On monday November 14th 2016 at the Federal High Court in Lagos, Justice Muslim Hassan lambasted the EFFC and its prosecutor, one Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, in open court for arresting Chief Femi Fani-Kayode at the Federal High Court premises on 21st October without an arrest warrant and for detaining him illegally without any detention order for 24 days.
This was made all the more damning by the fact that Justice Hassan had previously warned the EFCC not to re-arrest Chief Fani-Kayode who had been previously detained by them for 67 days.
Justice Hassan said this because he had granted Chief Fani-Kayode court bail as far back as July 4th and at the previous court session he had specifically warned and admonished the EFCC not to re-arrest or detain him after his lawyer told the court that that was what they were planning to do.
Justice Hassan told the EFCC that serving charges on an accused person should not warrant arrest and detention and that he himself was once a prosecutor and that was not the way things are meant to be done.
When Oyedepo attempted to lie to the court and feign ignorance of the re- arrest and detention of Chief Fani-Kayode and when he tried to proffer a shameless and disgraceful justification for it after he was forced to admit that it happened, Justice Hassan advised him to stop trying to defend the indefensible and advised him to tender his apologies to the court for the illegal behaviour of the EFCC.
Oyedepo took the advice and he promptly apologised. The behaviour of the EFCC and their gestapo-like tactics does not surprise us because the hatred and pure venom that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, harbours for Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, his family and indeed any member of the opposition that speaks out openly against the government is self-evident and legendary.
What is more surprising is the fact that every single newspaper in the country blacked out the story, with the exception of The Nation, and refused to report what was essentially a very serious and rare rebuke by a sitting Federal High Court judge about the wayward and reckless abuse of power by an organisation that is headed by a man who is filled with malice and who is prepared to do anything, including using the most primitive and barbaric practices of brutality and force and the perverse manipulation, threatening and teleguiding of the media to crush all forms of dissent and opposition in the name of fighting corruption.
The truth is that Magu and his brutal and unlawful ways has created more enemies for the government and has thwarted and done greater damage to the war against corruption by targetting innocent men and women for persecution rather than prosecution.
Chief Fani-Kayode has been detanied in underground cells by the EFCC for no less than a total of three months since the Buhari regime came to power all in the name of the investigation of spurious offences and baseless allegations when the law clearly states that an arrest and detention should only take place after an investigation is completed.
Those in the media that, for reasons best known to themselves, chose to black out and refuse to report what really transpired in Justice Hassan’s court on monday 14th November and who sought to cover up the fact that the EFCC was openly rebuked and reprimanded for their barbaric ways and sordid tactics would do well to remember that though it is Chief Fani-Kayode’s rights that are being violated today it may well be theirs or that of their editors or publishers tomorrow.
It is important that the Nigerian people know the truth about the way in which the EFCC behaves and reporting events factually and accurately is the lifeblood of democracy. We urge the Nigerian media to rise up to the occassion and not allow themselves to be used by a group of ruthless headhunters who wish to cover up their atrocities.
JUDE NDUKWE IS SPECIAL ADVISOR ON MEDIA AND PUBLICITY TO CHIEF FEMI FANI-KAYODE.