By Henry Iheanacho
The Lagos state police have begun the arraignment of all suspected looters and thugs arrested in connection with the massive looting and destruction of properties witnessed in the aftermath of the shooting at #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki toll gate by soldiers.
No fewer than 520 persons were arrested by the force on suspicion of arson, murder, stealing and assault, among others.
Lagos Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, told The PUNCH on Wednesday that over 200 of the arrested 520 suspects had been arraigned.
However, It was gathered that the Nigeria prisons declined taking in the suspected hoodlums for challenge of space in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adejobi said, “We have commenced the arraignment of the 520 suspected hoodlums. We have been sharing the suspects to various facilities because it is a state command’s case and the state command has the right to keep the suspects in any of our stations.”
He further said rejecting of suspects by the Nigerian custodial centre was not peculiar to the suspected hoodlums.
“The procedure is that whenever we charge suspects to court, they are always remanded in police facilities because of COVID 19. So, the next thing we do is to get them tested for COVID-19 after which they would be received at the correctional centres,” the Police spokesman.
Spokesman for the Nigeria Correctional Service in Lagos, Rotimi Oladokun, when contacted, said he was not aware that the suspected hoodlums were turned back, but stated that there was a standing rule for suspects to be first be subjected to COVID-19 test before being admitted into correctional facilities.
Oladokun said, “We have an understanding with all critical stakeholders in the administration of criminal justice in Lagos State. Once the court gives an order for remand, the Lagos State Government conducts COVID-19 test on them. Once they get negative result, they bring them to us. Those who test positive, the government takes them to the treatment centre and upon a negative result, they bring them to the custodial centre.
“The issue of rejection does not arise. That is not factual.”