A group of civil society organisations made up of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), BudgIT Civic Hive and Gavel, has condemned the parade of suspects by the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies in the country on Sunday, 9 December 2018 at the 13th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting.
The group issued a statement in reaction to a video that went virile on the social media on the parade of a woman for allegedly impersonating the wife of the president, Aisha Buhari.According to statement, “The Nigerian police, Department of Security Services, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other agencies have cultivated the habit of lining up arrested suspects, at times in their underwear, and parading them through the media”.
Representing the group, Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa of BudgIT Civic Hive read the statement to decry the practice at the awards presentation event. He noted that the parade of suspects is barbaric, unnecessary and a violation of the fundamental human rights.
The group urged editors to take to take the oxygen out of the practice, by not covering the parade of suspects. The statement also emphasised that the actions of the security agencies negates section 36 (5) of the 1999 constitution, which stipulates that “Every person charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until he is proven guilty.”
Lending his voice to the advocacy, human rights lawyer, Femi Falana,said the parade of suspects has already been pronounced illegal at four rulings in different Nigeria courts. He added that it is a practice against mainly the poor and should not be covered by the media.