Niger State Commissioner of Police, Olusola E. Amore, said the judicial arm of government should be blamed more over prison congestions due to unjustifiably delay in dispensation of justice with adjournments by lawyers and their Ministry of Justice staff collaborators.
Amore argued that it was wrong for Nigerians to blame the police over delays in the dispensation of justice because police is not the lawyers that demands for adjournment of cases, they are not the ones to bring prisoners to the courts and they are not to produce files that often get missing in courts or Judges/Magistrates that resume sittings and closes when they like.
The State Police Commissioner in an interactive session with journalists on the achievements of the command in fighting crime in the first half of the year, 2015, at the police officers’ mess in Minna, the state capital, said the police work with other security partners hence the need for joint effort to end prison congestion.
Mr. Amore said he is worried that Nigerians are always casting aspersions on the police when it comes to prisoners’ delayed cases without considering other variables caused by the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ministry of Justice and the Nigerian Prison Authorities.
Despite the working challenges, Amore said it is unfortunate that, “Nigerians always blame the police over prison congestion without considering other variables in the nations’ security system; is it the police that prosecute suspects or are they the ones that determine the fate of criminals.”
Avoidable court processes and proceedings constitute more to prison congestion. “Before suspects are imprisoned they may have been taken to court; we are all aware that it is not the police that adjourns cases and make it linger to a point that sometimes the police investigating such cases or serving as witnesses are transferred out of jurisdiction and nobody pays him/her transport to continue in the evidence in courts”.
According to the Police Commissioner, “Courts resumes and closes at the working pace of Magistrates or Judges presiding. Sometimes they sit for only three hours and then adjourn for the next one month or more and people blame the police for delays in dispensation of justice”.
Prison congestion are caused when lawyers unnecessarily asks for adjournment of cases they feel they are losing in order to frustrate witnesses and to force victims of their antics to succumb to defeat, Amore said.
Why blame the police, Amore rhetorically asked. “Is it the police or the lawyers that calls for adjournments when they feel they are likely losing a case, it is the police that kept case files that often got missing, is it the responsibility of the police to provide vans to convey prisoners to the courts for trials”.
Until a time when a committee with representatives from the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Nigerian Prison Authorities (NPA), Judicial workers and the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) sits to work out modalities for quick dispensation of justice, Amore said the issue of prison congestion will continue to linger on.