The Nigerian Bar Association Section on Public Interest and Development Law (NBA-SPIDEL), has asked the police to release or charge Gloria Okolie, an alleged spy for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
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.
The Deputy Force Public Relations Officer, Aremu Adeniran, revealed that the 22-year-old was caught in a joint operation with the military and others.
According to him, 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, the Chairman NBA-SPIDEL, Monday Ubani, raised the alarm of claims that Gloria has been terribly abused and tortured by officers.
Ubani, in a statement on Monday, 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, the dignity of the person, and the right of a 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 offense 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.