Recently, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) had cause to express dismay at the continued detention without trial of suspects by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC). This dismay was sequel to the continued detention of some Nigerians, even while courts of According to the National Coordinator of HURIWA, Mr. Emmanuel Onwubiko, such action not only deprives citizens of their fundamental rights; it also portrays the country in bad light as a democracy. We equally share such sentiment and call on the anti-graft agency to charge suspects to court within the legally stipulated period. For example, section 36(5) of the Nigerian 1999 Constitution (as amended), stipulates that an accused person remains innocent in the eye of the law until proven guilty by a competent court of law. Moreover, it provides that where a person is accused of a crime, he/she is to be presented within 48 hours before a court to face charges. We therefore see some contradictions, which are clearly in conflict with chapter four of the constitution, even as the continued detention of suspects without trial breaches their fundamental human rights. Probably, the agency is relying under Sections 293 and 294 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which states that a suspect can be remanded before arraignment in the court. Yet, the same Act gives the court the power to examine the reason for the request of remand. Only recently, the Chief Judge of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Hon. Justice Ishaq Bello gave the directive to all serving magistrates within the FCT to stop issuing remand orders to operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with respect to arrest and detention of citizens accused of committing economic and financial crimes in Nigeria; which are investigated and prosecuted by EFCC under its Act of 2004. It bears repeating that indefinite detention of persons without charge or trial is anathema in any country, which observes the rule of law. Moreover, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 9 stipulates: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.” In addition, Article 9,paragraph 1, in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) states; “Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person, even as no one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.” The same Article 9, paragraph 3 stipulates: “Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer, authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. International human rights law lays down obligations which states are bound to respect. By becoming parties to international treaties, states assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfill human rights. As signatory to UN Human Rights Conventions, Nigeria has made binding international commitments to adhere to the standards laid down in these universal human rights documents. Therefore, as an agency of government the EFCC is bound to abide by all the rules. Share this: