The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), on Monday, asked the police to release or charge Gloria Okolie, an alleged spy for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The NBA declared that the police and other security units have become a big embarrassment to Nigeria, “especially when we claim to be the giant of Africa”.
Gloria has been in custody for more than two months. The news of her situation sparked outrage which forced the police to issue a statement.
Aremu Adeniran, Deputy Force Public Relations Officer revealed that the 22-year-old was caught in a joint operation with the military and others.
The spokesman said Gloria took part in the attacks on security formations, government infrastructure, and killing of security operatives in the South-East.
“Gloria Okolie is a member of IPOB/ESN in Imo State who worked closely with one Benjamin Uzoma Emojiri a.k.a “Onye Army”, one of the ESN commanders earlier declared wanted,” he said.
The native of Umutanza, according to the Force, received cash, drugs and weapons on behalf of IPOB/ESN and delivered the same to their commanders in their camps.
Reacting, Monday Ubani, Chairman NBA-SPIDEL raised the alarm of claims that Gloria has been terribly abused and tortured by officers.
Ubani, in a statement, said while the allegations are yet to be verified as no lawyer or relation had met her, there are many things wrong with the detention the NBA considers “wickedly and appalling”.
The lawyers’ body expressed shock that the police released an explanation after about 70 days, conceding to the arrest and long detention on the ground that Gloria provided information, drugs and weapons to IPOB members.
Ubani said the police statement did not justify Gloria’s illegal incarceration, but further exposed the “incompetence and illegality with which the security agencies carry out investigations in Nigeria”.
The NBA said even if Gloria’s crimes were true, the police and other agencies have no right to detain a citizen for more than two months, depriving constitutionally guaranteed rights of freedom of movement, dignity of person and right of fair trial.
Ubani stressed that the suspect’s guaranteed rights of presumption of innocence until proven guilty has been destroyed permanently by the lengthy detention without any charge or arraignment.
The NBA recalled numerous advice to security agencies to discard the primitive and unscientific mode of investigation to avoid unnecessary embarrassment they bring to themselves and Nigeria.
“It is absolutely wrong to arrest an individual and start sourcing evidence for prosecution. It is not only archaic but patently criminal for police officers to indulge in this manner of primitive investigation of crime in this modern time.
“We are therefore giving the police authorities 14 days from today to charge Gloria Okolie to court if she has committed any known offence or release her unconditionally.
“We shall commence the enforcement of her fundamental rights which have been criminally violated if this request is not adhered to as usual by the police authorities. They are deemed adequately advised”, Ubani added.