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

Seek Sound Legal Advice On Disease Bill, Falana Tells NASS

A file photo of Mr Femi Falana.

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Femi Falana, has condemned the National Health Emergency Bill before lawmakers in the Senate.

He faulted the bill on Monday during a special programme ‘A Citizen’s Town Hall’ on Channels Television.

The human rights lawyer described the bill as unnecessary and asked members of the National Assembly to seek the opinion of legal experts before coming up with bills.

He said, “My views on the bill are that the bill is unnecessary, it is unwarranted; it is superfluous and unconstitutional.

“Therefore, it should not be passed because it is going to fail. If it is passed, it is going to be challenged.”

“I will like to suggest that the members of the National Assembly should seek sound legal advice so that we do not waste precious resources and energies on a law that is bound to fail; that is likely to be declared null and void,” Falana added.

The sponsor of the bill and lawmaker representing Enugu North Senatorial District, Senator Chukwuka Utazi, however, disagreed with the lawyer.

Senator Utazi, who was also a guest on the show, outlined the benefits of the bill to the nation’s health sector.

He believes there is no better time to come up with such a bill than now when Nigeria is battling the spread of COVID-19.

The lawmaker insisted that there was no going back on the passage of the bill, although the Senate would gladly welcome various contributions to improve its significance.

According to him, lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate chambers of the National Assembly will do everything possible to support the executive to ensure Nigeria overcomes its challenges.

“We are already set on a voyage and all we want is informed input into this bill. There is no better time for any law to come into force.

“It is very necessary and timely for this bill to come into place because there are gaps that are existing that needs to be filled. We need to have a legal framework to guide our activities,” Senator Utazi said.

He added, “We cannot continue depending on executive orders one after the other. It is totally wrong. This is a democracy; we are not in a military regime where the executive will make laws for the people.”

Edo, Ondo Elections: Falana Calls For Maximum Security To Douse Tension

Mr Femi Falana

 

Human Rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Femi Falana, has called for maximum security in Edo and Ondo states.

Falana made this call on Wednesday during the Citizens’ Townhall on Voting Amidst COVID-19 ahead of the September 19 governorship elections in the two states.

He noted that the move is necessary in order to douse the tensions that may arise as campaigns will soon begin.

The senior lawyer argued that unlike the local council polls in Cross River and Benue States where the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) swept all the seats, the governorship elections on September 19 will draw opposition parties participating in the exercise.

“You had a Local Government election in Cross River State and Benue State last Saturday, the opposition did not participate because the opposition would have wasted its funds by participating.

“In Cross River State, for instance, the 18 Chairmanship seats were won by the PDP while the 196 Councillorship seats were won by the ruling party.

“Ditto for Benue where 23 chairmanship seats were won by the PDP and of course the 276 councillorship seats were won by the ruling party, but it is going to be different in Ondo and Edo states where you are talking of opposition political parties slugging it out with the ruling political party.

“So tensions will be high, you will need maximum security to guarantee law and order in both states and then monitor some of the political leaders in those two states,” he said.

Falana also predicted a low turnout of voters on the Election Day, asking the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to provide facemasks to electorates who may not be able to afford it in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s Time To Stop Official Impunity, Hypocrisy In Fight Against COVID-19 – Femi Falana

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, says it is time for those at the helms of affairs to stop the impunity and hypocrisy applied in the fight against COVID-19.

In his statement on Sunday, the rights activist was of the opinion that the rise in cases recorded in the country is due to the inconsistency of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

Mr Falana also stated that the NCDC is not solely to be blamed for the increase, arguing that a lack of co-ordination on the part of the Federal government has contributed immensely to the inconsistencies experienced in the manner in which the crisis has been handled so far.

He urged the authorities to operate professionally henceforth and avoid bending the rules.

Below is a full statement by Mr Femi Falana (SAN).

