THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF ADMINISTRATIVE BAIL AS A FAR CRY FROM LEGAL REALITY: A REVIEW OF THE COURT OF APPEAL DECISION IN EFCC V. EMEM UBOH (2022) LPELR – 57968 (CA)

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By David Andy Essien

THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF ADMINISTRATIVE BAIL AS A FAR CRY FROM LEGAL REALITY: A REVIEW OF THE COURT OF APPEAL DECISION IN EFCC V. EMEM UBOH (2022) LPELR – 57968 (CA)

Introduction

Any person arrested without a warrant in Nigeria for an offence other than an offence punishable with death can be admitted to bail by the law enforcement agency saddled with the task of investigating the criminal complaint made against such a person. This legal reality, popularly referred to as “Administrative Bail”, is activated once it is impracticable for the requisite law enforcement agency to arraign a suspect within 24 hours or 48 hours of arrest or detention, depending on whether there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of 40 kilometers from the locus criminis or from where the suspect is detained.

Surprisingly, the Court of Appeal, Calabar Judicial Division, in the case of EFCC v. Emem Israel Uboh made far-reaching pronouncements on the constitutionality of the Administrative Bail Procedure by holding, inter alia, that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) did not contemplate Administrative Bail; that an arresting authority has no business in granting bail to a suspect; and that all the claims of Administrative Bail have no backing of any law because of the clear provisions of Section 35(4) and (5) of the Constitution.

As Ministers in the Temple of Justice, lawyers owe the legal profession a sacred duty to raise their voices in aid of the development of the law and this duty encompasses every respectable step taken towards the betterment of the law and expansion of its frontiers. In this wise, this Article queries the aforementioned conclusions of the Court of Appeal on the legality of Administrative Bail in Uboh’s Case and goes a step further to challenge the legal basis for such conclusions.

For the full article, please click the link.

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