The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop the persecution of the former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, explaining that if the body has any case against the former minister it should pursue this within the confines of the law.
The group stated this in a press statement signed by Halima Ibrahim, National Treasurer and Micheal Obokhale, Deputy Head, National Expansion, adding that it was worried that under this administration tyranny and dictatorship were gradually becoming the norm in the guise of fighting corruption.
“We have watched with growing concern, as the hands of tyranny and oppression gradually creeps back into our existence. While under military rule, national interest was the pretext for taking away the fundamental rights of citizens. But under this dispensation, the fight against corruption had become the justification for all manner of lawlessness and brigandage by the agents of state, trusted with the responsibility to fight corruption,” the CLO said.
It added: “Specifically, we have watched with disbelief how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has treated Nigerians to the tragi-comedy of invading people’s homes without a court warrant as required by our laws. Needless to recall how many Nigerians are detained against court orders, we make particular reference to the invasion of the house of a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN in Kano about a fortnight ago.
‘’At the end of the raid, in which it returned empty handed, the EFCC announced that it raided the house in search of documents. It did not however say whether the document it was looking for was to be used in prosecuting Mr. Adoke or to serve other undeclared purposes. If the document was meant to serve prosecution purpose, it would therefore be suggested that the EFCC had no evidence on the basis of which to prosecute the former Attorney General. It means also that EFCC’s method is to arrest and arraign first, then investigate after. This is certainly against the letters and spirit of our laws.”
The body however stated that it did not condone corruption and would not comment on the merit of the EFCC’s case against Mr Adoke, but argued that ‘’If the EFCC has any credible evidence against the former Attorney-General, by any means, they should prosecute him. However, such should be done within the confines of the law.’’
The CLO state that it is concerned about the recent interview granted by Adoke where he alleged that his life was in danger because of powerful interests involved in the oil transaction deal for which he is being harassed and who are bent on silencing him to cover their culpability.
“If this is true,’’ the body stated, ‘’ then Nigerians should be worried and therefore should pay more attention to issues regarding the transaction of OPL 245 and ask who would want Mr. Adoke dead. He has mentioned names of people that were involved in the deal. Perhaps, it is about time the EFCC got serious and started looking in the directions of these people as well.
‘’We recall with great sorrow, the brutal assassination of the former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Chief Ajibola Ige about 15 years ago. Up till date no one has been arrested or prosecuted for the crime, even though at the time of his death, the government vowed to apprehend and punish the perpetrators.
‘’The CLO hereby warns that Mr Adoke must not come to the same tragic end as his predecessor. The EFCC must therefore rethink its undemocratic, fascist and unlawful excesses that have become associated with the Commission lately.
‘’The media trials, and the dramatic invasion of homes for the camera, do not add to the anti-corruption credentials of the agency. In carrying out its crucial assignment, the EFCC should follow the dictates of the rule of law and ensure that they do not become willing and unwilling tools used by powerful forces to prosecute their private battles,’’ the body added.
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