Bail is a temporary release of an accused from state custody to sureties on conditions given to secure his attendance in court or any place whenever he is required, until the determination of the case against him.
A surety in the bail parlance is a person who formally pledges or undertakes to become legally liable for the debt, default or failure of the duty of the accused.
There is a myth and erroneous belief of women's incompetence to apply for bail or stand as sureties for an accused in Nigeria. This belief has been passed down and perpetuated by several law enforcement agents who believe that women are incompetent to apply for bail or stand as sureties.
In granting bail, the major interest is the appearance of the accused person at a certain day or time, and not the sex of the surety. Thus the sex of the surety is inconsequential as long as the purpose of bail is achieved.
Further, the law enforcement agents who refuse women from standing as surety or applying for bail, have no legal backing as there is no provision in the extant Laws that forbids a woman from applying for bail or standing as surety.
It is also a discriminatory and retrogressive practice which negates the provision of Section 42 of the constitution of Nigeria on rights of persons against discrimination on the basis of sex.
Oluwatobi Adetona Esq. is a private legal practitioner based in Lagos, and can be contacted via her email-