Falana Calls For Renewal Of #EndSARS Protesters’ Passports

#EndSARS protesters during a candlelight procession in honour of victims of police brutality.

 

Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has called for the renewal of the passports of the #EndSARS Protesters

Falana made this call in a statement he personally signed on Sunday, identifying the affected protesters as Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye.

“The Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has confirmed that the Nigeria Immigration Service has willfully refused to renew the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye for taking part in the #EndSARS protests,” the statement partly read.

“Apart from repeatedly stating that Nigerian citizens are entitled to protest against the Government President Muhammadu Buhari said on January 1, 2021 that “2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability.

“This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”

The senior lawyer also lamented that the thugs that attacked the #EndSARS protesters last year were treated as sacred cows.

While accusing the police authorities of releasing the criminals who the protesters handed over to security agencies, he said the thugs were yet to face persecution.

“While scores of those who engaged in murder, arson and looting of properties have since been arraigned in various courts the thugs who attacked the #EndSARS protesters have been treated like sacred cows.

“Indeed, some of the criminal elements who were arrested by the #EndSARS protesters in Abuja and handed to over to the Police have since been released without any prosecution.

“The protests were hijacked by other armed thugs who engaged in the destruction of properties and killing of security personnel,” he added.

Falana Writes AGF, Requests Release Of 10 People From ‘Navy Detention’
Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana

 

Falana alleged that Nigeria’s security forces, instead of providing security for the protesters as required by section 94 of the Amended Electoral Act 2010 and section 83 (4) of the Nigeria Police Act 2020, colluded with sponsored thugs to unleash brutal attacks on the protesters.

According to him, many of the protesters were killed in Benin, Lagos, Ogbomoso, Port Harcourt and other cities as a result of the attacks.

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However, the military and the police have consistently claimed innocence of such accusations.

This comes three months after many young Nigerians marched out in many states of the federation to embark on peaceful protests against incessant police brutality in October 2020.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

RENEW PASSPORTS OF #ENDSARS PROTESTERS

In October last year, Nigerian citizens, in many states of the Federation, embarked on peaceful protests against incessant police brutality. Instead of providing security for the protesters as required by section 94 of the Amended Electoral Act 2010 and section 83 (4)  of the Nigeria Police Act 2020 the security forces colluded with sponsored thugs to unleash brutal attacks on the protesters. As a result of the attacks many of the protesters were killed in Benin, Lagos, Ogbomoso, Port Harcourt and other cities.

Thereafter, the protests were hijacked by other armed thugs who engaged in the destruction of properties and killing of security personnel. While scores of those who engaged in murder,  arson and looting of properties have since been arraigned in various courts the thugs who attacked the #endsars protesters have been treated like sacred cows. Indeed, some of the criminal elements who were arrested by the #endsars protesters in Abuja and handed to over to the Police have since been released without any prosecution.

However, the revelations oozing out of the various judicial commissions of enquiry currently probing police brutality in many states of the Federation and the federal capital territory have justified the #endsars protests. But despite the promise made by the Presidency and Police Authorities to reform the Police the leaders of the protesters have had their bank accounts frozen and passport seized on the illegal orders of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Nigeria Immigration Service respectively. So far, the heads of both agencies have not been called to order by the President.

The Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond (ASCAB) has confirmed that the Nigeria Immigration Service has  willfully refused to renew the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye for taking part in the #endsars protests. Apart from repeatedly stating that Nigerian citizens are entitled to protest against the Government President Muhammadu Buhari said on January 1, 2021 that “2020 indeed came with a lot of challenges ranging from security and economic issues across the regions to understandable protests that were mainly led by our youths and served notice to the demand for police reforms and accountability. This government heard, this government listened and this government is committed to fulfilling the five demands of our youths, fully understanding that we all wish well for Nigeria.”

In spite of the open declaration of President Buhari to meet the genuine demands of the #endsars protesters the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigeria Immigration Service  have continued to embarrass the federal government. In Nasiru El-rufai v Minister of Interior (2011) the Federal High Court held that the decision of the Federal Government not to renew the passport of the Applicant was  illegal and unconstitutional. In consequence, the Court awarded N1 million damages against the Respondents. Since the Court has held that the Ministry of Interior lacks the power to subject citizens to denial of consular services the passports of Bolatito Rachael Oduala, Mary Oshifowora and  Mosopeoluwa Odeseye should be renewed without any further delay.

