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The concept of bail vis-à-vis enforcement of fundamental rights in Nigeria has recently taken a centre stage of discussion amongst jurists and students alike. In a nutshell, bail is a security for attendance in court from commencement of proceedings to judgment.1 In determining whether to grant or refuse bail, the determinant factors appear to depend upon the peculiar facts of every case, vis-à-vis the fundamental right of the suspect. Hence, bail is not granted as a matter of course.2
Again, Learned authors and jurists have opined that fundamental rights pre-exist existence itself, hence, should not be derogated upon except in exceptional circumstances. The foregoing dilemma will be resolved upon completion of this piece and recommendation professed. However, this research which takes a deeper look at the concept of bail and its enforcement in Nigeria will be discussed according to its chapterization as it has been subdivided to arrive at a particular goal as demanded by a particular chapter. In chapter one, we intend to discuss the historical evolution of the concept of bail, the effect of bail and the instances where bail could be granted in the Magistrate Court and High Court. Also, to be examined are the factors to be considered in granting or refusing bail. In chapter two, we intend to discuss the ideas of different authors concerning this topic under the heading, literature review. In chapter three, we will be focusing on bail and the enforcement of fundamental rights as well as its effect in Nigeria with reference to Arrest, Detention as well as Bail under the different laws. Chapter four is the concluding part of this work and also where all the necessary recommendations will be made.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
Over the years, most suspects who might not have committed any offence or whose relation had been suspected of committing an offence have found themselves incarcerated in police detention sometimes on the premise of a holding charge. This incarceration could take many years before the actual trial (if any) would be instituted. This ugly scenario necessitated the present researcher to have an indept analysis on the concept of bail vis-à-vis the enforcement of fundamental human right with particular reference to Nigeria with a view of enlightening the Nigerian citizenry.
1.2 Objective of the Study
This study is targeted to achieve the following objectives:
· The need to respect the constitutional right to bail of every suspected criminal save in compelling right other than bail.
· The need to respect court’s order as it relates to enforcement of fundamental rights other than bail.
· It is sought to create awareness on the citizens on their constitutionally guaranteed rights.
· This study is also aimed at exposing the unconstitutional practice of holding charge with a view of detaining a suspect.
1.3 Significance Of The Study
It is envisaged that at the completion of this study, other researchers who may be interested in further research on the concept of bail and the enforcement of fundamental human rights would use this work as a reference material. Also, it will help inform the individual of their right to bail as guaranteed in the Nigerian Constitution. This study will educate some disgruntled officers of the Nigeria Police who insist always on collection of money as “bail fee” before granting bail to a suspected criminal. It will further enlighten the general public on their other rights as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
1.4 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The study covers the concept of bail and the enforcement of fundamental human rights in Nigeria. The researchers uses judicial authorities, statutory provisions and opinions of text writers (jurists) with the view of highlighting how the concept of bail and enforcement of fundamental rights could be improved upon.
The study is limited to Nigeria though reference is made to other countries in a comparative basis.
1.5 Research Methodology:
In this study, the researcher uses descriptive and argumentative research method. Also, the secondary sources of materials such as textbooks, articles, journals, internet sources of material etc are used.
1 Ajomo, M. Fundamental Human Right under the Nigerian Constitution: Perspective on Human Right (ed): Kalu and Osibanjo, Federal Ministry of Justice, 1992
2 Eyu V. The State (1988) 2 NWLR (pt. 78) pg.602
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