The Corovirus pandemic appears to be on the ascendancy in Nigeria due to the inconsistency and double standards of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and lack of coordination on the part of the Federal Government in addressing the health crisis.

Without any scientific basis whatsoever the federal government decided to limit the imposition of lockdown to the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun States.

The other state governments decided to impose partial restrictions in their areas of jurisdiction in order to prevent the spread of COVID 19. However, northern governors have since announced their decision not to impose any lockdown on the region.

Based on that curious decision the members of the public have been mounting pressure on the governments of the Federal Capital Territory, Lagos and Ogun States to lift the extended lockdown imposed by President Buhari on Monday, April 13, 2020.

While the NCDC has directed anyone who tests positive to COVID-19 to report for treatment in isolation centres for treatment and monitoring former Chief of Staff to the President, the late Mr. Abba Kyari. was allowed to be treated in a cardiological centre, a private hospital in Ikoyi, Lagos State.

Since then some influential people who tested positive to COVID-19 are said to have insisted on treatment in private hospitals without official authorisation.

Unfortunately, Mr. Kyari passed on last Friday. Embarrased by the unfortunate development the Lagos State Government was reported to have that the hospital was granted permission to treat COVID-19 patients. But the health minister, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, has categorically asserted that :“As at today, there is no private hospital that has been accredited to manage Covid-19 case in Nigeria.

There is none in Abuja here that I know of. But I think Lagos is looking at some accredited hospitals and there is one large hospital in Lagos that has called me that it wants to become a Coronavirus treatment centre.”

Since no private hospital has been accredited by the NCDC to treat COVID-19 patients the death of Mr. Abba Kyari ought to be investigated by the Federal Government.

As if the fundamental breach of the rule of COVID-19 Guidelines on treatment of patients was not enough, a crowd was allowed to participate and witness the interment of the remains Mr. Kyari. Thus the NCDC Guideline that mass gathering be avoided to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 was violated with impunity.

Apart from defying the directive on social distancing some members of the crowd disregarded the wearing of face masks. And in a rather bizzaire manner, a man who had taken part in the burial ceremony pulled off his dress pulled off his Person Protective Equipment(PPE) and left it beside a car in Maitama District, Abuja.

Upon the conclusion of the burial ceremony video clips have been trending in the social media showing the crowd and the serial breaches of the NCDC Guidelines by highly placed public officers and other members of the public at the burial site.

Furthermore, even though the COVID 19 Guideline on social distancing has not been lifted some governors have suspended lockdown for Juma’at prayers at a time that the authorities in Saudi Arabia have banned any gathering for prayers and pilgrimages.

In view of recent reports which have confirmed community transmission of the cononavirus disease the lifting of the ban for religious purposes ought to be reviewed.

After all, the governments of Ondo and Rivers States which had lifted the ban on religious gathering for Easter celebrations had to reverse the decision based on the advice of the Nigerian Medical Association.

Having regards to the disturbing increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and the warning of health experts that the worst is not yet over in Nigeria the fight against COVID 19 should be carried out in a more organised manner by the Federal Government and the state governments. Since public hospitals are in shambles in Nigeria the NCDC cannot afford to combat COVID-19 in a slip shot manner.

The NCDC should henceforth operate without bending the rules to satisfy partisan political interests. In particular, the NCND must ensure that the burials of all other victims of COVID 19 are carried out in strict compliance with the prescribed rules and guidelines.

It is pertinent to point out that the NCDC Guidelines have the backing of the law as they have been incorporated in the 2020 COVID-19 Regulations made by President Buhari pursuant to the Quaratine Act, Cap Q2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

From the foregoing, it is indisputable that there is an obvious lack of a coherent COVID-19 policy. This puts to question dangerously the seriousness of the Federal Government in the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

No doubt, President Buhari has paid glowing tribute to the late Mr. Abba Kyari. But the greatest tribute that can be paid to the deceased and the other 18 citizens that have lost their precious lives on account of complications arising from COVID-19 is for the Federal, State and Local Governments to embark on fixing and equipping public hospitals without any further delay.

