In criminal proceedings, by virtue of section 36(5) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), the innocence of an accused or suspect is not affected by his arrest, detention and or prosecution for alleged offence(s) until he is found guilty by a competent court of law and thereby sentenced according to law.
The recent trending video on social media of a lady who was alleged to have stolen a phone as a result of which some persons forcefully inserted pepper into her vagina/female private part and the video uploaded on media as a punishment for her alleged offence, is still fresh in the minds of Nigerians, the situation which has caused the Nigeria Police Force to swing into action and thereafter arrested the accused persons suspected to have been involved in the inhuman treatment of the victim (who has according to media report, been identified as Favour Ada Friday by name). It has been reported by the media today the 12th day of February, 2019, that some four (4) suspects arrested in connection with the inhuman act have been charged to a High Court of Edo State, with 14-count charges.
I was also made to understand from the said media report that the accused persons have been remanded in prison custody pending the directive of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) who is under the instruction and control of the Office of the Attorney-General of Edo State. The fear of the prosecution not losing the case is unavoidable and inevitable considering some of the criminal cases (and from my personal professional experiences as a lawyer and a human rights activist) that prosecution would charge accused persons to court and due to lack of diligent prosecution, the case is lost or the accused discharged or and acquitted. That is why I am of the submission that this Ada’s case is a case against the State, as the offences that the accused persons have been alleged to have committed are against humanity and against the State beyond the victim.
I humbly view that justice would partly be achieved for Ada where the accused persons have been indicted by substantiating evidence, convicted by the court and accordingly sentenced. That is why I make this appeal to the stakeholders involved in the criminal trial of the accused persons, such as: the Nigeria Police Force; the Inspector-General of Police; the Commissioner of Police and the Attorney-General, Edo State, to prosecute Favour Ada Friday’s accused persons’ trial(s) with the required diligent prosecution for a manifest justice, as there would be no excuse from either or all of them for losing the case.
First and foremost, I wish to recommend to the government of Edo State to gather sufficient indicting and unsuccessfully challengeable evidence that would link the accuse persons to the crimes or the offences. Also, the government should ensure that the case file is assigned to a very experienced legal or prosecuting counsel or personnel to handle the case though in a professionally team work. Also, I recommend that other necessary suspects should be fished out and be duly prosecuted according to law. Also, I recommend that the government or any of the persons involved in the trial of the case should not compromise the case as such compromise is grievous to humanity and to God of man. I further recommend that the government should ensure a monitoring team on the case. Non-governmental organisations too are advised to set up a monitoring team lead by a lawyer (s) to always monitor the proceedings of the trial. More so, this occasion has caused Nigeria a great embarrassment, it has disrespected the dignity of female gender, the act has damaged the victim beyond imaginary repair, and she has been put to such an excruciating condition that even no court of law in our democratic civil society has ever sentenced any convict to such inhuman punishment. Also, such act is in violation of the natural justice of humanity as ordained by laws of God Almighty and the laws of man protecting the dignity of humanity or human person. Also, the Investigation Police Officer (IPO) in charge of the case should also be closely monitored to avoid compromising evidence. It is my belief and submission that criminal justice in the case of Ada would have been manifest to have been served in favour of the victim by the State where the perpetrators/accused persons are duly and diligently prosecuted with indicting evidence and the consequential sentence of the court according to law. There must be no escape plan for the accused persons, in the interest of justice for Ada!
Furthermore, the Nigeria Police Force should take notice of the trending illegal act of some persons who carry out jungle justice on their suspects. There is also a growing trend whereby at the slightest suspicion of a female gender, her accusers (including males and females like her) would gather persons to surround and overpower her and to strip her naked to her last underwear. These her under-wears are forcefully stripped off her body by tearing same with the highest degree of force accompanied with incessant beating with whatever object available at sight so that she would have no clothes to cover her privacy and or be ragged in those torn clothes even if she manages to survive the scene. I humbly recommend that the police should not condone this inhuman justice permeating those wicked persons’ skull, the attitude which has always damaged the victim beyond imaginary repair. I thank God Almighty that the victim in this case i.e. Ada could survive, though, undergoing treatment (according to a media report) such a victim could have died out of the excruciating pains meted on her.
Finally, I hope that the persons to whom this appeal is made would consider this appeal in its entirety by ensuring a diligent and well monitored prosecution in the case. However, I would be disappointed if at the end of the trial, the suspects are discharged and or acquitted of the offences due to lack of diligent prosecution on the part of the prosecution. I therefore call on non-governmental organizations on human rights to engage the appropriate authorities in ensuring manifest justice for the victimized Ada. #justiceforAda!