Ubani: Charge Magu for Contempt of Court ~ Group
It’s now public knowledge that the former 2nd Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association Mr. Monday Ubani has been in Economic and Financial Crimes Commissioin’s detention in Abuja for the past three weeks. Ubani was arrested and detained in connection to a case wherein he stood as surety for one Mrs Ngozi Olegeme.
Despite an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja directing the commission to charge Mr. Ubani to court or release him on bail the Magu-led EFCC has continued in contempt of court to keep him in their custody in Abuja against the orders of court. As bad as this was, the commission still makes utterances and release press statements that suggest they have no regards for the orders of court.
It should be recalled that Mr. Ubani helped in getting the suspect to return to Nigeria to answer to the allegations leveled against her by the EFCC once she was declared wanted by the commission. She returned to Nigeria and Mr. Ubani took her to the EFCC. She was detained for some days and later granted administrative bail. The EFCC turned down all the sureties it earlier requested for and Mr. Ubani and one other were lured into standing in as surety for the suspect.
After her release, she returned to her house in Abuja. EFCC Enugu stormed her house one fateful day on a sting operation. The EFCC operatives came banging her doors furiously with the clear intention to unleash violence. Mr Ubani was called by the EFCC to ask after Mrs Olegeme. Mr Ubani called the suspect to allow the EFCC operatives into the house. Since that day, Mrs Olegeme has not been seen till date. Up until the operation the suspect was in her house recuperating and taking care of her health.
Mrs Olegeme who has been accused of corrupt practices served as the Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund from 2009 to 2015. She was declared wanted for allegedly diverting N69bn from the Trust Fund.
The continuous detention of Mr Ubani by the EFCC is a gross violation of his fundamental right and dignity of human person. The conduct of the EFCC leaves so much to be desired in a country that is being watched by the international community. We are embarrassed at the conduct of the commission. The court order directing the release of Mr Ubani or charge him to court must be obeyed.
We therefore call on the commission to release Mr. Ubani with immediate effect as it not the law that a surety shall face the charges and/ or allegations of the suspect in a criminal case. Our laws are clear on issues like this, hence our call for the immediate release of Mr Ubani.
Let this be known to all that Mr Ibrahim Magu is in contempt of court and dereliction of his duties as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission. Contempt of court is an offense under our laws. It is contrary to public policy, equity and good conscience to be in breach of the same law which the commission claims to enforce. The commission cannot be in violation of the fundamental right of the citizens and the laws it sought to uphold and at the same time discounting court orders made by the judiciary. The orders of court are sacred and it must be obeyed!
The suspect in the above case is alive and her whereabouts is known to the commission. It’s therefore the responsibilities of the commission to locate her and get her to answer to the allegations against her. It’s rather unjust to drag and humiliate a citizen whom the commission lured into standing as surety for the suspect in question. EFCC is in dereliction of her statutory duties and this is unacceptable, intolerable and repulsive.
We hereby call on the court and all authority concern to charge Mr Magu to court for contempt and trial him accordingly so as to put an end to this kind of impunity. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is hereby put on notice that if after 7 days from the date this communiqué is published our demand is not met we shall have no other option but to proceed against the Commission to the court for redress. We must protect this country from the decline it suffers on account of the undesirable conducts of our law enforcement Agents in our country.
Evans Ufeli Esq.
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