Arms procurement probe: Rights of suspects not violated – Falana

Femi Falana
Femi Falana

The federal government has not acted against the law by detaining beyond 48 hours persons indicted of mismanaging security funds, a senior Nigerian lawyer has said.

Femi Falana said contrary to concerns raised by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and some legal practitioners that the federal government is acting with impunity by detaining some suspects beyond 48 hours, the rights of the suspects have not been violated in any way.

In a statement released on Sunday, Mr. Falana said the government has handled the investigation within the ambit of the law so far.

The immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, alongside the former Governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa, the founder of DAAR Communications PLC, Raymond Dokpesi, and a former Chairman of the defunct Presidential Implementation Committee on Marine Safety (PICOMMS), Salihu Atawodi, have been detained beyond the statutory 48 hours by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, in connection with the probe of how billions of dollars meant for arms procurement was spent.

Mr. Falana said the complaints that their rights have been violated are merely ploy to divert the attention of the public from “the grave allegations” of recklessly diverting public funds meant for arms procurement.

He said the suspects’ “arrest and continued detention was in line with section 293 – 299 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA).

“The attention of the ‘critics’ ought to be drawn to sections 293-299 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA) which stipulate that a suspect arrested for an offence which a magistrate has no jurisdiction to try, shall within a reasonable time, be brought before a magistrate court for remand,” he stated.

“The order which shall be for a period not exceeding 14 days may be further extended provided that if the investigation is not concluded within 28 days the court may summon the appropriate authority to show cause why the suspect should not be unconditionally released.

“Suspects who are remanded in custody are at liberty to ask for bail or apply to the appropriate high court to secure the enforcement of their fundamental right to personal liberty.

“In view of the clear and unambiguous provisions of the law it is misleading to insist that a magistrate court lacks the power to grant the application filed by the EFCC for the detention of the criminal suspects.

He therefore called on the government not to buckle to pressure of people he said have lost their sense of shame and would rather the accused are left off the hook.

“As corruption is already mobilizing to fight back, the Buhari administration should ignore the reckless campaign of calumny of certain people who have lost their sense of shame. As far as they are concerned the suspects should be left alone to enjoy their loot while soldiers are losing their precious lives due to lack of adequate weapons.

“The federal government should ensure that all individuals and corporate bodies indicted in the criminal diversion of public funds are made to face the full wrath of the law.

“The anti graft agencies should disregard the cheap blackmail, speed up the investigation and charge all indicted suspects to court while the courts are enjoined to conduct the trial of the suspects under the ACJA which requires that the trials be conducted day by day,” he said.

Mr. Falana suggested that government should set up a dedicated account where they money would be recovered from the suspects would be kept and used to procure equipment for the military and create job for unemployed Nigerian youth as well as build and repair decapitated public infrastructure.

Mr. Falana further stated that the funds that was allegedly misappropriated was not $2.1 billion as erroneously reported in the media but $2.1 billion plus N643 billion, which bring the total fund to $6 billion.

“The actual amount stolen is $2.1 billion and N643 billion. The total missing fund is $6 billion, he said.

Mr. Falana, who was counsel to some soldiers sentenced to death for refusing to fight Boko Haram with inadequate equipment said it was only proper for the government to release the detained soldiers following revelations of how the monies meant for the purchase of arms were spent.

“In the light of the earth-shaking and ear-aching revelations oozing out of the EFCC to the effect that a handful of individuals cornered and shared the huge fund earmarked for the procurement of military hardware to prosecute the war on terror, all the convicted military officers and soldiers who have been convicted including the 70 who were sentenced to death should be released forthwith.

“As I have repeatedly maintained the soldiers were committed and sentenced to death for asking for weapons to fight the terrorists. They were ordered to fight with unserviceable equipment on the ground that there was no money to purchase new weapons. In the process, the well-equipped insurgents routed and massacred thousands of the country’s ill-equipped soldiers due to the diversion of the fund set aside to purchase equipment.

“The suspects must bear full responsibility for committing such grave crimes against humanity.

“Consequently, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 we have applied for a certified true copy of the report of the arms procurement panel with a view to ensuring that some of the suspects are prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity,” he said.


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  • Bejim

    Falana is no Gani, hence consistency is not his virtue.

    • sunny

      falana is very right ok , mr corruption supporter , wailing wailer .

    • Baba B

      What has he’s not Gani got to do with it. Is he the author of the section of the ACJA he just quoted. Mumu sef must yarn

      • share Idea

        Have you not known that Constitution provides that someone should not be detained for more than 48hrs without government charging the person to court. Mr Falana sees no evil in any acts perpetuated by this administration. Can he please educate us if the new ACJA equally empowered the federal to lay siege at the house of a citizen that was granted freedom to travel out for medical. Nigeria we hail thee

        • Burbank

          Wrong
          Not 48 hrs but 28 days as section 293-299 of the ACJAwas explained clearly above.
          Nnamdi Kanu had already been charged within the 28 days period of the ACJA laws, among the pioneer suspects to be so charged under the ACJA, approved and signed into law by Jonathan, just 2 weeks before he step down.

