A legal practitioner and rights activist, Mr. Favour Enuji, has called on the Chief Judge of the state and the State Judiciary to save a 17-year-old male, Chiemere Nneji, who is currently detained at the state police in Agbor, after his conviction.
Freelanews gathered that Nneji was sentenced to three years imprisonment on November 29, 2023, after Justice C.N. Ogadi-led panel convicted him at a family court in the state sitting at the High Court Agbor.
It was learnt that the teenager allegedly committed the rape when he was 15 years old while the female victim (name withheld) was 13 years of age.
Speaking to the media in Asaba, the state capital, on Tuesday, Enuji said the court ordered Nneji to serve a term of imprisonment for three years after having been found guilty of a rape case.
He said, “The court specifically ordered for the prison term of the juvenile to 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.
“The family court of Delta State sitting at the High Court Agbor ordered for Master Chiemere Nneji to serve a term of imprisonment for three years having been found liable after two years.”
The lawyer continued, “This horrendous state of facts has been on since the 29th day of November 2023 till date despite our protest letters on the above subject.
“It is a travesty and indeed a sad day for the judiciary. The Children Remand Home is the ideal place of imprisonment for child offenders and not the notorious detention facilities of the Nigerian Police. More so, the cell of the Nigerian Police is not known to hold persons without charge or already convicted persons.”
Enuji, who disclosed that Nneji had already spent two years out of three years, alleged that police officers on duty confirmed that the detention of the minor was on court order.
Findings by Enuji revealed that Nneji, apart from being naked and nursing several untreated injuries on his face and legs, has now caught a fever, causing him to shiver and convulse uncontrollably as strange rashes have also ravished his skin in the police cell.
Enuji called on the Chief Judge of the state, the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs, the Delta State Ministry of Justice, the Human Rights community and the general public to wade into this ugly development where a minor will be held for over a week in breach of the judgment of the family court and the rights of Nneji under the Child Rights Law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Efforts to get the Chief Judge of the state failed but an officer in the Chief Judge’s office who spoke on the condition of anonymity confirmed that the Nneji was still in police custody
“I just spoke with the State Counsel, Mrs Mercy Tanor, who handled the matter and she confirmed that the teenager is still at the police cell to date.
“She said the reason for Nneji to still be in the police cell to date is what I don’t know. I’ll find out and get back to you but is it bad to keep him there? After the court had sentenced him. it is either the person is taken to the prison for adults or Children Remand Home at Sapele as the case of a minor.”
Meanwhile, Delta State is yet to get a Commissioner for Justice or Attorney-General after six months of Governor Sheriff Oborevweri’s-led government.