 

17th January, 2021.

 

Femi Falana SAN

Interim Chair,

Alliance on Surviving Covid 19 and Beyond

(ASCAB).

Nigeria’s Unity Based On Ruthless Exploitation Of The Working People – Falana

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana

 

Human rights lawyer and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has said Nigeria’s unity is based on the ruthless exploitation of the working people.

Speaking on Wednesday during the 24th Convocation Lecture of the Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Falana challenged state governors to share powers with the President on the issues of security and economy.

“Unity means the component existence of Nigeria. The fact that the unity of the country is based on the ruthless exploitation of the working people, it is of no moment to the members of the ruling classes,” he said.

“For me, since the rich are united in exploiting our national resources, the exploited poor and oppressed people should equally unite to free themselves from the shackles of poverty.”

On his part, the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, cautioned against perceiving agitation for restructuring as a call for secession, civil war, and division that would further disunite the country.

Sanusi said though restructuring is important, some of Nigeria’s problems are beyond restructuring.

According to the ex-Emir, there is a difference between restructuring and division.

Court Adjourns Hearing Of El-Zakzaky’s Trial Till Tomorrow

File photo of Ibrahim El-Zakzaky,

 

A Kaduna State High Court sitting in the state capital on Wednesday adjourned till tomorrow, the continued hearing of the trial of the embattled leader of the Islamic Movement In Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife Zinat.

El- Zakzaky and his wife have been in detention since December 2015, following clashes between members of the IMN and the Nigerian Army in Zaria, Kaduna State.

At the resumed hearing on the matter on Wednesday, two witnesses from the Nigerian Army were presented before the court by their counsel.

After making their submissions, they were cross-examined by the defence counsel, Femi Falana.

Fourteen more witnesses are expected to be presented before the court during the continuation of trial tomorrow, November 19.

However, speaking to reporters at the end of the court sitting, counsel to El-Zakzaky, Femi Falana,  kicked against the consistent closure of roads against traffic in the Kaduna State capital whenever the trial of El-Zakzaky comes up.

Falana lamented that this situation puts the residents of Kaduna metropolis into unnecessary hardship.

“We will like to appeal to the authorities in Kaduna State, both the governor and the security forces that since our clients are not being brought to church on health grounds, they don’t really need to block all roads leading to the court, so that people can move and go about there normal business,” Falana said.

Security was beefed up in the Kaduna State capital on Wednesday while all roads leading to the state high court complex were barricaded against traffic by security operatives as

This is to forestall any break down of law and order during and after the trial of the IMN leader.

Illegal Arrests: Falana Asks Judges To Conduct Monthly Visits To Police Stations, Detention Centers

File photo of Human Rights Activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria Femi Falana.

 

Human Rights Activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has appealed to judges and chief magistrates to conduct a monthly inspection of all police stations and detention centres across the country.

Falana who disclosed this in a letter which was dated November 12, 2020, said visiting Judges and Chief Magistrates are empowered to order the release of detainees, or grant them bail or direct that they be arraigned in court.

He notes that if all detention facilities in the country are regularly inspected by Judges and Chief Magistrates as stipulated by the law Nigerian citizens “will no longer be subjected to illegal arrest and detention by the Police and other security agencies.”

 

 

Read the full statement below…

Section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 requires Chief Judges of the Federal High Court, Federal Capital Territory High Court and State High Courts to designate Judges and Chief Magistrates to conduct monthly visitation and inspection of all police stations and other detention facilities in all the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

In spite of the Directive of the National Judicial Council the provision of the law was not complied with by many Judicial Authorities. Hence, the incessant arrest, detention and torture of poor citizens by the Police and other security agencies have since become the order of the day.

However, the newly enacted Nigeria Police Act, 2020 has imposed a duty on all Chief Magistrates and Judges to conduct monthly visitation and inspection of all police stations and other detention facilities within their territorial jurisdiction other than Correctional Centres.  Specifically, section 70 of the Act provides as follows:

“70 (1) The Chief Magistrate, or where there is no chief magistrate within the police division, any magistrate designated by the Chief Judge for that purpose, shall at least every month, conduct an inspection of police stations or other places of detention within his territorial jurisdiction other than the prison.