Just last week, the British Prime Minister, Mr. Boris Johnson, who was discharged from a public hospital in London after his treatment for COVID-19, was full of adulation for the National Health Service(NHS) of his country. That should be a sober lesson for members of the ruling class in Nigeria who usually spend public funds on medical treatment in foreign medical centres.

COVID-19 Lockdown: Falana Calls For Investigation Into Extrajudicial Killing Of 21 Persons

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has called for an investigation into alleged killing of 21 persons by security forces during the COVID-19 lockdown.

In his letter dated April 16 and titled, Re: COVID-19 Killings By Security Forces, and addressed to the secretary, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, Falana said 21 Nigerians have lost their in the hands of trigger-happy security officers.

The Human rights activist urged the NHRC to update its report which claims that 18 persons have been killed to 21 persons because three other persons were killed in Cross Rivers and Anambra states during the lcokdown.

“Our attention has been drawn to your report on the 18 people that were brutally killed in Kaduna, Abia, Niger and Katsina States by the armed personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigeria Police Force and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps deployed by the Federal Government to enforce the COVID-19 Regulations.

READ ALSO: Why Nigeria Is Not Among Beneficiaries Of Recent IMF Debt Relief – Finance Minister

“However, we have confirmed the unlawful killing of three other persons after the compilation of your report. Specifically, a taxi driver was reported to have been to death by security officials in Cross River State while two other persons were shot dead by the Police in Anambra State.

“Thus, you will agree with us that 21 Nigerian citizens have lost their lives in the hands of trigger happy security personnel under the pretext of enforcing the COVID-19 Regulations,” the letter read in part.

Falana added that apart from updating its report, the NHRC should conduct an investigation into the unlawful killing of the 21 persons and ensure that the culprits are prosecuted for murder or culpable homicide.

He also requested that the NHRC should ensure that the bereaved family members of the slain citizens are adequately compensated by the federal government.

Allow Judges Hear Applications Via Skype, Falana Writes CJN

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice I.T. Muhammad requesting that courts re-open and judges hear applications via Skype or Zoom.

In his letter titled, “Request To Re-Open Courts To Attend To Bail Applications And Fundamental Rights Applications,” the human rights activist said it is important that the National Judicial Council (NJC) review its decision to suspend court sitting till further notice.

According to Falana, this review is necessary in view of the fact that motions for the bail of many criminal suspects and applications are pending in several courts in all the states of the federation and in the federal capital territory.

He added that decision to re-open courts is also necessary to ensure that thousands of people who are either awaiting trial or under investigation are not subjected to unlawful detention.

READ ALSO: Wike Declares Caverton Helicopters Persona Non Grata, Orders Closure Of Airline’s Offices

Read the full letter below…

REQUEST TO RE-OPEN COURTS TO ATTEND TO BAIL APPLICATIONS AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS APPLICATIONS

Pursuant to Your Lordship’s letter dated March 23, 2020, all Heads of courts in the country were directed to suspend court sittings for two weeks in tandem with the COVID-19 Regulations issued by President Muhammadu Buhari.

In another letter dated April 6, 2020 Your Lordship extended the suspension of court sittings “till further notice given the lockdown measures put in place by the federal government and some state governments to curb the spread of COVID-19. ”
No doubt, the decision of the National Judicial Council to suspend the sittings of all courts was predicated on the need to protect our Judicial Officers and judicial staff from the coronavirus pandemic.

However, in view of the decision of the federal government to relax the lockdown by allowing markets, shops and stalls selling food and groceries to open to customers between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm daily the National Judicial Council ought to review the suspension of court sittings to enable them to attend to urgent matters.

The review has become necessary in view of the fact that motions for the bail of many criminal suspects and applications to secure the enforcement of the fundamental right to personal liberty of other detainees are pending in several courts in all the states of the federation and in the federal capital territory.