        • tundemash

          Falan quoted the section of the law to back his claim, you give us the section of the constitution to back your own claim too.

        • Reymeline

          That is generality/ civil, but for criminality like the present arm deals, for thorough investigation to be carried-out, ACJA applies and for not to allow the suspect to go on hidden, they can be detained for 14 dats or more if the authority applies for that and if granted by court. Also the suspect also have right to request for bail. Dopesy did and was granted, and there is nobody requested that clarmour not granted. The case of Dausuki, this present issue is fresh not the same issue he is granted bail for.

    • tundemash

      Even when Gani was around, some of the e-rats of the govt. of the day then, just like you, also berated Gani. Aside wailing, what other virtue can we ascribe to you Mr. Wailing Wailer?

      • Bejim

        Berated Gani? Someone actually imprisoned him without trial, and that’s certainly not me!

        • Burbank

          Dont worry
          You will be imprisoned without trial too.

        • tundemash

          U still haven’t told us aside wailing, what other virtue can we ascribe to you Mr. Wailing Wailer?

  • duwdu

    The revelation by Falana of section 293-299 of the relevant law covering holding suspects, is very educative, and shows that the executive has so far not trampled on the freedom of those under detention. Thanks for the heads up, Mr. Falana.

    For those who missed that part of the story, here it is again:

    “The attention of the ‘critics’ ought to be drawn to sections 293-299 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 (ACJA) which stipulate that a suspect arrested for an offence which a magistrate has no jurisdiction to try, shall within a reasonable time, be brought before a magistrate court for remand,” he stated.

    “The order which shall be for a period not exceeding 14 days may be further extended provided that if the investigation is not concluded within 28 days the court may summon the appropriate authority to show cause why the suspect should not be unconditionally released.
    “Suspects who are remanded in custody are at liberty to ask for bail or apply to the appropriate high court to secure the enforcement of their fundamental right to personal liberty.
    “In view of the clear and unambiguous provisions of the law it is misleading to insist that a magistrate court lacks the power to grant the application filed by the EFCC for the detention of the criminal suspects…”

    P34c3
    …..

    • Jon Rhoma

      Hmmm but didn’t they say it is judicial rascality for Magistrates’ to try cases beyond their sentencing jurisdiction. As you quoted the law to say they should be brought to them for remand and considering all suspects are entitled to bail subject to the relevant sections of CPA and CPC whichever applies and in particular as bail is at the discretion of the Magistrates’ to grant is the section not restrictive in terms?

    • tuby NY

      Yup!.. tanks 4educating these half-illiterate or ill-informed ppl here that are just writing junk. Mr. Falana explained in clear details wth specific (2015 amendments) laws that guided d gov’t actions accordingly, n hw n wht makes it legal.

      Yet, some fools still read n obviously can’t understand.. as simple as d lawyer (Mr. Falana) clearly explained!! I just don’t understand or wht 2 attribute this kind of attitude 2 — illiteracy or just their shear hatred 4d President (Buhari) yo?

  • Sunday umah

    God bless you sir, it would be disheartening if this group of nonentities are not change under ICC for thief and mass murders of innocent civilians and soldiers. May God destroy this group of thieves

    • Burbank

      No need for ICC.

      Just send them to the Federal High Court in Yola and Justice Bilkisu Aliyu will give them 10 years hard labour for every single charge.

      • True Nigerian

        Mmmhhhh! That’s interesting. Please tell me about Justice Bilkisu. That’s the kind of person that should be made the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the President of the Appeal Court, and CJN. Nigeria still has a few of such judges. Trouble is that the terrible ones have risen into high positions in the judiciary and will remain there for a while. What we can do in our current sense of urgency is to amend the laws that will enable us to rein in on the corrupt judges more quickly; amend the laws to limit the discretion of judges and options available to lawyers on the regulation of proceedings, procedures, threshold of evidence, case management, and sentencing. We should also establish special courts where the judges will be selected from the good ones we still have. Furthermore, we should amend the laws to effect the fast-tracking of cases.

        • Burbank

          To reign in our corrupt judges, NJC has to take the lead but since the judges there are rotten, its unlikely to be effective.And since these judges are shielded by our laws from the president’s powers, the NJC will protect their compromised and dishonoured members, and sell judgements for bribes.
          The Code of Conduct Tribunal may be a more effective short-term avenue to wipe out corrupt judges;the long-term plan is to elevate upright judges to replace retiring corrupt justices in the NJC

          But EFCC ICPC DSS NPF CBN must provide hard proofs against corrupt judges to the CCT

        • Esteem

          we should visit this judges and burn them and their families to ashes they are a disgrace to the Nation, also i plan to visit Bode George and family as well this rogue should be wiped out or better try them all in China.

