Magistrates in Lagos State have been directed to stop granting remand orders to police to detain suspects in their cells.

The Deputy Chief Registrar, Legal, High Court of Lagos State, Joy Uggbomoiko, gave the directive in a circular dated October 18, 2023 and titled: “Re: Rejection of new inmates by correctional service.”

The circular indicated that the magistrates had earlier been given a directive to stop granting remand orders to the police to take suspects to prison, as the prison authorities, formally known as the Nigeria Correctional Service, had started rejecting inmates due to the congestion of their facilities.

Instead, the magistrates were encouraged to only grant remand orders for police to detain suspects in police station cells.

However, in the fresh circular, the DCR directed the magistrates to stop granting remand orders to the police altogether.

The DCR said the magistrates were only permitted to grant remand orders to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In the circular sighted by our correspondent, the DCR said, “I have been further directed to inform Your Honours to stop accepting overnight cases from any police station, formation or command except EFCC cases until directed otherwise.

“This overrides earlier directive that defendants be held in police custody. No magistrate shall order any police to detain a defendant at the station.”

A source told our correspondent that the circular was issued following a memo from the Chief Justice of Nigeria, in response to a complaint by the Nigeria Correctional Service stating that the prison were congested and they had started rejecting new inmates.

 

Credit: The Punch

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