The recent directive issued by the Chief Justice of Nigeria Honorable Justice Walter Onnoghen to Magistrates in the country to conduct a monthly assessment of cells in the Police station under their jurisdiction is a welcome and remarkable development from the judiciary. According to the Memo issued on the 20th of June 2018, the CJN said complaints of horrific incidents of police brutality on Nigerians is one that requires swift and decisive action.
The CJN relying on Administration of Criminal Justice Act directed the magistrates to at least once in a month visit the cell of the police stations and do the following. Call for, and inspect the record of arrest, direct the arraignment of the suspect and where bail has been refused, grant bail to any suspect where appropriate if the offense for which the suspect is held is within the jurisdiction of the magistrate.
As much as this is timely going by the growing reports of illegal detention of Nigerians especially by the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) division of the Nigerian police force, it is also disturbing that a lifesaving decision like this takes a long period of time to be taken considering the fact that the act came into effect in the year 2015. That it took a letter from a group of lawyers for the CJN to direct its implementation shows the Judiciary seems not to be in tune with happenings in the society especially as it relates to illegal detention of Nigerians and endless disappearance of suspects in police cells.
It is important that the Judiciary as the last hope of the common man implements more decisions like this to protect Nigerians and to address the prolong process to Justice in the country.