(2) During a visit, the magistrate may;

(a) call for, and inspect, the record of arrests;

(b) direct the arraignment of suspect;

(c) where bail has been refused, grant bail to any suspect, where appropriate, if the offence for which the suspect is held is within the jurisdiction of the magistrate.

(3) An officer in charge of a police station or an official in charge of any agency authorized to make an arrest shall make available to the visiting chief magistrate or designated magistrate exercising his powers under subsection (1):

(a) the full record of arrest and record of bail;

(b) applications and decisions on bail made within the period; and

(c) any other facility the magistrate requires to exercise his power under that subsection.

(4) With respect to other Federal Government agencies authorized to make arrests, the High Court have jurisdiction shall visit such detention facilities for the purpose provided in this section.

(5) Where there is the default by an officer in charge of a police station or an official in charge of an agency authorized to make an arrest to comply with the provisions of subsection (3), the default shall be treated as misconduct and shall be dealt with in accordance with the relevant police regulations under this Act, or under any other disciplinary procedure prescribed by any provision regulating the conduct of the officer or official of the agency.”

From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that the visiting Judges and Chief Magistrates are empowered to order the release of detainees, or grant them bail or direct that they be arraigned in court.

No doubt, the provision of section 34 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 and Nigeria Police Act, 2020 have confirmed the intention of both the Legislative and Executive arms of the Federal Government to ensure that the fundamental right of every citizen to personal liberty is not infringed upon or abridged by law enforcement officers contrary to the procedure permitted by law.  It is now left for the Judiciary to activate and implement the provisions of the law in order to end the incessant arrest and prolonged detention of the Nigerian people without any further delay.

We are of the strong view that if all detention facilities in the country are henceforth regularly inspected by Judges and Chief Magistrates as stipulated by the law the people of Nigeria will no longer be subjected to illegal arrest and detention by the Police and other security agencies.

In particular, there will be no basis for #endsars and any similar campaign either now or in future. We are therefore compelled to call on Judges and Chief Magistrates to carry out their duties under section 70 of the Police Act.

However, to achieve the objective of the law we appeal to the respective Chief Judges to supervise the Visiting Judges and Chief Magistrates in the discharge of their statutory duties. Where there is no Chief Magistrate within the police division, the Chief Judge should designate a Magistrate for the purpose in accordance with section 70 (1) of the Nigeria Police Act, 2020.

We equally call on the members of the Human Rights Community including the Nigerian Bar Association to assign their accredited representatives to accompany the Judges and Chief Magistrates during the monthly inspection of police stations and other detention facilities in Nigeria.

Femi Falana SAN

Interim Chair,

Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond

(ASCAB)

 

 

#EndSWAT: You Negotiate With Terrorists, Negotiate With Protesters – Falana Tells FG

 

 

Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, has asked the Federal Government to hold talks with #EndSARS protesters and grant their demands, the same way it negotiates with terrorists.

Falana said this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

“The government must engage in dialogue with leaders of the protesting groups,” he said. “After all, the government negotiates with terrorists so why don’t you negotiate with patriots like the young men and women that are protesting all over the country.”

He believes that the talks backed by steps that meet the demands of Nigerians who have taken to the streets are the only way the government can end the nationwide protests.

One of the necessary steps is for the Federal Government to ensure that protesters are protected.

Another, according to him, is for a full-fledged inquiry into the outright killings of Nigerians by police officers.

He also called on state Attorneys-General to take over the prosecution of cases.

Read Also: #EndSWAT: Police Training Is Colonial, Completely Primitive – Falana

Nigeria currently does not run a state policing system and that limits the control governors have over security matters regarding their states.

Falana, however, says that with nearly 98 percent of crimes in the country committed at the state level, there is the need for a more decentralised system of policing.

He said, “There has to be a full-fledged inquiry that will support a judicial commission of inquiry not a judicial commission of inquiry that will seat in camera (private) like the Ayo Salami judicial commission of inquiry. This one will seat in the open like the Oputa Panel and they will investigate the atrocities, the outright killings.

“Finally, I’m calling on the state Attorneys-General because 98% of criminal offences in Nigeria are state offences. Let our Attorneys-General take over the prosecution of cases in Nigeria. Moreso, that the Police Act 2020 has prohibited policemen and women from prosecuting in our courts so, the state government will have to engage lawyers to take over the prosecution of cases in all our courts.

