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Falana urges Nigerians to sue FG for pardoning Dariye, Nyame

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Femi Falana

Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), a human rights lawyer, has urged citizens and victims of corrupt deeds of politicians to sue the Federal Government following the granting of state pardons to convicted former governors, Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame respectively.

Falana asked citizens of the states, who ought to have benefited from projects that monies meant for them were siphoned by the politicians who are granted state pardons, to seek redress in court by challenging the reasons for such pardons.

He stated this yesterday in a paper titled: ‘Sentencing rich and poor convicts in Nigeria: An unbalanced scale,’ delivered as the Inaugural Public Lecture of the Department of Public and International Law, Faculty of Law, Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo.

Speaking on the heels of the pardon granted by the Council of State to Dariye, Nyame and 157 other persons already convicted by the courts, he challenged the downtrodden and oppressed persons to be united in the demands of their rights under the law.

Condemning what he termed the manipulation of the justice system to favour influential politicians facing corruption charges, Falana said: “Some personalities in the society seem to be the ‘untouchable.’ Since they have money, they can influence and manipulate the justice system in their favour. Consequently, such persons commit crimes and get away with them. Owing to corruption and abysmally compromised system, they could even have the backing of the government.

 “By the nature of the state, we’re a capitalist system. You have seen differences between the rich and the poor. I’m appealing to the poor, to be united to demand for their lives, just like the rich members and the ruling class are united in exploiting the system to protect themselves and to shield themselves from persecution. And even when they are persecuted very rarely, they have a way of granting themselves pardons.”

“So I’m challenging people who constitute the majority in our country to be organised in the demand for their lives. Victims of corruption can see that they have the right to sue. They can sue the Federal Government. I sue the President from time to time, I cannot sue his person, but I can sue him in his official capacity.”

He further cited cases where certain politically-exposed persons got lenient sentences, including that of the former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu; former Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe and former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, among others.

 “There should be a stop to the impression that there is a special law for the rich. We have a dysfunctional law system in the country where people commit grievous sins and get away with them. It appears the rich are higher than the law.

“The primary aim of the justice system is to bring people to face the law and if acquitted, we clap for you. The criminal justice system is designed to curb the excesses of society but in Nigeria, the poor only go to prisons to become hardened criminals.

“In this country, poor people go to jail even if there are options of fine but no member of the ruling class goes to prison when there’s an option of fine. The law is not neutral, it is made and enacted by the rich. Some persons convicted, sentenced and jailed are never found in any correctional centre, while unemployed young people serve prison terms in lieu of rich convicts,” Falana stated.

 Falana also said: “Political interference: another issue is the interest of the government in cases involving the rich. For political reasons, the trial and conviction of the rich are often interfered with.

“Judges could even be coerced into favouring those rich offenders against their own will. But there is often no one to speak for the poor, who often have no voice of their own. On the few occasions that the rich are convicted, they are usually granted pardons by the President and state governors.

“Corruption: this is also one of the major issues affecting the fair administration of justice in Nigeria. Oftentimes, rich defendants engage in dilatory tactics, which frustrate and compel the State to enter into a plea bargain with them.

“Judges award lighter sentences to convicted rich defendants or resort to technicalities to free them. Otherwise, how could someone that embezzled pension funds worth billions of Naira be sentenced to only six months imprisonment, but another who stole a cheap telephone handset be sentenced to 10 years imprisonment?”

 

 

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JUST IN: Terrorists vow to start killing kidnapped passengers of Kaduna bound train in 7 days

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Terrorists who attacked and abducted several passengers on the Abuja-Kaduna bound train on 28th March 2022, have vowed to start killing the passengers if the federal government doesn’t release their children allegedly kept in a Yola detention facility.

Leaders of the terrorists Abu Barra spoke on phone to the spokesman of Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Malam Tukur Mamu, ‘And Dan Iyan Fika.

In the audio of the conversations between Malam Tukur Mamu and the leaders of the terrorists, the terrorists claimed that the federal government suspended the resumption of the train service because of their threats,

”The government suspended the resumption of the train service indefinitely because of our threats and we repeat, if our conditions are not met, the resumption of the train service is to the detriment of the government and the passengers.”

“We don’t need money. We have a good reason for doing what we did, until our demands are met none of the victims will come out alive even if it means we all die with them. They are well taken care of as you can see from the pictures we sent to you via WhatsApp but we assure you that this will not continue”.

“We choose you (Tukur Mamu) to convey this important message to the government, the families of the victims and Nigerians in general because we believe you won’t alter our message and we have seen you severally with Sheikh Gumi in the forest, therefore, we recognized the fearlessness in you”.

Abu Barra said that it’s been two months since the abduction and anything can happen to the abducted passengers henceforth.

