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The Police and their love for parading suspects

07 January 2013, 13:38

Sometimes I wonder if the Police deliberately go about ruining their chances of effectively prosecuting a criminal case in a proper court of law through their penchant for parading suspects before the media and the general public.

I ask this question because I find it difficult to understand why a ‘modern’ Police department would in the 21st century continue to utilize a method associated with 19th century policing.

Hardly a week goes by without us seeing on the TV screen a parade of suspects by the various Police commands across the country.

And it’s not just the suspects that are paraded, but also the purported weapons used by these suspects in perpetrating their alleged act.

It is now commonplace to see suspected robbers, kidnappers, arsonists, fraudsters and even pickpockets and murderers handcuffed, or in manacles, and being paraded before the general public alongside a cache of firearms ranging from locally made pistols to Russian made assault rifles such as the very popular AK-47.

Some of them are even made to go through the ordeal of answering questions put across to them from journalists; questions that should ordinarily be reserved for the courtrooms.

As a result, most of these alleged criminals end up being pronounced guilty in the ‘people’s court’ long before their case gets to the actual court of law as is the situation with the alleged murderers of two Kano state lawmakers recently paraded by officers of the Kano Police Command.

The Police said a certain Ibrahim Lawal, along with six others currently at large, was the killer hired by 54-year-old businessman Alhaji Sale Kura to murder on separate occasions the duo of Kano State House of Assembly members Ibrahim Abba Garko of Garko constituency and Danladi Isa Kademi of Gaya constituency separately in November and December 2012.

Speaking, while parading the suspects, the State’s Commissioner of Police Ibrahim Idris said the duo were arrested following a tip off received by the police on December 24, adding that the alleged killer, Lawal confessed that he, along with the rest of his collaborators, was hired for the job for N100,000 but had been paid N30,000 in advance by the alleged sponsor Alhaji Kura.

The Police Commissioner was quoted as saying that: “During interrogation, he (Lawal) confessed to have physically participated in the attack and shot the late legislators. He further confessed to have joined the gang of hired killers in January 2012, with their gang leader and armourer one Abdullahi alias Mabo of Filin Cashew in Unguwa Uku quarters Kano State.”

The Commissioner went on to state that Alhaji Kura was with the late Honourable Garko moments before he was shot dead and that the name and GSM contact of Alhaji Kura were found on Lawal’s phone, adding that the Police “discovered different call logs between the duo” before arriving at the conclusion that “this clearly corroborates a grand criminal conspiracy between them.”

But I refer to the duo of Lawal and Alhaji Kura as alleged criminals because, while fielding questions from journalists, as if they were already in a courtroom filled with lawyers, they both denied the offence with Lawal stating that he confessed to the alleged crimes because of the torture he was subjected to in the hands of the Police, while Alhaji Sale said he never had any contact with Lawal, irrespective of the fact that they both reside in the same neighbourhood.

From my personal experience (I was once labelled an armed robber for being at the wrong place, and at the wrong time), as well as those of others I have been opportune to come across, so many of these supposed suspects are far from being the perpetrators of the acts they allegedly carried out.

Not that I am indicting the Police, but truth be told, the Police are far from being the saints they sometimes try to portray themselves as, and only end up bungling cases they could easily have prosecuted to a justifiable conclusion if only they had been patient and intelligent enough to carry out proper investigations.

And looking at the situation in Kano, like so many other similar cases across the country, all the likes of Lawal and Alhaji Kura need to secure their respective freedom is to employ the services of a very good lawyer and not depend on public defendants provided by Government.

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