“If the government can put all this in place in the next three days, the young men and women can now be persuaded to leave the streets,” he said.

Falana’s comments come about 24 hours after the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, set up a new unit called the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, to replace the disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Unit (SARS), after nationwide protests over series of allegations of police brutality and human rights violations.

Despite the development, the protests have continued as many Nigerians suspect the new unit may amount to a mere change of name.

As the protest continued on Wednesday with many rejecting the SWAT unit, the police said no member of SARS will be in the unit and referred to the unit as Tactical Unit rather than SWAT.

The police did not state whether it has changed the name of the unit from SWAT to Tactical Unit as an image (below) the force tweeted on Wednesday suggested.

 

Just like many Nigerians, Mr Falana believes that the problems go beyond a name change and, therefore, more concrete steps ought to be taken to bring about real change to policing in Nigeria.

“The young people are not talking about SARS or SWAT alone, they want a new policing system in the country,” he said.

Falana Kicks Against N5m NBC Fine, Says Act Is Illegal

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has described the N5m fine on Lagos-based radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3 FM by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) as illegal.

The Human Rights Lawyer said this in a statement he personally signed and wondered why the NBC will be in a hurry to penalise the radio station

While noting that the State Security Service (SSS) has not concluded an investigation into the radio station’s guest, Dr Mailafia Obadiah, Falana asked why the Commission was in a hurry to violate the broadcast firm’s fundamental right.

According to him, it is only a competent court of law that has the right to impose fines on a criminal suspect after conducting a trial.

“Only a competent court of law is empowered to try, convict and impose a fine on a criminal suspect after a trial has been conducted before a competent court.

“In view of the fact that the imposition of the N5 million fine was anchored on a purported amendment of the Code and since the NBC lacks the legal competence to impose a fine on any broadcasting station without a finding of guilt by a properly constituted criminal court the NBC should suo mutu quash the illegal fine,” Falana said.

READ ALSO: Mailafia: NBC Fines Radio Station N5m For Unprofessional Broadcast

The senior lawyer added that: “Section 33 (4) of the Constitution provides that anyone charged with a criminal offence shall be tried before a competent court or tribunal.”

He noted that in the case between the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA) and Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited at the Federal High Court, Honourable Justice Ojukwu held that the imposition of fines by regulatory agencies was unlawful.

The NBC had said the fine was imposed on the media outfit due to its unprofessional broadcast.

It explained that Nigeria Info was not professional in the handling of its morning show aired between 8.30 am and 9.00 am on Monday.

NBC stated that the station provided its platform for its guest and a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Mailafia Obadiah, to promote “unverifiable and inciting views,” saying such could lead to public disorder.

Falana Calls For Probe Of Conditions In Nigeria’s $79bn Foreign Loans

 

Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana has called on the National Assembly to probe the conditions of Nigeria’s foreign loans totalling about $79.5bn.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Monday, Falana wondered why much emphasis should just be on the $3.1billion to be secured from China.

According to him, the masses are being misled by leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and those of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

READ ALSO: WAEC: Kano Govt To Reopen Schools On August 10

“We are being misled. What is the basis of this cessation about Chinese loan which is only $3.1billion out of $79billion loan?

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

“Why are we not talking about the remaining $76billion whose conditionality is much worse than the Chinese loans we are talking about?

“So, why don’t you look at the entire loan portfolio? Look at the conditions. For instance, some of the western loans are to the effect that the government should increase electricity tariff, increase fuel price and so on and so forth,” he said.

Falana also knocked the federal lawmakers for “not complaining about those multiple taxations dictated by western imperialism.”

While admitting that every country has the right to enter into an agreement with issues relating to loans, the senior lawyer maintained that the National Assembly is required by law to look at the terms and conditions.

In doing this, Falana asked the Ministry of Justice to always scrutinise the terms and conditions of the agreements to the benefits of all Nigerians.

Falana-Led Coalition Demands Full Details Of FG Loans

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

A coalition led by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, has called on the Federal Government to make full public disclosure of all loans obtained by the country.

It has the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, and President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, as co-chairmen.

In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Adewale Adeoye, the Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) said it would challenge the authorities in court if the disclosures were not made.

It also appealed to the National Assembly to reveal the terms and conditions of all external loans.

