Friday, April 1, 2016

Lesson from Nigeria: Treasury Looters Should Rot in Jail, They Don't Deserve Bail - Femi Falana Declares

Femi Falana in a public speech has expressed his disgust for public office holders indicted with corrupt practices which has crippled Nigeria in aggregate.
Femi Falana
 A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), says politically-exposed persons facing corruption charges do not deserve bail, according to the Punch.
“Since victims of grand corruption including armed robbery and kidnap suspects are not usually admitted to bail, those who are charged with looting the treasury should no longer be granted bail,” Falana said.
While expressing worry that many of the ongoing high profile corruption cases may not be concluded before 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari would have finished his term, Falana also made a case for the creation of special courts.
The activist lawyer expressed these views in a paper he delivered on Thursday at the roundtable on anti-corruption war convened by the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos, where he was the keynote speaker.
The roundtable, which was chaired by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), had a former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Dr. Femi Aribisala and Dr. Ayo Obe as discussants.
In his paper titled, “Rule of Law and Treatment of Politically-exposed corruption cases,” delivered on his behalf by Mr. Wahab Shittu, Falana said if the Buhari government did not undertake an urgent reform of the criminal justice system, including creating special courts, its anti-corruption war efforts would amount to nothing.
He also took a swipe at the Nigerian Bar Association and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who had called on Buhari to respect the rule of law, saying they were not sincere.
He said, “The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria has urged the government to fight corruption under the rule of law. On its own part the NBA has censored the Federal Government for violating the human rights of certain suspects. But neither the BOSAN nor the NBA has deemed it fit to caution the members of the legal profession who are determined to frustrate the prosecution of corruption cases.
“As far as both bodies are concerned, human rights are the exclusive reserve of the bourgeois. Hence, the tenets of the rule of law are only invoked when the trial of VIPs is involved, while human rights are violated in Nigeria when the looters of the treasury are arrested and detained for a few days without trial.”
Falana wondered why BOSAN and NBA did not talk of human rights when “70 soldiers were recently tried in camera, convicted and sentenced to death for demanding weapons to fight the well-armed terrorists,” and why the two bodies were not bothered about the plight of “40,000 out of the 52,000 prison inmates who are awaiting trial under dehumanising conditions.”

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