Tony Ojukwu, the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has called on the Department of State Service (DSS), to respect court order and release detained activists; Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare.
Ojukwu stated this in a press statement issued in Abuja on Saturday, while reacting to the refusal of the agency to release the activists on bail on the order of the court, despite meeting the conditions.
Ojukwu said: ”A situation where the order of courts are continuously disobeyed by security agents makes such security agents judges onto themselves and such situation does not augur well for our democracy based on the separation of powers and rule of law.
”Many cases have been reported to the commission about investigating police officers and state security officers deliberately refusing or delaying to verify bail conditions following court orders just to punish suspects unduly for reasons that are not constitutional.”
He called for a renewed commitment on the part of law enforcement agents to submit to constituted authority, and release all detainees, who have met their bail conditions as ordered by the courts of the land.
According to him, ”A situation like this can also lead to self-help thereby creating more problems for law enforcement agents and threaten the precarious situation of state responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill human rights in the country.
”There is a need for the three arms of government to work harmoniously with the utmost respect for each other as envisaged under the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
He explained that the constitution guaranteed the innocence of every citizen until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.
Ojukwu said the action of DSS trying to be a judge unto themselves portend a great danger, which may lead to anarchy and loss of confidence of the people in the government.
”It makes the law uncertain at any point in time and leads to loss of confidence of the people in government and state institutions of which the judiciary is one ou cannot approbate and reprobate,” Ojukwu also said.
He noted that the NHRC will continue to train and sensitize law enforcement agents on the need to respect the law and the constitution, which they have sworn to protect, so as to engender a culture of respect for human rights in the country.