The Impunity of the EFCC and the Condonation of the Court by Douglas Ogbankwa, Esq.

Nigeria is gradually sliding into a Police State , sadly in a democratic setting. There is the preponderance of security agencies, especially the EFCC , from City to City in Nigeria, raiding night clubs, lounges and hang outs , arresting every one in sight, impounding their vehicles , phones and other chattels, without a valid Court Order.

How can you arrest everyone in a place? How can different people from different homes and backgrounds, with different professions, be suspected of the same Offence? Are there no normal hardworking people that go to clubs and Hang Outs? What is this Country turning into? A blatant rape on our Constitution while we idle by and look .

Even in the height of the despotic Abacha Military Junta, the Fundamental Human Rights of Citizens were not infringed upon with the impunity with which the EFCC clamps down on Citizens in Nigeria today, disobeys court orders and boasts about the spoils of their impunity.

The Judiciary has been complicit in fueling this impunity, some Judges of the Federal High Court to be precise.

In the face of the rape on human rights of citizens and proof of same, some Judges of the Court treat the issues with levity and I wonder whether in such circumstances there is still the hope for the common man?

When they even grant the defendants bail after days or sometimes weeks in EFCC detention, they will impose obnoxious conditions on the defendants that will leave them in Prison for months.

They will not stop there, they will ask the EFCC to verify the Surety or Sureties an act that is completely unconstitutional. How can the EFCC a Party in a Matter verify the Surety or Sureties of another party?

Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999( as Amended ) is clear on the issue of memo dat non quod habet: “No one can be a judge in his cause” .

To show the incongruity of such orders by some Federal High Court Judges, a Lawyer in one of the Zonal Offices of the EFCC , after initially writing a letter clearing the sureties in a matter he is involved in,vupon the letter being returned to him for correction as there was mistake as to name, after giving same back to the bailiff of court, he recalled the letter from the bailiff on the pretence that he was going to put a seal, he withheld the letter on the ground that he has been served proceedings relating to Fundamental Human Rights of the Defendant in the Matter.

It was a huge trajectory of issues before he eventually released the letter. By then the Defendant stayed additional and avoidable one more week in Prison and was seriously sick. So we see the danger of not following the Law. Is this not the height of impunity?

Judges of the Federal High Court should follow the Law. The EFCC operatives are not officers of the court, why should they be involved in a court duty or process?

I want to also use this medium to commend some of Federal High Court Judges who are bold enough to follow the Law and apply it strictly as it affects the subject matter. It is penalties for infractions that deter impunity.

The Law remains the only tool to confront brigandage and disregard for the rule of law.

The truth is bitter and it comes with a prize. We must do things right for the society to move forward! Simply Follow the Law .

“The Legal Profession ought to be and must strive to remain the dependable bastion of hope, help and succour for the repressed, the oppressed and the suppressed in our Society. “-Chief Gani Fawehimin SAN of blessed memory.

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