The coalition, which comprises labour and some 80 civil society groups, added that if the National Assembly fails, the Debt Management Office should publish the terms and conditions of all external loans or face legal fireworks.

It decried that Nigeria’s debt profile which was N12.118 trillion as of May 2015 has leaped to N27.401 trillion in 2019, representing more than 100 per cent debt increase.

The coalition said recent revelation at the National Assembly has confirmed the fact that the loans were taken without proper public scrutiny, claiming that a Committee of the House of Representatives was feigning ignorance of the terms and conditions attached to a particular loan agreement.

It stressed that the huge debt being incurred for Nigeria has the potential of stifling the prospect of economic liberation and political freedom of the people.

 

Apology To Nigerians

ASCAB stated that within one year, the National Assembly has approved a total of $28 billion for President Muhammadu Buhari with no commensurate improvement in the quality of lives of many Nigerians.

“Millions of Nigerians continue to face harsh economic difficulties, lacking access to basic needs, yet the debt profile of the country continues to increase.

“It is even more grievous that the government continues to take loans on behalf of the people without their consent, neither their keen understanding of the terms,” it said.

ASCAB also alleged that the National Assembly appeared desperate to pull the wool over the face of Nigerians by covering up its tracks regarding the clause in the Chinese loan.

A file photo of the National Assembly in Abuja.

 

“The opaque nature of the loans is against the principles of the Nigerian Constitution,”  ASCAB said citing  Section 21(1) of the Debt Management Office Establishment (ETC) Act, 2003 (DMO Act) which states that no external loan shall be approved or obtained by the Minister “unless its terms and conditions shall have been laid before the National Assembly and approved by its resolution.”

The group also cited Section 41 (1a) of the FRA which states that “Government at all tiers shall only borrow for capital expenditure and human development, provided that, such borrowing shall be on concessional terms with low interest rate and with a reasonable long amortisation period subject to the approval of the appropriate legislative body where necessary.”

The coalition insisted that the National Assembly has breached the provisions of section 21 (1) of the Debt Management Office Establishment (ETC) Act, 2003.

“Instead of grandstanding over the matter, the members of the National Assembly ought to apologise to the Nigerian people and proceed to scrutinise the terms and conditions of all other external loans,” ASCAB said.

 

Jumbo Loans

The loans taken by Nigeria from China sparked a public outcry last week when a clause that was alleged to have compromised Nigeria’s sovereignty was discovered.

According to the Debt Management Office, the total value of loans taken by Nigeria from China as of March 31, 2020, was $3.121 billion – an indication that the Chinese loan was some 3.94 per cent of Nigeria’s total public debt of $79.303 billion as of March 31, 2020, while external sources of funds, loans from China accounted for 11.28 per cent of the external debt profile of $27.67 billion at the same date.

The loans were obtained with interest rates of 2.5 per cent per annum and to be paid in 20 years with a moratorium of seven years.

The coalition said it was important to ask whether Nigeria really needed the “jumbo loans” when sources of boosting public funds were either yet to be fully explored or completely ignored.

“The most fundamental issue is whether we really need these jumbo loans. In October 2018, the Supreme Court of Nigeria directed the Federal Government to recover royalties that were not paid for 18 years by the multinational oil companies operating in Nigeria. The said royalties have been confirmed to be $62 billion,” the group said.

A file photo of a courtroom at the Supreme Court complex in Abuja. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

ASCAB listed some of the loans collected by the government to include the February 2018 Eurobond worth $2.5 billion loan, the September 2018 loan of $328 million, $5.3 billion from Chinese Export-Import Bank, $2.36 billion to finance aspects of the 2020 budget while another $5.513 billion was sought to finance the 2020 revised budget.

 

Level Of Poverty

The Senate had also approved N850 million and another $22.79 billion for President Buhari currently pending at the parliament.

ASCAB, therefore, warned the National Assembly to desist from approving loans for payment of the unapproved salaries of legislators and pension of former governors.

They insisted that such contravened Section 41 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act which has restricted governments at all levels to “borrow for capital expenditure and human development”.

“The country’s level of poverty continues to increase with the skyrocketing loans obtained by the Federal Government.

“Poverty, extreme hunger, frivolous lifestyle of public office holders, continue to fuel violence and public disorder across the country.

