Solicitor General asks magistrates to monitor detention centres

The Solicitor General of the Federation, Mr Dayo Apata (SAN), has charged magistrates across the country to conduct periodic monitoring of police stations and other places of detention in their domains in order to uncover cases of human rights violation in the form of illegal detention.

Apata, who doubles as the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, gave this charge at a two-day sensitisation workshop for the South-East geo-political zone on the implementation of sections 29, 33 and 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 in Owerri, Imo State.

The Deputy Director (Information), Federal Ministry of Justice, Ogundoro Modupe, made this known in a statement.

The charge by Apata came amid calls by Nigerians on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to respect court orders for the release of many detainees being held illegally by the Department of State Services and other security agencies.

The statement quoted Apata as saying, “Section 34 of the Act requires a chief magistrate or a magistrate designated by the Chief Judge of the state to conduct an inspection of police stations or other places of detention within his territorial jurisdiction other than the prison.

“The above provision also requires the chief magistrate to submit the report from the officer in charge of a police station to the criminal Justice Monitoring Committee, which is expected to analyse the reports and advise the Attorney General accordingly.”

The statement added that Apata, who is the chairman of the committee, noted that “it has become imperative for magistrates to conduct the oversight on detention centres as a way of addressing prison congestion and cases of abuse allegedly taking place in detention centres across the country.”
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