Man arrested in place of a suspect released after 11 years | Dailytrust

Man arrested in place of a suspect released after 11 years

A man who was jailed in place of his wanted neighbour has regained his freedom after 11 years at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Kirikiri, Lagos.

Maxwell Dele was arrested in October 2011 at Ikorodu Market in Lagos when a police team came hunting for his neighbour, James Idem, over a case of alleged armed robbery.

 According to a statement by the Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASSF), also known as Lawyers Without Borders France, whose legal team facilitated the release, when Dele failed to provide answers about Idem’s whereabouts, he was held for the robbery. 

 “Mr. Maxwell was handed over to the Sagamu Road Police Station, from where he was transferred to SARS Ikeja, Lagos where he was hanged and tortured.

“Maxwell Dele was also forced to sign an already written statement on the 6th of October 2011, the same day he was charged for armed robbery at the Magistrate Court 17, Ikeja, Lagos,” said ASFF’s country director, Angela Uwandu Uzoma-Iwuchukwu. 

 “Maxwell Dele remained in the Medium Security Custodial Centre, Kirikiri, Lagos, and never appeared in court again for the next 11 years.”

 The NGO said Dele’s fate is one of the major causes of congestion in Nigeria’s custodial centres with over 70 per cent pretrial inmates and 37 per cent more than the built capacity for the inmates. 

 “Many detainees are held for much longer, as in this case of Maxwell Dele, who had been arbitrarily detained for over 11 years, reflecting both an overburdened justice system and structural problems between Nigeria’s state and federal justice systems,” she said.

Section 7 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015 prohibits arrest in lieu of suspect.


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