[The Injustice Blog] Are security agencies now putting freedom up for sale?

The recent decision of the Department of State Services (DSS) to detain Chisom Anaele since April 2017 has generated ripples across media platforms.

And we condemned the act of secret police as an infringement of Anaele’s human right, wondering if the authorities have launched a war against free speech in Nigeria.

The decision of the Anaele family to pay an unnamed official of the DSS is condemnable, and nothing but a bribe. But more annoying is the request for a bribe by a law enforcement officer. This request and payment is a criminal offence and has in no way helped to secure Anaele’s release, rather it has complicated the issue.

There is also the case of Ursula Egege, a widow in Rivers state who is currently having a running battle with the Nigeria Police based on the killing of her husband by one Anelle and his gang on November 11, 2016. In the course of the investigation, the family paid a 90,000 Naira mobilisation fee as allegedly requested by the Nigeria Police but the man is yet to get justice till date.

The story of the #Epe6 is also relevant as the parents went ahead to sell their properties to pay millions of Naira as ransom fee to the kidnappers at their own discretion even when the Lagos State government had publicly declared that it would not negotiate with kidnappers and other criminals. The parent paid and later protested the decision of the kidnappers not to release their kids after paying millions.

These three examples show how security agencies are making it difficult for Nigerians to get justice. It has also brought to the fore the desperation of Nigerians in securing the freedom of their relatives from the hands of their captors.

the situation where complainants have to pay security agencies to carry out their duties is unacceptable. The responsibility of a lawyer is to stand in the gap for the complainants and not to be a medium of bribe payment to security agencies when the existing law negates the practice.

Also, the decision of families to pay kidnappers to secure the release of their loved ones should be discouraged as it doesn’t encourage the necessary security agencies to do their jobs rather it serves as a morale booster for the kidnappers.

The security agencies are most time culpable of asking for money from the family of victims, but the onus lies on the family to reject such request.

Freedom is free and not for sale.

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