Osinbajo, AGF caution Police against extracting statements from suspects under duress

Yemi-OsinbajoThe Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, has urged the leadership of the Nigeria Police Force to improve on the strategy of obtaining confessional statements from suspects, saying the current trend of coercing suspects impedes speedy dispensation of justice.

Vice President Osinbajo gave the charge yesterday in Abuja at the Inaugural Annual Inspector General of Police’s Strategic Police Management Conference, that the issue of “custodial violence”, occasion by numerous allegations of “confessional statements being made involuntarily or while under duress”, which most times are challenge by the defendant, thereby delaying trial, should be looked into.

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, in agreement said it is constitutionally provided that the Police should provide security for the citizens and ensure the entrenchment of the principle of social justice. Represented by Yomi Dipeolu, the Special Adviser on Economic Matters, Osinbajo said: “I have found that most defendants challenge the voluntariness of their confessional statements, leading to protracted trials within trial and occasioning significant delay in the administration of criminal justice. In a large number of cases, judges often ascribe little or no weight to confessional statements where corroboration is lacking.
“Counter-intuitive as it may sound, it is my view that the current way in which the Police take confessional statements is the reason for one of the main causes of delay at trial-the phenomenon of trials within trial”.

He said in some cases, the confessional statements does more harm than good to the prosecution, as some complacent officers may ignore some clues and obvious leads during investigation, failing to acquire important evidence.



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