The Intelligence Response Unit (IRT) of the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos Command, has decongested its cell which had over 70 inmates.
IRT Legal Officer, ASP Nosa Uhumwangho, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the decongestion was prompted at the instance of the unit, due to the prolonged strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN).
He said that the decongestion took place on Thursday.
JUSUN on April 6 had directed its members to shut down all courts across the country, demanding the implementation of the law granting financial autonomy to the Judiciary.
The strike has however been suspended, as JUSUN directed that courts to resume sitting on Monday, June 14.
ASP Uhumwangho said that three magistrates took part in the process, which was intended to decongest the cell and make recommendations for detainees, who had overstayed in the cell.
Reacting to leniency on the part of the magistrates, Uhumwangho said the magistrates were only doing their job, as a lacuna had been created by the law which is what they operate on.
“It is true that some cases cannot be concluded in 48 hours, so it is necessary and mandatory to seek order for continuous remand.
“Although courts are on strike now, by next week, we will arraign them, and our cells will be decongested.
“We had to invite the magistrates because of the congestion in the cell. Some of the suspects in the cell also need to do COVID-19 test before being taken to the correctional centre,” he said.
ASP Uhumwangho further commended the effort of the magistrates, saying that investigation officers are being reminded that suspects should not be kept longer than necessary in police custody.
The legal officer also noted that one of the suspects, Collins Okonkwo, would be taken to Owerri where he committed a crime of armed robbery and kidnap, but escaped and was rearrested in Lagos.
Some suspects were recommended to be released with immediate effect, some recommended for administrative bail while some were directed to be arraigned, as soon as courts resume sitting.