“While the government has responded effectively to the needs of public officials including members of the National Assembly, the economic and social needs of the people remain a mirage,” the coalition said.

Kaduna Killings: Clearly, The Federal Government Has Shown Lack Of Capacity – ASCAB

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

The killings in Kaduna has the potential of leading to a round of national crisis that may threaten the fabric of democracy in the country, the Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond, (ASCAB) warned on Sunday.

The coalition of labour and over 80 civil society groups also blamed the Federal Government for the mayhem adding that the central authority has the constitutional responsibility to ensure the protection of lives and properties everywhere in the country.

It said the mayhem in Kaduna only reflects the community version of the growing culture of brigandage within the political class.

Last Friday scores of people were killed in Southern Kaduna by armed groups. Katsina, Zamfara and many States on North Central have seen a string of bloodletting in recent months.

On Sunday, the killings in Southern Kaduna continued. At 6am Fanstwam natives of Zipkak, a semi-urban town in Fanstwam Chiefdom, Jemaa LGA in Southern Kaduna, fled their homes when armed groups invaded their communities again.

The killings did not abate inspite of curfew impose in the area by the State Government to curb revenge killings among the multi-ethnic Southern Kaduna territories.

The latest incidence took place in Zikpak, some two kilometres away from Kafanchan where a large consignment of soldiers is camped.

READ ALSO: 601 Repentant Boko Haram Members Graduate From DRR Camp Set For Integration

ASCAB in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Femi Falana, (SAN) on Sunday said it is undoubtedly clear that the Federal Government has shown a lack of capacity to deal with the sad events.

Falana said the Federal Government appears to be running out of ideas in bringing an end to violence and armed brigandage constantly recorded in Kaduna and other affected states.

It said the violence in the North East has spread to the North Central and the North West warning that if unchecked, it might threaten peace and coexistence across the country and set the nation on the path of ruin

“Corruption, politics of exclusion, growing unemployment, and lack of creativity continue to fuel public resentment across the country backed by an increasing breakdown of public trust in those holding public officers. The situation has been compounded by weak institutions and inept leadership both at the state and national levels” ASCAB said.

It said the lack of opportunities, poverty, and the imposition of tough economic measures on Nigerians are partly responsible for prejudices, hate, and expression of violence found in many communities in Nigeria.

“Nigeria is fast becoming a state of blood where human lives no longer matter. It is unfortunate that while the Federal Government invests billions of naira in the procurement of arms to fight violence, it has failed to develop an appropriate economic roadmap to deal with one of the root causes of violence which is poverty.”

It also warned that unending violence and banditry will help the spread of coronavirus thereby putting the lives of many people in the North in danger.

“Violence and killings have seen the emergence of several refugee camps and the flee of health workers in vulnerable communities. Territories ravaged by killings will naturally disregard the rules necessary for the prevention of COVID-19. This only means that as long as instability continues, the prospect of livelihood and effective public health protection is dim.”

It said it is public knowledge that many states in the country including Katsina where President Mohammadu Buhari comes from are at the mercy of terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, and criminal gangs.

It said that though the Federal Government continuously assures Nigerians of the safety of lives and property, the guarantee has become a mirage in the face of ceaseless attacks.

The group said the country has continued to witness massacres of defenseless citizens and that the number of arms in the hands of non-state actors is alarming.

“Several survivors are currently in IDPs. These include children and women. These children are denied education and the basic necessities of life necessary for their growth in the first years of their lives.”

ASCAB said many Nigerians are fleeing to the neighbouring African States due to the fact that their homeland has failed to procure peace for them.

It condemned the statement credited to the Federal Government that “From available security records, the problem in Southern Kaduna is an evil combination of politically-motivated banditry, revenge killings and mutual violence by criminal gangs acting on ethnic and religious grounds”. It described such statements by the FG as an indication that those in power are not in touch with the people.

ASCAB said since President Mohammadu Buhari is the Commander in Chief of the Nigerian Armed forces, the President is under a legal obligation to end the violence.

SOWORE: I Rebuffed Isa Funtua’s Condescending Statement, Rejected His Offer – Falana

 

Human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has revealed that he rejected an offer asking his client Omoyele Sowore to apologise to President Muhammadu Buhari, in a bid to get released from custody, when the Sahara Reporters publisher was detained in 2019. 