      • One Nigeria

        You always speak from both sides of your mouth. Grow up, and join in the fight against High and low thieves. A thief is a thief. Call him High Chief Dup or Babalawo Baraf

  • bikky

    Nice information, have been thinking that probably they have been detained beyond stipulated time, meanwhile they can continue to have their Christmas there if they refuse to cooperate thethe investigators. Infact Nigerians should no longer look for Bokoharam sponsors any longer these people should be held responsible, also Chief Falana should see to the release of Mr Kuti, the general that ran away when Bokoharam visited his base.

  • tundemash

    “The suspects must bear full responsibility for committing such grave crimes against humanity.

    “Consequently, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 we have applied for a certified true copy of the report of the arms procurement panel with a view to ensuring that some of the suspects are prosecuted by the Special Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity,” he said.

    Nice one, I believe the ICC will understand the “witch-hunt” of Dokpesi’s family version of the story and the “spiritual purposes” of Bafarawa N4b heist.

    • True Nigerian

      Hahahaha! They will attack Femi for saying the truth. But who cares. Where the witch happens to be guilty, there is absolutely nothing wrong in hunting them. Let the witch-hunt continue. I’m all for it.

      • lala

        Seconded.

        • Burbank

          I bring the matches and gasoline.

  • Just as we condemned the illegal court-marshal and sentences of the poor army officers who were asking for equipments to fight a war, we condemn the arrests of any Nigerian without due process. We’ve been informed that no warrants were even issued for these arrests. And bails were not granted. Arresting citizens and held in incommunicado is illegal in any civilized society. The era of dictatorships are over. This administration is advised to follow due process to fight and prosecute corruption for the sake of credibility.

    • lala

      We don hear. If justice must err, let it do so on the side of the greater good. Ours isnt a perfect system. But surely we will get there.

    • Burbank

      The suspects can always sued the federal government if they had been wrongly arrested or detained.

    • tundemash

      A nonentity attaches USA to his name to attract some recognition. While you were tAba, were u known as George Aba then? Does democracy allow the sharing of your destiny by these rogues ? Your mates are protesting in Nigeria but easier for you to hang in whatever part of USA hoping the OBAMA election promise pardoning illegal immigrants in USA wil become a reality. You better face your immigration wahala instead of supporting rogues who indirectly contributed to your seeking fake asylum in the USA in the first place.

      • No Bull …..

        That guy GEORGE_USA is so worried about the rights of these powerful and rich criminals. If you have been reading his posts, you will know that he is a dedicated Buhari hater. He believes that due process is the only way to clean up Nigeria.

        • tundemash

          Was due process observed when the rogues were stealing his destiny? Don’t mind the cl0wn!

        • You are incorrect. I stand corrected. Our laws and the constitution to which we pay allegiance can take care of these evils that destroy our nation. We don’t have to engage in lawlessness to end corruption and impunity in Nigeria. If a nigerian administration cannot follow the law and the constitution, then it has no business running our Nation. Every Nigerian must be protected. For 45 yrs we were subjected to useless decrees. We couldn’t even talk about any miscarriage of justice. We must never allow that to happen again. The laws and the constitution would do a credible justice than any Gestapo recklessness.

          • No Bull …..

            Are we talking about our flawed justice system, the one that acquitted Ibori ? IMO, our judicial system is not credible enough to handle such high profile cases. You can’t have a corrupt system (judicial ) trying highly corrupt officials.
            Some times you have to bend the law for a common good. It is like doing good with the hand of evil.

          • This is the same argument we heard from dictators to justify their decades of destruction to our democracy. While no democracy is perfect, it is far better than any form of lawlessness or dictatorship. Corrupt Judges are removed daily in America. Not by the president, but by the people. Our democracy is in its infancy because of the destruction by the dictators. Let’s start building our democratic institution into a formidable tool of justice. This lawlessness is taking us back to the dark era of military dictatorship.

  • MushinSpeaks

    What right are they claiming please? Who will give life to the dead soldiers killed by the insurgents? Cash meant to purchase arm, they shared among themselves and even condemned them to death for revolting not to fight without ammunition. Hasten up these looters judgement please.

  • favourtalk

    When he ends up in prison, you will defend him. We wants all that stole our money to return them now or else, we will make sure we go to the street and defend ourselves. Change is already here and no room for corruption again

  • Ette

    How would people who are sponsors of boko haram that has been killing innocent NIGERIANS as if they are chicken have any rights. How would people who killed by blatant stealing of our resources be allowed any iota of freedom. These people use our money to sponsor boko haram to kill NIGERIANS and when they were losing election on the back of boko haram, they opened our treasury and poured more money to appease boko haram to retreat to Sambisa forest within six weeks, and lied to NIGERIANS that they were winning the battle. Let them produce the arms they bought during that time to execute the six weeks miracle. They must be treated as they treated the soldiers and those who had been killed by their sponsored boko haram.