Nigerians have raised alarm as the immediate-past Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa spends 124 days in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS).
Bawa has been in custody following his suspension and arrest in June.
Recall that there have been calls on the Federal Government to charge him as required by the Constitution or free him.
Speaking about his continuous detention, a human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), called on the SSS to charge Bawa or free him.
According to The Nation, Ozekhome explained that going by the law, Bawa should have been charged considering the allegations levelled against him by the government.
He said, “I thought Section 35 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, provides for only one day (24 hours) of incarceration when there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of 40 kilometres from the police station; and where there is no court within a 40-kilometer radius of the station, 48 hours; or any longer period which the court considers reasonable given the particular circumstances of the case.
“The DSS, through its Director of Information, Willie Bassey, cited ‘weighty allegations of abuse of office levelled against him’, as the reason for Bawa’s continued captivity.
“This continued detention without trial is barbaric, atrocious and unconscionable, to say the least. Are we still living in the early caveman Australopithecus era? I do not know. Or, do you?
“Till date, the DSS has not told Nigerians what Bawa’s specific offences are (if any), or the level of ‘investigation’.
“Even if he committed some infractions of the law, can illegality beget legality? Can two wrongs make a right? Can the DSS continue to be the accuser, arrester, detainer, investigator, prosecutor and judge? What is going on here?
“The last time I checked, even amongst mad people, there was orderliness. DSS, for God’s sake, and the sake of decency and our constitutional democracy, release Bawa immediately and forthwith.”
On the contrary, another Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Dayo Akinlaja, said the former EFCC boss might have been detained pursuant to ex-parte court orders obtained on the basis that the investigation is ongoing.
Akinlapa, however, noted that notwithstanding, Bawa’s continuous detention was against the spirit of the Constitution.
The SAN, in a report, was quoted as saying, “There is no disputing the fact that any long detention without arraignment in court is against the spirit of the constitution.”