According to a report by The PUNCH, the civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, on Sunday, expressed dissatisfaction over the discriminatory parade of suspects by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
HURIWA, in a statement by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, drummed solidarity with the war on drug barons by the NDLEA. It, however, urged the hierarchy of NDLEA to review the continued illegal parading of drug suspects yet to be convicted by any court of law, while the Agency leaves certain ‘sacred cows’ unparaded.
The group recalled that the anti-narcotics agency over the weekend raided the Lagos Island area and paraded seven drug suspects, claiming it recovered 5,862kg illicit drugs including ‘Loud and Codeine’.
Also, according to reports, no fewer than five persons were killed and several others injured when NDLEA officers opened fire in the Partey area of Lagos Island.
Days earlier, the NDLEA officials also arrested and paraded singers Zinoleesky and Mohbad after a midnight raid on their residence in Lagos. This was weeks after the Agency arrested fast-rising skit maker, De General, after a raid on his residence in Lagos.
But HURIWA said the NDLEA has refused to parade narcotics suspect, Abba Kyari, with the 25kg cocaine, $61,400 and other exhibits recovered from the Deputy Commissioner of Police.
According to HURIWA, the NDLEA is guilty of double standards until the security agents embarrass Kyari by parading him before the media as they do to other suspects or the agency apologise to all the suspects already paraded and then stop the unconstitutional practice which offends Section 36(5) of the Constitution.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko said, “HURIWA has noted with significant regret the needless deaths that characterised the weekend raids of the NDLEA officials in the Partey area of Lagos which resulted in the senseless loss of lives. HURIWA further thinks that it amounts to double standards by the NDLEA officials who have refused to parade Abba Kyari two weeks after his indictment in drug trafficking-related offences but who then quickly paraded the alleged drug dealers in Lagos minutes after their arrest.
“The NDLEA has constantly paraded suspected drug peddlers. The parading of suspects is in itself against the principle of law because of the presumption of innocence. However, HURIWA again calls on security agencies to stop parading suspects particularly when they are yet to be convicted. It is disappointing that despite several made by us pleas to the Brig-Gen Buba Marwa (retd) led NDLEA, the Agency just like all other law enforcement agencies continues to do the illegal practice of parading suspects who are yet to be determined as convicted by the competent courts of law which has the judicial powers of the Federation as enshrined in Section 6 of the Constitution.
“However, the NDLEA said it arrested and detained the serving Deputy Commissioner of police Abba Kyari over drugs related offences but Nigerians till date aren’t too sure if he was actually arrested, handcuffed or detained as we have been told because NDLEA has refused to parade Abba Kyari apparently because he is a sacred cow.
“The NDLEA must be transparent and allow the principles of fairness and equity to govern its operations.”