A Nigerian legal practitioner identified as Malachy Odo has narrated the cumbersome process families and lawyers of suspects remanded in Lagos prisons go through before meeting bail conditions to secure their release.
Malachy is well known on Twitter for sharing legal tips and enlightenment.
In an exposé thread via his Twitter handle @MalachyOdo1, he advised Nigerians to always tread carefully when dealing with the police and anyone who threatens to put them behind bars, saying the process of getting out of jail is not a journey they would love to embark on.
Malachy noted that legal practitioners always bribe their way through with huge sum of money to secure the release of their clients remanded in prison, and the corrupt process also takes days.
“If you are arraigned or charged before a Magistrate Court today in Lagos no matter how frivolous the charge(s) might be, you will likely spend time in Prison. Your family/friends/lawyers would go through hell and deal with corruption in it’s purest form while your bail is being perfected.
“Once the charges are read to you and your plea is taken, the court would ordinarily grant you bail (not applicable for capital offences). ‘Bail is hereby granted to the Defendant in the sum of 200k with 2 sureties in like sum. The sureties must be residents of Lagos State and gainfully employed. They must have tax clearance for at least 3years and submit an Affidavit of means to this Court. Their addresses must be verified by the Prosecutor. The Defendant shall remain in prison custody pending the fulfillment of these conditions’.
“That’s how the journey to either Kirikiri/Ikoyi/Badagry Prison begins. So while you are in Prison, your family would first need to hire a lawyer to help in the bail perfection. Most times, your family members may not have the requirements needed for the suretyship.
“So “professional sureties” would have to be engaged to stand for you. Your family may pay not less than 50k each for these sureties. They always have all the documents and requirements needed by the Court. Your lawyer would then proceed with their documents to meet the Registrars of that Court for vetting and approval. He will not go empty-handed.
“Your lawyer would be made to part with between 20k-40k before they would touch those documents. Once they approve the sureties, your lawyer would then proceed to meet the Police Prosecutor Who is expected to verify the addresses of your sureties to ensure they live where they claim to live. The Prosecutor will not be met empty-handed. He will demand for at least 20k but if your lawyer doesn’t want him to go anywhere, then he’ll part with between 40k-50k.
“The Prosecutor will immediately write a favourable report saying that he has visited the sureties’ addresses and they all checked out. Your lawyer will then return to the Court Registrars with the Prosector’s report so that the Magistrate will interview the surties.
“They will likely demand another money (maybe 5k or more) to take the file into the Magistrate’s Chambers. The sureties will go in for the interview where they will claim to know you and that they can provide you should you ever jump bail. If the Magistrate is convinced that the sureties are reliable, He will sign a RELEASE WARRANT. Your lawyer would then take the Warrant to the Prison where you have been chilling. At the Prison, he will be asked to part with b/w 5k-10k before the warrant will be accepted and you will be released to go home.
“So when you see a Police officer or indeed anyone threatening to see that you’re charged to court even when there is no case against you, they know very well that you will spend through your nose and also see the inside walls of a Prison once you’re taken to court.
“If your family has the money, and your lawyer knows the system, then you will be out in at least 2days. It is not a journey you would love to embark on.”