Court threatens to jail Customs officials over death of suspect in custody

A Federal High Court in Abuja has summoned the Director, Legal Department of the Nigerian Customs Service, and a lawyer in the department, S. I. Bello, over the sudden death of a suspect, Abubakar Rilwan.
Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, who is sitting as the court’s vacation judge, ordered that the Customs Legal Director and Bello appear before the court on August 4 to explain why they should not be put on trial for contempt for allegedly failing to give Rilwan medical attention as ordered by the court.
SHIPS & PORTS DAILY reports that Rilwan, who was said to be a staff of Arewa Consultative Forum, was arrested by the Customs operatives over alleged forgery.
The suspect reportedly claimed that he has connection with the Customs and can influence employment into the agency.
The Customs arrested Rilwan in June and accused him of forging documents.
He was arraigned on July 12.
Observing that the suspect was not looking healthy, the judge suspended proceedings and directed that he should be taken to hospital for treatment.
Rilwan’s lawyer, Laura Oviawe, told the court today that her client died on July 13 while arrangements were being made to take him to court.
Oviawe said officials of the Customs called her on July 13 to inform her about the suspect’s death.


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