A report recently disclosed that more than 200 teenagers are rotting in prison custodies in Lagos state without trial. Some of them were detained for very minor offences.
When some of the children were being interviewed, they claimed that most of them were arrested because they could not bribe the policemen who arrested them. Some of the children also claimed that they were taken away without their parents’ consent.
There have been various cases of security officials wrongly accusing people and making them go to jail. For instance, one of the teenagers locked up in the Lagos prison said that when he had no money to pay, he was charged with armed robbery.
This is unfair to the society. Only God knows the agony and pain the families of those young detainees may be going through.
The entire blame is not on the police and other law-enforcement agencies. The government as an institution should be blamed. It is its duty to ensure that security personnel observe the law in dealing with young offenders.
Cases that deserve arraignment in court should be filed quickly and expeditiously. But as they say, every suspect is innocent until proven guilty. Cases should be well investigated and offenders should be left to face the penalty if found guilty.
- Atinuke Lawal
Ota, Ogun State