Mr Falana in a statement on Thursday stated that he rejected the offer as presented by a government delegation comprising the late Isa Funtua and two others.

According to his statement titled, “On the collapse of secret meetings designed to compromise Omoyele Sowore in custody”, Falana did not only reject the offer, but he also rebuffed a rather ‘condescending’ statement by the late Isa Funtua, who was of the opinion that the regime in power could not be defeated.

“In fact, when the late Alhaji Isa Funtua said rather condescendingly at the Lagos meeting that the regime in power could not be defeated I was quick to remind him that the Nigerian people had defeated military dictators to pave way for the current civilian dispensation,” the rights activist stated.

Falana further revealed that he also rejected the delegation’s request to have Sowore, who was in detention, to write an undertaking to desist from further embarrassing the Federal Government.

READ ALSO: Magu’s Probe Is A Question Mark On EFCC, Says Falana

Below is the full statement as published by Mr Femin Falana.

ON THE COLLAPSE OF SECRET MEETINGS DESIGNED TO COMPROMISE OMOYELE SOWORE IN CUSTODY

In a deliberate attempt to distort the proceedings of the secret meetings held by representatives of media publishers and officials of the presidency with Mr. Omoyele Sowore in the dungeon of the State Security Service last year Mr. Garba Shehu has continued to give the highly erroneous impression that the deal struck with the captive was frustrated by his lawyer.

Since Mr. Shehu’s memory failed him in his jejune narrative he said that “The meeting ended well, and contrary to the posturing by Sowore, he said he was happy with a resolution proposed but that his lawyer, whoever that was, needed to come on board.

The fence-mending process collapsed after the meeting of the trio with the lawyer in Lagos.” Mr. Shehu ought to have published the terms of the “resolution” which he claimed that Mr. Sowore had accepted instead of of blaming the collapse of the “fence-mending process” on the intransigence of his lawyer “whoever that was (sic)”

I confirm that I held a meeting with the trio referred to by Mr. Shehu even though he did not mention my name.

Hence, I am compelled to react to a couple of issues raised in his incendiary account. More so that he did not attend the Lagos meeting. For reasons best known to Mr. Shehu he refused to inform the Nigerian people that I rejected the gratuitous request to prevail on Mr. Sowore to apologise to President Muhammadu Buhari and write an undertaking to desist from further embarrassing the federal government.

Apart from insisting that my client had committed no offence by exercising his freedom of expression over the perilous state of the nation I expressed my personal agony over the request because I won the legal battle wherein the Court of Appeal had upheld the fundamental right of the Nigerian people to protest against the government without police permit.

Mr. Shehu ought to have equally disclosed that I demanded for the unconditional release of my client from the unlawful incarceration of the State Security Service.

In particular, I recalled the case of Isa Funtua v The President wherein the plaintiff had challenged the obnoxious newspaper registration decree enacted by the Ibrahim Babangida junta in 1993. For goodness sake, is Mr. Shehu not aware of the fact that Mr. Sowore was charged with treasonable felony, money laundering and insulting President Buhari for daring to call off the bluff of the federal government?

It is interesting to note I had teamed up with other patriots in 2006 to campaign for the restoration of the liberty of Mr. Garba Shehu (who was then the spokesman for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar) when he was detained by the State Security Service and charged before the Federal High Court with the offence of “obtaining, reproducing and keeping classified material” in contravention of the Official Secrets Act.

Happily, the charge filed against Mr. Shehu by the forces of incipient fascism in the country was withdrawn and struck out in his favour. In like manner, the charge of a treasonable felony which is hanging menacingly on the head of Mr. Omoyele Sowore like a sword of Damocles will also be struck out in his favour in the fullness of time.

 

Magu’s Probe Is A Question Mark On EFCC, Says Falana

Human Rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, says the probe on the embattled acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, is a question mark on the anti-graft agency.

He disclosed this on Wednesday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“Even though Mr Ibrahim Magu is presumed innocent of all the allegations levelled against him, it is an anti-climax for an anti-corruption zar to be linked to a miasmal of corrupt practices.

“No doubt the fate that has befallen Magu so far, for me it is indeed a moral disaster on the anti-corruption crusade. Therefore, the ongoing investigation should be a wake-up call on the Federal Government to embark on a comprehensive cleaning exercise. Otherwise, the investigation will be a selective exercise in futility.

