The human rights status in Nigeria is characterized by severe violation of human rights such as police brutality, infringement of privacy, extrajudicial killings, inhumane treatment of suspects, restriction of freedom and others.
In the same vein, most citizens are poorly educated on their rights. It was as a result of this status that the Kano Civil Society Forum (KCSF) on Tuesday organised a one-day sensitisation and awareness building workshop for civil society organisations drawn from Kano central senatorial district, on the new Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law (ACJL).
The event was supported by the Rule of Law and Anti – Corruption Programme, (RoLAC) being implemented by the British Council with the support of the European Union. The workshop was aimed at educating CSOs who will in turn sensitise the public on the provisions of the ACJL which addresses issues around criminal justice such as bail and arrest, amongst others.
While speaking at the event, Dr Nuhu Musa, a lecturer of private and commercial law at the Bayero University Kano, said: “the previous laws in the state were formed on the basis of settling disputes and didn’t give consideration to the offender. This new law seeks to introduce new innovations so as to change some old practices in state’s law system”.
He also noted that the new ACJL, which has 48 parts and 475 sections, was not made for lawyers and the police alone; rather for all citizens of Kano state, adding that the law was designed in line with international best practices so as to fit into the global standard of human rights on arrest, detention and treatment of suspects, amongst other issues.
While peaking on arrest, Barrister Maryam Ahmad, a human rights lawyer, said if there’s no legal ground or reason for arrest, the police had no right to arrest a citizen, emphasizing that a suspect must have legal representation and also have a family member of theirs informed about their arrest.
“The law does not accept the arrest of a person mutual to a suspected criminal as a way to force the suspect out from hiding, the law firmly prohibits such act,” she said. “The new Kano State Administration of Criminal Justice Law clearly prohibits the inhumane treatment of a person in custody of the police. Therefore under the ACJL, suspects in detention of the police have to be treated like a human being, should not have to be unlawfully brutalised, and also have the right to medicals.”
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