He explained their reasons for the abduction as a retaliation for the arrest and detention of their children by the security agencies.

“Our children numbering about 8 between the ages of one to seven years are currently being held at an orphanage in Jimeta, Adamawa State under the supervision of the Nigerian Army”, he said.

“The names of our children are; Abdulrahman, Bilkisu, Usman, Ibrahim and Juwairiyyah. They were forcefully taken from our wives in Nasarawa and taken to the orphanage in Yola”.

“For any continued discussion on the release of these passengers and a safe resumption of the train service, our children must be released unconditionally. Only then we will release some of the abducted victims, especially the women while other passengers will be released on a prisoner exchange with some of our arrested comrades by the government, he continued.

Abu Barra said that the pictures of the passengers they sent earlier, were among some of the pictures they sent to the negotiation team of the government as proof of the well being of the victims. They said since then the government had been lacklustre.”

“Barra said they decided to come to a GSM enabled location with one of the female victims to talk to Malam Mamu and as a confirmation of their claims. Mamu said he could hear her cries with a very low voice that probably indicates exhaustion pleading with him to please talk to the government on their behalf for a swift intervention on their release.”

He threatened that, if within seven days the government does not respond to their demands, they will stop feeding the victims and will start slaughtering them one after the other and if the government doesn’t respond after that, then Nigerians should forget using the Abuja-Kaduna rail line as well as the Kaduna-Abuja high way.

“If the government decided not to respond so be it. We are warning Nigerians, especially those that are patronizing the train that if this matter is not resolved peacefully, the day they decided to attack us or do anything funny, passengers or commuters should forget to use the train or follow the Abuja-Kaduna road because we will be consistent and they can’t stop us. We believe that you will deliver this message as it is”, he said.

“Therefore, we rely on you and urged you to convey this important message to everyone”, Abu Barra said.

Malam Tukur Mamu replied that he understands the predicament of the government in resolving the abduction imbroglio but stated that every responsible government will look into saving innocent passengers’ lives and make painful compromises where necessary even if it’s against the policy of the administration.

Malam Mamu then explained that prisoner exchange with known criminals on matters of national interest is a global practice and has happened in many developed countries like the United States.

He stressed the need to avoid any military action that will lead to collateral damage and the loss of innocent lives.

“Time is not on our side, the government must understand that they are dealing with persons with a misguided ideology and tainted religious belief. These people are not scared of death, they seem to believe that they are martyrs when they die. It will be a serious mistake to take this threat lightly. I believe an opportunity has been created for us to explore to save the lives of those innocent victims.

“For me, if these innocent will regain their freedom because of my involvement and provided that will lead to relative peace and security on our highways and rail lines I wouldn’t mind if I die in the process. We must accept the fact that security alone on the Abuja-Kadunvictima highways remains more fragile than ever and the solution is not militarily alone, especially in a country where impending attacks can hardly be dictated and stopped”, he said.

 

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Stop bloodshed in South-east, release ‘Mama Biafra’ now ― Nnamdi Kanu

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KANU

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has called for the stoppage of the incessant killings in the South East and the release of Mrs Ukamaka Ejezie, a newspaper vendor popularly known as ‘Mama Biafra’ in Abia state.

Kanu’s younger brother, Prince Emmanuel Kanu who spoke with newsmen Monday evening, after visiting the IPOB leader in DSS detention said the IPOB leader was not happy with the reports of incessant killings in the South East, stating that Kanu “does not believe in bloodshed” and not happy that bloodsuckers on the lose in the South East almost unchallenged.

His brother said that the IPOB leader is sad over blood spilling and insecurity in the South East and that all those behind the current killings in the region must be held accountable for their atrocities, as Ndigbo are not known for cannibalism.

He added that Kanu also demanded the immediate release of Mrs Ukamaka Ejezie, a newspaper vendor popularly known as ‘Mama Biafra’ in Abia state.

Mama Biafra, a septuagenarian was arrested during Kanu’s last court appearance in Abuja on May 18, disclosing that Mazi Kanu said the woman had been acting as his mother since his parents died in 2020.

Mama Biafra, Kanu said committed no crime for coming to Abuja to solidarize with him at the court when she was arrested, regretting “I saw her at the DSS detention cell after her clothes were washed and spread on the wall. I demand that she be released because she commited no crime.

“She is an old woman and since my mother died I have taken her as my mother. The DSS should release her”.

Mazi Kanu also used the opportunity to clear the air over whether he was the one that Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State met when he visited the DSS headquarters last week, noting that there was no basis for people to doubt whether Soludo met him, explaining that the Barcelona club attire he wore when the Governor visited was his night wear.

Kanu pleaded with all to ensure there is peace in South East which is known for peace, adding that those behind the insecurity in the zone do not mean well to the people.

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