Nigeria is like a theatre of comedy where sentiments are allowed to becloud people’s sense of reasoning and the position of the law and even the law enforcement agents are equally not alive to their responsibilities as arbiter of fairness and justice, this is really sad and reprehensible.
It is no news however that in our Nigerian law, the punishment for rape is stipulated in Section 358 of the criminal code which is life imprisonment, while an attempt to commit rape attracts a punishment of 14 years imprisonment. These penalties are in itself good enough to serve as deterrent to offenders or likely offenders when found guilty at the court of competent jurisdiction.
But truth be told, rape is a bailable offence and those fanning the embers of sentiments, prejudice or bias should be cognizant of this clear fact. Though it is a bailable offence, the police has failed to follow the constitution and can not hide safely under the covers of no court sitting to refuse administrative bail to the suspect.
The police appears to be acting a script. Bail is a constitutional right, the liberty of a citizen.
Baba Ijesa is alleged to have committed a criminal offense. He remains a suspect until he has been proven guilty of the offence. He is therefore entitled to bail within reasonable time.
Reasonable time by constitutional definition is 48 hours.
The arguments from the court of public opinion that the option of offenders having bail conditions will not assist the efficient and effective deterrence of this inhuman act (rape) should be left to the law court to decide and not keeping the suspect in custody in perpetuity without trial.
In Baba Ijesha’s case it is unfortunate to see that it is his colleagues who are likely to have set him up, using a minor as a bait to achieve their sinister plans. Unfortunately, Mr. Olanrewaju Omiyinka (Baba Ijesha) fell for it. The same colleagues are the ones calling for his endless incarceration without trial which is utterly strange or alien to our constitution.
While it is the right of those who are becoming sensational and sentimental about this matter, the Police also shouldn’t allow itself lose focus from its sacred constitutional responsibilities by granting Baba Ijesha bail or charge him to Court for prosecution according to law.
Looking at this sensitive matter critically, it is evident that Baba Ijesha’s fundamental human rights have been violated and grossly abused. We should however note that human rights are universal, inherent to every individual without discrimination to protect human dignity.
Stakeholders across board for the sake of posterity should rise to this occasion and ensure that the rule of law is not desecrated and bad precedents are not set for our jurisprudence in Nigeria.
Hon Rotimi Makinde is a former Member of the house of representatives and former deputy chairman of Human Rights Committee of the 7th Assembly.