Rule of Law and Accountability Advocacy Centre has condemned the parade of suspects arrested for allegedly carrying out a gay wedding ceremony in a hotel in Warri, Delta State.
The suspects numbering 100 were in a midnight raid arrested on Monday and paraded on Tuesday by the state police command.
The centre in a statement by its Executive Director, Okechukwu Nwanguma, however, said there are established legal procedures for the treatment of persons accused of crime.
While stating that the arrested persons were entitled to be treated with dignity, Nwanguma noted that parading suspects before the media is illegal, unconstitutional and prejudicial to fair hearing and fair trial.
The statement read, “RULAAC notes with serious concern the arrest by the Delta State Police Command of over a hundred young people for allegedly carrying out a gay wedding ceremony in a hotel in Warri, Delta state and their parade before the media today, August 29, 2023.
“Whereas we acknowledge that Homosexual relationships are criminalised in Nigeria there are, nonetheless, established legal procedures for the treatment of persons accused of crime.
“Persons accused of committing any offence under the law are entitled to be presumed innocent until they are found guilty following a fair trial in a court of competent jurisdiction. They are also entitled to be treated with dignity.
“The point has been made repeatedly that parading suspects before the media is illegal, unconstitutional and prejudicial to fair hearing and fair trial. It is an illegal and unprofessional law enforcement method that violates human dignity and subverts the Constitutional right to presumption of innocence. It amounts to convicting the suspects without trial.
The Center also expressed surprise at the “prompt and efficient” move of the state command in arresting and parading gay suspects while it had yet to treat a petition sent to the Commissioner of Police, Wale Abass three months ago by the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun.
RULAAC further called on the police to not further violate the rights of the suspects.
“They should release them on bail or promptly charge them,” the statement added.