In addition, the return dates in respect of several ex parte orders made by Magistrates for the remand of a number of criminal suspects which have since expired are due to be quashed or renewed to extend time for further investigation.

In order to ensure that thousands of people who are either awaiting trial or under investigation are not subjected to unlawful detention we are confident that our humble request will be granted.

More so that the heads of the various courts are vested with the power to designate Judges and Magistrates to attend to urgent matters in accordance with the laws establishing such courts.

However, in order to observe the social distancing directive we suggest that arrangements be made for Judges to hear urgent applications via Skype or Zoom.

While awaiting Your Lordship’s response to our request please accept the assurances of our highest professional regards.

Yours Sincerely,
Femi Falana SAN, FCI Arb.

Allow Judges Hear Applications Via Skype, Falana Writes CJN

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has written to the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice I.T. Muhammad requesting that courts re-open and judges hear applications via Skype or Zoom.

In his letter titled, “Request To Re-Open Courts To Attend To Bail Applications And Fundamental Rights Applications,” the human rights activist said it is important that the National Judicial Council (NJC) review its decision to suspend court sitting till further notice.

According to Falana, this review is necessary in view of the fact that motions for the bail of many criminal suspects and applications are pending in several courts in all the states of the federation and in the federal capital territory.

He added that decision to re-open courts is also necessary to ensure that thousands of people who are either awaiting trial or under investigation are not subjected to unlawful detention.

READ ALSO: FG Grants Amnesty To Ambrose Alli, Enahoro, Effiong, Pardons 2,600 Inmates

Read The Full Letter Below

REQUEST TO RE-OPEN COURTS TO ATTEND TO BAIL APPLICATIONS AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS APPLICATIONS

Pursuant to Your Lordship’s letter dated March 23, 2020, all Heads of courts in the country were directed to suspend court sittings for two weeks in tandem with the COVID-19 Regulations issued by President Muhammadu Buhari. In another letter dated April 6, 2020, Your Lordship extended the suspension of court sittings “till further notice given the lockdown measures put in place by the federal government and some state governments to curb the spread of COVID-19. ”

No doubt, the decision of the National Judicial Council to suspend the sittings of all courts was predicated on the need to protect our Judicial Officers and judicial staff from the coronavirus pandemic. However, in view of the decision of the federal government to relax the lockdown by allowing markets, shops and stalls selling food and groceries to open to customers between the hours of 10:00 am and 2:00 pm daily the National Judicial Council ought to review the suspension of court sittings to enable them to attend to urgent matters.

The review has become necessary in view of the fact that motions for the bail of many criminal suspects and applications to secure the enforcement of the fundamental right to personal liberty of other detainees are pending in several courts in all the states of the federation and in the federal capital territory. In addition, the return dates in respect of several ex parte orders made by Magistrates for the remand of a number of criminal suspects which have since expired are due to be quashed or renewed to extend the time for further investigation.

In order to ensure that thousands of people who are either awaiting trial or under investigation are not subjected to unlawful detention we are confident that our humble request will be granted. More so that the heads of the various courts are vested with the power to designate Judges and Magistrates to attend to urgent matters in accordance with the laws establishing such courts.

However, in order to observe the social distancing directive we suggest that arrangements be made for Judges to hear urgent applications via Skype or Zoom.

While awaiting Your Lordship’s response to our request please accept the assurances of our highest professional regards.

Yours Sincerely,

Femi Falana SAN, FCI Arb.

UPDATED: Court Adjourns Trial Of Sowore, Bakare Till April

File Photo: Channels TV/Sodiq Adelakun

 

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned the trial of the Convener of #RevolutionNow movement, Omoyele Sowore, and his co-defendant, Olawale Bakare.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu adjourned the trial until April 1 and 2 in a ruling on Wednesday following the objection raised by the counsel to the defendants, Femi Falana.

