An Asaba-based legal practitioner and human rights activist, Favour Enuji, has raised the alarm over the state of a 17-year-old, Chiemere Nneji, allegedly dying at a police cell in Agbor, where he is detained after a court conviction.
Justice C. N. Ogadi of the State High Court (Family Court) sitting in Agbor, Delta State had, on November 29, 2023, sentenced the minor to three years imprisonment for sexually assaulting a lady.
He was arraigned on a rape charge punishable .
The charge states: “On or about January 22, 2020, at Omeligboma Camp Asaba, within the Agbor Family Court Judicial division, you had carnal knowledge of the victim without her consent.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty. In proof of the case, the prosecution counsel, Mercy Tanno, called three witnesses.
The minor testified and called no witness in his defence. But in his disposition, he agreed that he had sexual intercourse with the victim and pleaded for mercy through his counsel.
The legal practitioner called on the chief judge of Delta State and the judiciary to save the life of Nneji, who is detained in a police cell, instead of at the Children Remand Home in Sapele.
Enuji said: “The court specifically ordered that the prison term of the juvenile be served at the Delta State Children Remand Home in Sapele. However, despite the above directive of the Family Court, Master Chiemere Nneji was taken from the court and detained at the dungeon of the Nigerian Police, Agbor, with mentally unstable and other hardened criminal suspects.”
Enuji, who disclosed that Nneji had already spent two out of three years, alleged that police officers confirmed that the detention of the minor was on a court order.
According to Nneji, the convict, apart from being naked and nursing several untreated injuries on his face and legs, has caught a fever, causing him to shiver and convulse uncontrollably, even as rashes have also affected his skin at the police cell.
Efforts to get the response of Chief Judge of the State, Theresa Diai, failed but a senior officer in her office, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that Nneji was still in police custody.
When contacted, police image maker, Bright Edafe, said: “The minor will be taken to a remand home in Sapele,” noting that the delay was due to “administrative process.”