Detention Of Teenagers One Month After Arrest In Anambra

Uproar Over Continued Detention Of Teenagers One Month After Arrest In Anambra

 

The incarceration of Chinedu Ogboo and Chima Ossai, two youths, without charge or trial at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Anambra Police Command, since February 16 has sparked outcry.

 

Both Ogboo and Ossai work for Dexin Nigeria Limited, a plastics company located on Atani Road in the Odoekpe neighborhood of Ogbaru Local Council in Anambra State that produces single-use food packets.

 

On the grounds that they were in charge of the fire that broke out in a certain area of the business, they were detained and turned over to the police. They have spent more than a month in detention since their arrest at the SCID, Okpoko Police Division, and Atani Police Division.

 

Ogboo’s father, Mr. Emmanuel Ogboo, had expressed concern for his son’s health and called their ongoing detention without following the law’s procedures “persecution.”

 

He claimed that because the corporate executives had failed to appear at the Police on all set dates, all attempts to obtain the boys’ bail, including filing a court complaint, had been in vain.

 

According to his allegations, the corporation merely instructed the Police Command in Anambra to hold his son and the other accused individuals in order to guarantee their unjust punishment.

 

In response, attorney Mr. Reginald Uzoechi stated that no defendant should be held by the police for longer than 48 hours without being prosecuted in court. Uzoechi stated that even if they were minors, they were still subject to a fair inquiry and prosecution procedure. If their detention was not approved by a court, he continued, it would be a flagrant violation of their fundamental human rights.

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“The law requires that when you arrest a suspect, you should charge them to court not later than 48 hours, but if upon being arraigned, the court grants that the Police should detain them, you can do that for as long as the court permits.

 

“It is illegal and an abuse of human rights to throw people into detention perpetually, more so, when they are teenagers.

 

“It will amount to exposing them to real criminals, which will leave them mentally bruised,” he said. When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of SCID, Anambra, Mr Akin Fakorede said the case against the suspects was not a mere allegation as they were seen on camera setting the place on fire.

 

 

Without providing a precise date, he stated that the suspects would be charged soon and that the case file was being prepared by the Directorate of Public Prosecution.

 

However, Mr. Felix Chukwuma, the attorney for the juvenile inmates, said that the firm and the police were impeding the suspects’ arraignment and bail. Chukwuma added that the situation had turned into one of the children’s fundamental human rights being violated and that he was going to court to seek justice. He indicated that the case was bailable and that the arson they were accused of was not a serious offense like murder and armed robbery.

 

 

He maintained that the claim remained an allegation and that only a court of law could decide whether or not it was true.

 

He contended that the adolescents should not have been detained by the Police for longer than twenty-four hours on a charge for which they were not found guilty.

 

“Police is not a court of law that should say whether an allegation was true or not, if you have evidence against them, you should charge them to court and you do not need to throw them into the cell for one month to do that.

 

“The Police said it is the complainant that will decide if they should be granted bail or not but that is not correct, they can be granted bail and called up whenever they are needed in court,” he said. When contacted, a representative of the company, Mr Bartholomew Okafor said he would not comment on the matter as it is now with the police.

 

“I cannot speak on the matter, everything is in the hands of the Police who are handling it,” he said.

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