Falana had challenged the testimony of the first witness presented by the prosecution, for giving evidence outside his written statement.

But the prosecutor, Kayode Halilu, insisted that he served a summary of the witness statement on the defendants’ counsel and the witness.

The witness is one Rasheed Olawale, a Principal Staff Officer of the Department of State Services (DSS) in charge of Surveillance and Communication Intelligence at the Lagos State Command.

After listening to both counsels, the trial judge ruled that the witness cannot be allowed to depose to a four-paragraph statement and give a 10-page of evidence.

She subsequently adjourned the trial to enable the prosecutor to reproduce the witness’ statement.

Sowore and Bakare are facing trial over treason and money laundering charges filed against them by the Federal Government.

They have, however, pleaded not guilty and have since been granted bail by the court.

The government had filed a motion on notice praying the court to grant an order excluding persons other than lawyers and accredited members of the press from witnessing the proceedings.

It also sought an order to clear the court whenever the prosecution witnesses were testifying, such that only the trial judge, parties and legal representatives, as well as accredited members of the press, would be able to see them.

The prosecution also asked for an order that the real names and addresses of the prosecution witnesses in the proceedings should not be disclosed.

Shortly before Sowore and Bakare’s trial began on Wednesday, Justice Ojukwu adjourned ruling on an application by the prosecution seeking to have witnesses shielded in the trial of the defendants.

This followed the request of Halilu who informed the court that the defence team served him a counter-affidavit and he needed time to reply to it.

Sanusi’s Dethronement And Banishment Is Illegal, Says Falana

 

Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has described the dethronement and banishment of the Muhammadu Sanusi (II), as illegal.

He said this on Tuesday during an interview on Channels TV’s Politics Today.

“The dethronement, the Banishment and restriction of movement and detention are all clearly illegal.

“In the first place, the governor held an Executive Council meeting presided over by him and within a space of five minutes, the emir had been accused of executing disrespect to constituted authority, meaning the governor and in the meeting presided over by the governor where he was the accuser, the prosecutor and the witness,” he said.

According to him, the emir was dethroned without being given any opportunity to defend himself.

“As if such violation of his freedom and right to fair hearing was not enough, the governor was alleged to have ordered his arrest and banishment to his village in Nasarawa State,” Falana added.

“You do not impeach a governor and decide to detain him somewhere. He has the right to move freely, he has the right to exercise all his powers”.

When asked if he (Sanusi) has the legal grounds to challenge the dethronement, Falana said, “for sure”.

Meanwhile, Sanusi’s Lawyers have already threatened to take legal action if the state authorities don’t release him within the next 24 hours.

The lawyers made this known during a press briefing on Tuesday in Abuja while the emir was being moved from Loko Development Area of Nasarawa State to Awe Local Government Area.

Operation Positive Identification: Court Fixes May 15 For Verdict

 

The Federal High Court in Lagos has fixed May 15 to give its verdict on a suit instituted by human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, over planned implementation of the “Operation Positive Identification’ by the Nigerian Army.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa fixed the date after listening to arguments from the lawyers representing all the parties in the suit.

Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), had filed the Fundamental Rights Enforcement suit on October 25, 2019, against the planned exercise by the army scheduled to hold from November 1 to December 23.

Alongside the Nigerian Army, Mr Falana listed the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai; and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, as the respondents to the suit.

The senior lawyer in his suit asked the court to stop the implementation of the exercise, arguing that the operation – which would entail Nigerians to move around with a valid means of identification such as the National Identification Card, Voters Registration Card, Drivers’ Licence and passports or other valid official identification – is unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

READ ALSO: South-South Governors To Establish Regional Security Network

Citing several authorities, Mr Falana submitted that armed troops are not allowed by law to mount checkpoints on highways in the country. He says this is a job for the police and the respondents have not shown why the soldiers must take over the duties of the police.

He also submitted that the Appeal Courts have ruled severally that the army has no business in civil actions neither are they allowed to get involved in elections.

