The Supreme Court of Nigeria Decision in Lufadeju vs Johnson (2007) 8 Nwlr (Pt 1037) P. 535: Whither the Unconstitutionality of Holding Charges in Nigeria?



Pre – trial freedom is indispensable to individual citizens of the world. Nigeria has guaranteed the freedom to liberty as enshrined under section 35 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999. Lagos State of Nigeria in 1994 enacted the Criminal Procedure Law and in the case of Lufadeju vs. Johnson, section 236 (3) of the law which seeks to give powers to the magistrate courts in that State to order for the remand of suspects and or accused persons to prison custody pending when the police would complete their investigations or proper arraignment, came up for interpretation before the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the said law was validated by the court. This paper examines the said decision within the context of whether it has withered the unconstitutionality of holding charges in Nigeria’s criminal justice system and the policy implication of the said decision and concludes that  the far reaching pronouncements made by the court are capable of affecting the long aged established rule of the unconstitutionality of holding charges in Nigeria thence perpetuating the incarceration  of accused persons in prison custody even  where the police are not willing to prosecute which is against the spirit and letters of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999.

Key words: Remand Proceedings, Holding Charges, Arraignment, Jurisdiction and Liberty.


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