The legal team of an ex-governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, who is said to be in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has sued the commission for detaining him for over 72 hours after he turned himself in.
The senator, who turned himself in after he was declared wanted by the EFCC over fraud related charges, is also seeking N500 million in damages from the EFCC.
David Dusu, the lawmaker’s legal representative, stated this Wednesday in Jos, during a press conference.
“We have approached an Abuja High Court against EFCC to immediately release our client (Jonah Jang), we also demand N500 million compensation for his illegal detention in EFCC custody,” he said.
He added that Mr Jang has been on administrative bail from the EFCC since December 2017, who also seized his international passport to prevent him from jumping bail.
The lawyer said Mr Jang is a responsible Nigerian who had held public positions and who should not be treated as a common criminal.
Mr Dusu said Mr Jang had earlier sued the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed for including his name in a controversial looters’ list recently published by the federal government. The list had claimed that Mr Jang, a senator representing Plateau North, stole N12 billion from the state’s treasury while serving as governor.
According to Mr Jang’s legal team, the detained senator was on medication before his arrest by the EFCC.
It was gathered that the EFCC has slammed a 12-count charge against Mr Jang, at the Plateau State High Court since Friday, but is yet to arraign him.
The agency says the former governor allegedly misappropriated over N6.3 billion while in office.
The EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, did not return calls or reply text messages seeking to find out why the senator is still being detained.
Meanwhile, executives of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state engaged in an altercation over Mr Jang’s ordeal.
Commenting on the arrest, the state chairman of the PDP, Damishi Sango, said the way Mr Jang was being treated by the EFCC was unfair since he had already turned himself in.
Mr Sango, who made the party’s position known Tuesday night, said due diligence in arresting and prosecuting the former governor was not duly carried out by the EFCC.
He said “while the appropriate agencies of government are at liberty to discharge their statutory and constitutional mandates, due diligence, respect for due process and the rule of law must be followed.”
But the state publicity secretary of the APC, Chindo Dafat, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday morning said the arrest and prosecution of Mr Jang was long over due.
Mr Dafat also faulted claims by Mr Sango that due process was not followed in detaining Mr Jang.
”Nobody should be seen to be above the law. The EFCC are doing their legitimate duties, noone should interfere in the affairs of the agency. If they are holding Jang since Monday, it should be for a purpose. Justice must be seen to be done to all, irrespective of whatever status,” he said.
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