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  • Samson Omale

Plateau Attacks: NBA Faults Governor Lalong's Position on Granting Of Bail To Suspects

The Nigerian Bar Association, Jos Branch has faulted the Governor of Plateau state, Rt. Hon Simon Lalong's comment on the granting of bail to suspects arrested while carrying out attacks on persons and communities in the state.

Governor Lalong at an emergency peace and security stakeholders meeting held in Jos on Tuesday warned against any rush to bail suspects of the Aug. 14 killings along Rukuba road in Jos, and other attacks in the state

Specifically the Governor was quoted as saying

“The rush to bail suspects of unrest when arrested for investigation frustrates efforts to find lasting solution to insecurity in Plateau. Henceforth, people rushing to bail suspects will also be arrested . If you find them, please arrest them; if people rush to bail them, arrest them.”

The Bar believes that the Governors comments might have been quoted grossly out of context on the matter.

In a statement Signed by Yakubu S. Bawa, Esq.,Chairman, NBA Jos Branch and made available to the "Jos Bar believes that His Excellency, particularly as a lawyer and an ex-parliamentarian, could not have issued such an instruction, which undermines and encourages the contravention of the principles and tenets of the rule

of law and the Nigerian Constitution".

Barr. Bawa explained that Bail is a Constitutional matter, which must be strictly adhered to at

any giving time noting that a suspect is presumed innocent till he is proved guilty.

He quoted Section 36 (5) CFRN 1999 (as amended), which states that "No one shall be treated as guilty of the offence alleged at any time before conviction. Hence, the right to Personal Liberty of suspects under the Constitution stipulates that such a suspect “shall be brought before Court of law within a reasonable time”.

The statement by the legal assciation also drew attention to Section 35 (4) and (5) of the constitution which mandates security operatives to carry out their investigation with dispatch and within a reasonable time.

The statement issued by the NBA also pointed out that, the security operatives/investigating

authorities having custody of suspects must not take pleasure in breaching the fundamental rights of the suspects by prolonged detention. Such suspects the lawyers insist must be arraigned in court within a reasonable time to forestall breach of their fundamental right to

Personal Liberty.

Relying on the provisions of the constitution on this matter, the NBA says nobody, particularly

suspects’ relatives, can be rightly arrested or threatened with an arrest simply for seeking a suspect’s release on bail; particularly in the guise of suspicion that they are sponsors of the offenses alleged.

While encouraging members of the public never to be intimidated or harassed in that respect, as such approach will be wrongful, illegal, unconstitutional and condemn-able in any decent society the association says, such a posture like the one suggested by the governor is inimical and a direct affront to the freedom of practice of (her) members of the Legal Profession who shall thereby be exposed and made susceptible to being harassed by the security operatives in the course of doing their legitimate and constitutional job.

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