The phrase, ‘Bail is free’ in Nigeria is a farce, despite several declarations by the authorities that bail is free, people are still charged outrageous sums as bail.
Secret Reporters has reliably learned that an old man was sent to jail just because he couldn’t stump up N500 thousand as payment for bail to the police.
Mr Anthony Omosigbo, who hit his cousin with a stone on the head following a minor family dispute on the 13th of November 2017 was arrested and remanded in custody despite the case having been settled in the family.
Three weeks after, the said cousin passed on and Mr Omosigbo was arrested and taken to the State CID,Homicide Section and along the line, both families resolved the issue through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and the complainant wrote an official letter to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police and also swore a court affidavit to legalize the process.
The old man was recommended for bail but the IPO in charge of the case, Srgt Linus demanded a whooping sum of N500 thousand as bail before Mr Omosigbo would be released. The poor family could not afford the money and offered to pay N50 thousand but the IPO refused and compiled up charges before the court who sent the man to jail.
On January 28, 2018, the IPO reduced the man’s age from 73 years to 42 years and arraigned him at Ehor Magistrate Court after spending 25 days in police custody without proper investigation. The magistrate declined jurisdiction and ordered a duplication of the case file and sent it back to the Department of Public Prosecution for advice and immediately gave an order for the remand of the old man in custody.
Secret Reporters research shows that the Oko Maximum Prison was built in 1906 to contain 230 inmates, but there are currently 864 prison inmates in the prison.