The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has condemned the continued detention of former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and calls for his immediate release or charged to court.
In a press release issued by the anti-corruption group’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, on behalf of CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he said, “Our attention has been drawn to the arrest and continued detention of Mr. Monday Ubani, a former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a former Chairman, Ikeja branch of same NBA, by the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission). Investigations revealed that he was purportedly detained, alongside a former Bayelsa State lawmaker, one Senator Christopher Enai, for standing sureties in a corruption case, involving a former Chairman of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Ngozi Olojeme. They have been in EFCC custody for over three weeks, during which their lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) approached a Federal High Court in Apo village, Abuja and consequently secured an order for administrative bail or be charged to court immediately.’
“However, since this order was given by a court of competent jurisdiction for Ubani’s release or instruction to charge him to court on March 26, 2019, the EFCC leadership has acted in clear violation of extant laws of the land and relevant constitutional provisions by disregarding the court order and continuously violating the rights of those detained without any formal order to that effect by any court of the land. We, therefore, aver that CACOL, as an anti-corruption organization would not stand by and watch the fundamental rights of ordinary Nigerians to be violated, without recourse to judicial pronouncements for such, under whatever guise. It is our conviction that no society survives through the rules of the thumb or complete disregard for the rule of law. It is in this wise that we join other well-meaning Nigerians to ask that the EFCC should adhere to this judicial order or have recourse to a higher court of competence to set aside that order, if necessary.
The CACOL Boss added, “The fight against corruption, though very necessary and imperative, cannot and should not be waged with disdain for the rule of law and it is our belief that any Nigerian, including Attorneys, have rights to stand sureties except where otherwise stated by a relevant court; and if in the course of doing this, the accused absconds or something untoward is suspected, the right thing to do by the anti-graft agency approaches a competent court on why such sureties must suffer any detention or inconvenience, while it could only act on such pronouncement as given by the court. A situation where the life of a surety was almost lost while in such illegal detention could have cost the fight against corruption serious setback, as well as much embarrassment to the Federal government and its anti-corruption agencies, hence, the need for EFCC to always be mindful of legal provisions at all times.
Media Coordinator, CACOL