Some Lagos-based lawyers on Monday expressed concern over the effect of the ongoing strike by the Judicial Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), on police stations across the nation.
The lawyers said this while speaking in separate interviews in Lagos.
They said that police stations would be overwhelmed with lots of detainees awaiting bail and other forms of judicial remedies.
They, however, suggested that alternative dispute resolution should be explored by detainees and their lawyers to aid decongest police stations.
Mr Bayo Akinlade, a lawyer and the Convener of a group, `Fight Against Corruption in the Judiciary’, commended the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria (Lagos State Office) for declaring a Police Duty Solicitor Scheme (PDSS) week.
According to him, the PDSS week will enable lawyers to volunteer and visit police stations near them, to give legal aid to detainees.
“The PDSS week has become important especially in response to the current state of the nation regarding the ongoing JUSUN strike.
“In as much as the judiciary is fighting a just course through the JUSUN strike, we cannot let a common man languish in police detention unattended to,” Akinlade said.
To Mr Chibuikem Opara, an Ikeja-based lawyer, alternative dispute resolution had become the most viable option in settling minor offences and misdemeanors.
“Some lawyers interfere in some cases by opting to explore other modes of dispute resolution.
“Some culprits agree to make themselves available to the station as at when needed, even on daily basis, to avoid being detained.
“While police stations mostly detain culprits and suspects of non bailable offences,” Opara said.
Mr Bodunrin Adewole of Legal Direct Chambers, said it was an unfortunate situation because where criminal law required court bail for an offence, nothing would be done without a court order.
Adewole said that the JUSUN strike had affected all courts – magistrate, high court, court of appeal and Supreme Court.
“As the courts cannot function without judicial staff, police stations will be filled beyond capacity.
“It must be noted that the strike also affects civil actions where interim and interlocutory injunctions are urgently required to preserve the subject matter of pending actions.
“An urgent solution must therefore be found to bring judicial staff back to work without any further delay,” Adewole suggested.