“The Federal Government owes the public duty, particularly that institution if it is confirmed that Mr Magu has been asked to step aside. There has to be a follow-up of the law establishing the agency, the top-most officer in the agency should be asked to act for him,” he said.

The EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, is under investigation over corruption allegations levelled against him.

READ ALSO: Magu’s Alleged Arrest Is A Power-Play – PACAC

Speaking further, the legal practitioner said the Federal Government should not make the mistake of appointing who he described as an outsider to head the EFCC in acting capacity should Magu be suspended or found guilty of the allegations.

According to him, this is to ensure that the name of such nomination will easily be sent to the National Assembly for confirmation.

Falana, however, called on the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel to carry out a thorough investigation into the allegations of corrupt practices levelled against the EFCC boss.

Magu has been in the eye of the storm following the invitation extended to him by the Department of State Services (DSS) on Monday.

Although the spokesman of the EFCC boss, Tony Amokeodo, told Channels Television that his principal was quizzed to appear before a panel of the Federal Government set up to investigate the allegations of corruption levelled against him, the secret service insisted that it did not arrest Magu.

DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunanya, said the service has no connection with Magu’s reported arrest.

Alleged Kidnapping: Femi Falana Asks AGF To Produce Indicted Soldiers For Trial

Falana Challenges Governors To Get Involved In Police Administration
(FILE PHOTO) Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana

 

 

A Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana has asked the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami to produce the indicted soldiers involved in the brutal murder of three policemen over suspected kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu in court for trial.

Falana made this call on Sunday via a statement he personally issued.

The legal practitioner noted that the military’s court-martial lacks the competence to try the soldiers for terrorism offences committed against police personnel or other members of the public.

He argued that the terrorism offence allegedly carried out by the soldiers were not provided for in the Armed Forces Act.

“With respect, the offence of terrorism allegedly committed by the indicted soldiers are not provided for in the Armed Forces Act.

“To that extent, a general court-martial or special court-martial lacks the jurisdictional competence to try the offence of terrorism committed against police personnel and other members of the public by soldiers who are subject to service law.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: SGF Boss Mustapha, Others Attend Church Service, Pray Against Virus

For the avoidance of doubt, Section 32 of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended by the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013 provides that “The Federal High Court located in any part of Nigeria, regardless of the location where the offence is committed, shall have jurisdiction to (a) try offences under this Act or any other related enactment; (b) hear and determine proceedings arising under this Act,” the statement partly read.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE

A COURT-MARTIAL LACKS THE COMPETENCE TO TRY OFFENCES OF TERRORISM

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN was reported to have said that the soldiers indicted in the brutal murder of 3 policemen who arrested a suspected kidnap kingpin, Bala Hamisu (alias Wadume) could be tried by a court-martial. According to the Minister, “They are military personnel. First, they are to go through the in-house processes. There are two options – either to charge them before the court-martial which is a special court established by law for the trial of soldiers or in the alternative for the military after consummation of the in-house processes should consider handing them over for trial.”

With respect, the offence of terrorism allegedly committed by the indicted soldiers are not provided for in the Armed Forces Act. To that extent, a general court-martial or special court-martial lacks the jurisdictional competence to try the offence of terrorism committed against police personnel and other members of the public by soldiers who are subject to service law. For the avoidance of doubt, Section 32 of the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended by the Terrorism Prevention Amendment Act 2013 provides that “The Federal High Court located in any part of Nigeria, regardless of the location where the offence is committed, shall have jurisdiction to (a) try offences under this Act or any other related enactment; (b) hear and determine proceedings arising under this Act”.

Hence, the indicted soldiers were properly charged with terrorism along with other suspects in the only competent court in the land. However, since the military authorities did not release the suspects to the Police for the purpose of arraigning them in court the learned trial judge, the Honourable Justice Binta Nyako rightly ordered the Chief of Army Staff to produce them to answer to the heinous charge of terrorism and allied offences. Even though the Attorney- General withdrew the charges against the indicted soldiers the order that they be produced in court for arraignment has not been vacated or quashed either by the trial court or the Court of Appeal. Therefore, the Attorney-General is duty-bound by to ensure full and unconditional compliance with the valid and subsisting order of the federal high court in accordance with section 287 (3) of the Constitution.

Femi Falana SAN