Criminal Justice System: Journalist Uncovers Police Station Where Innocent Civilians Are Jailed, Bail Is For Sale, Alleged Criminals Are Recycled
Award-winning Investigative journalist, Fisayo Soyombo spent two weeks in detention – five in a Police Cell, and eight days in the Ikoyi Prison, for an offence he never committed.
To expose the ills and failings of the Nigerian criminal justice system, he used a pseudonym, ”Olajumoke Ojo” to get to the root of the situation, and what he found was not palatable.
Nigerians are being held mostly for no reasons, and to keep spaces available for the alleged culprits, who the Police quickly dub ‘criminals’, there is a massive recycling of inmates.
In Soyombo’s report, he exposes the corrupt criminal justice system of the Nigeria Police Force – bribery and the sale of bail, alongside the horrible and unhealthy situation of most Nigerian cells.
The report, which saw media house, TheCable and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) working together gives details of the existent problems within the system.
Soyombo in the report explicitly explains his mechanism of investigation, sacrifice, and understanding, in its raw state of the current condition of things.
With as many as six Nigerians dying from extrajudicial killings in the last six months, his bravery and industry are deserving of praise.
”My supposed offence was that someone had sold me a car worth N2.8million in November 2018; however, after paying N300,000 cash, I began to avoid him — until I was eventually apprehended on Monday July 8. Once I was arrested and whisked into an innocuously passing danfo, I imagined I would be immediately taken to the cell of Pedro Police Station, Shomolu, Lagos. But it wasn’t that straightforward. I was first shoved behind the counter; and after half-an-hour, the Crime Officer (CO), Inspector Badmus, fetched me into a back office where I was grilled for close to two hours, culminating in a written statement from me that represented his thoughts more than mine. He asked me questions but only allowed me to write the answers that suited him; if the answers didn’t, he cut me short halfway. Afterwards, I was led to the expansive office of the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), a tall, dark, rotund, middle-aged man who pronounced me guilty in a matter of minutes. “This is one of the many criminals destroying this city,” he yelled after a long, menacing glance all over me. “Please hold him well!” he wrote.