He argued that the relief sought pertains to his right to life, liberty, and freedom of movement as there was a likelihood that the soldiers could shoot to death any individual who failed to produce any means of identification on demand.

While asking the court to grant his fundamental rights application, Falana insisted that his move was completely anchored on Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution.

But the three respondents to the suit filed a preliminary objection challenging the suit.

In her arguments on the preliminary objection today, Counsel to the Nigerian Army and the Chief of Army Staff, Mrs Olayemi Badewole asked the court to dismiss the suit for lack of merit.

She argued that Mr Falana’s complaints are all based on Newspaper publications which are speculative. She further stressed that the reliefs sought are spent as the time-lapse for the nationwide operation had since elapsed and the case had become academic. She urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of merit.

Counsel to the AGF, Mr Terhember Agbe, on his part, asked the court to take judicial notice of the insurgency in the country and the call for the sack of the Service Chiefs.

He stressed that operation positive identification had been going on in the North East and was a means by the army to fish out criminals and stop the breach of peace.

He claimed that the move to extend the exercise to other parts of the country was not aimed at shooting Nigerians or infringing on the fundamental human rights as guaranteed in the nation’s constitution.

Agbe also submitted that no evidence had been placed before the court to show that Operation Positive Identification has caused the death of any Nigerian.

He, therefore, urged the court not to give in to Mr Falana’s fear, a fear which he says is not founded in law and is not in the public interest.

After listening to all the arguments, the court fixed May 15 for its verdict.

Bayelsa Election: Falana Says Supreme Court Is Wrong, Lacks Jurisdiction

Mr Femi Falana

 

 

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has reacted to the judgment of the Supreme Court on the governorship election in Bayelsa State.

In an exclusive with Channels Television, he said the apex court made a mistake when it treated a pre-election matter as a post-election case.

“What their Lordships ought to have done was to ask the lawyers, ‘can you address us with respect to our jurisdiction?’

“Because Section 133 of the Electoral Act stipulates that upon the conclusion of an election and once candidates are declared, any challenge of the conduct of the election, of the qualification of the candidates shall be heard and determined by an Election Petition Tribunal,” Falana stated.

On February 13, a five-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Peter-Odili sacked David Lyon and Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winners of the November 16, 2019 governorship poll.

The court then ordered the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to the APC candidates and issue fresh certificates to the candidate of the party with the next highest votes, and with the required constitutional spread of votes in the results of the election.

It disqualified Degi-Eremieoyo as a candidate in the election for submitting forged certificates to INEC, stressing that the deputy-governorship candidate had infected the joint ticket with which he and Lyon ran for and won the election.

This led to the declaration of Senator Douye Diri and Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the winners of the election and subsequent swearing-in as the governor and deputy governors of Bayelsa State.

The leadership of the APC and Degi-Eremieoyo have separately asked the apex court to review its judgement on the election.

In his reaction, Falana who has disagreed with the APC led government on many issues insisted that the apex court made a mistake.

He stressed that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the matter, saying it should have gone before the Election Petition Tribunal.

Ahead of the review of the judgment by the Supreme Court, the senior advocate was hopeful that the opportunity would further develop and strengthen the country’s laws.

He said, “The election was held on the basis of the judgement of the Court of Appeal which was to the fact that yes! Degi-Eremieoyo changed his name many times, not that he forged any of his certificates; there was no such proof. Therefore, he can contest the election.”

“On the basis of that judgement, the people voted; which means by that judgement, the election was valid and legal.

“As of that date, there was no pending appeal before the Supreme Court whereby INEC could be accused of having violated the doctrines of lis pendens i.e. ‘since you knew a case was in court, why did you hold election? As was the case of Peter Obi and INEC,” he added.

Falana stated that it was after the conclusion of the election that the PDP filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.

He stressed, “With profound respect, the attention of the Supreme Court was not drawn to the legality of that appeal; the case had become spent.”