Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, on Sunday called for the immediate release of the detained Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
In a statement issued in Lagos, Falana said that because Bawa’s remand order had expired, the Department of State Services lacked the legal ground to keep him in custody.
“In view of the fact that Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa has not been charged with any criminal offence whatsoever, the State Security Service ought to have released him from custody. I am not unaware of the claim that Mr. Bawa is being detained on the basis of a remand order issued by a Magistrate Court in the Federal Capital Territory.
“It ought to be pointed out that the remand order has become spent, invalid and illegal as no magistrate has the power under Section 493 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015 or Section 35 of the Constitution of Nigeria to authorise the detention of a criminal suspect for 67 days without trial.”
He added, “Indeed, under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the cumulative lifespan of a remand order is 56 days. Therefore, having exceeded the detention period permitted by the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and the Constitution of Nigeria, the State Security Service should be directed to release Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa from illegal custody without any further delay.
“The Federal Government should ensure that the rights of Messrs Emefiele and Bawa are respected by the State Security Service and the office of the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice, even though the duo had a penchant for disobeying the orders of the courts when they were in office.
“The plight of both suspects should be a lesson for all public officers in Nigeria who always behave as if there will be no tomorrow. However, the Government which rules by law is under a legal obligation not to breach the fundamental rights of citizens except in a manner prescribed by the Constitution of Nigeria.”
Hotjist.com reports that Bawa who is currently being held in the custody of the DSS, in Abuja, is being probed for alleged financial impropriety under his watch.
He has been in the custody of the Department of State Services for exactly 67 days since June 14, 2023.