|On August 22, 2021, Sahara Reporters broke the news of 21-year old, Gloria Okolie, who has been in police detention since June 17, 2021, for her alleged relationship with members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB)/Eastern Security Network (ESN).|
Later, the police released a statement of her arrest through the Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Force Headquarters, CSP Aremu Adeniran, due to the pressure and outcry from civil rights societies and social media. They alleged Gloria Okolie is a spy to the ESN militants, and investigations are being concluded to enable the police to arraign her in court for prosecution.
Whether Gloria is a spy to the IPOB/ESN or not, does not supersede her fundamental rights guaranty as enshrined in the 1999 constitution. Several civil society groups had filed a suit against the federal government. As a result, on August 27, a federal high court ordered the police and the federal government to either charge Okolie immediately or release her on bond with stringent conditions attached until when the government is ready to bring forth charges.
In addition to a petition for Vice-President Osibanjo on Sep. 19 to intervene in the matter, he was reported to have forwarded the petition to the Inspector-General (IG) of Police for urgent investigation and necessary action. However, the IG has continued to defy calls for Okolie’s release to date.
Though Okolie’s case had garnered media attention, unfortunately, the issue of Nigerian citizens in police detentions without charge or arraignment in a court of law is a normal occurrence. Currently, 74% of inmates in Nigerian are awaiting trials and languishing in prisons across the country. Very often, family members are unaware of their whereabouts and even assume of their demise.
The perpetual detention without charge of Okolie is unacceptable and should be strongly condemned by all Nigerians, civil societies, and leaders at large. Okolie should either be arraigned before a court with competent jurisdiction or be set free immediately.
|HRF facilitated the release of Solomon Osas from Ikoyi Prison, Lagos, Nigeria after a plea bargain with the Lagos State government on October 4, 2021. The indigent client was incarcerated for 7 years. L – R: HRF Legal Associate and Admin Officer, Toyin Sanusi, Indigent Client, Solomon Osas, HRF-Head Welfare Volunteer Services, Kenny Clement at the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere, Lagos..|
|HRF-Head Welfare Volunteer Services, Kenny Clement at the village of Kuomi Kingdom Ashippa, Seme, Badagry, Lagos, Nigeria, during a child rights awareness advocacy program on October 9, 2021.|