By Nwafor Sunday
The Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has on Thursday advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to release Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly between 2015 and 2019.
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The group accused the anti-graft agency of violating both the national and international law. Sani was arrested on the 31 of December 2019, for alleged extortion of $20,000 (N7.2m), from the owner of ASD Motors.
Since then, Sani has been detained despite several calls from Nigerians to release him. Rather listening to many Nigerians, EFCC, yesterday visited his resident in Abuja and searched two of his houses and office.
Mathematically, Sani has been detained for about nine days, which according to SERAP is against the national and international law.
Irked by the continuous detention of Sani, SERAP opined: “The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should immediately release activist, Senator Shehu Sani detained on allegations of extortion or charge him with a recognizable criminal offence.
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“By prolonging his detention without charge or trial, Mr Sani is being treated like a convicted criminal, in violation of national and international law.
“The continued detention of Mr Sani without charge is against the principle of being innocent until proven guilty.
“Nigeria is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Article 9 of the ICCPR states that “anyone who is arrested shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power.”
“There are similar provisions in the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended). The EFCC should promptly investigate any allegations against Mr Sani and release him on bail pending the conclusion of any such investigation.”
According to Yinka Olomojobi, “The right to personal liberty is one of the most central human rights as it is connected to the essentialist rudiments of an individual’s physical freedom. The right to liberty requires that the arrest or detention of an individual must be in accordance to the law.
“The right therefore protects the individual against the excesses of the government and its agents. The right to personal liberty is essentially a personal freedom in which no government can abridge. This right is juxtaposed with other human rights and can be formally traced back to the English Magna Carta of 1215.”
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Full interpretation of section 35 of 1999 constitution as amended:
(1) Every person shall be entitled to his personal liberty and no person shall be deprived of such liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure permitted by law –
(a) in execution of the sentence or order of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty;
(b) by reason of his failure to comply with the order of a court or in order to secure the fulfilment of any obligation imposed upon him by law;
(c) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of the order of a court or upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence, or to such extent as may be reasonably necessary to prevent his committing a criminal offence;
(d) in the case of a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years for the purpose of his education or welfare;
(e) in the case of persons suffering from infectious or contagious disease, persons of unsound mind, persons addicted to drugs or alcohol or vagrants, for the purpose of their care or treatment or the protection of the community; or
(f) for the purpose of preventing the unlawful entry of any person into Nigeria or of effecting the expulsion, extradition or other lawful removal from Nigeria of any person or the taking of proceedings relating thereto:
Provided that a person who is charged with an offence and who has been detained in lawful custody awaiting trial shall not continue to be kept in such detention for a period longer than the maximum period of imprisonment prescribed for the offence.
(2) Any person who is arrested or detained shall have the right to remain silent or avoid answering any question until after consultation with a legal practitioner or any other person of his own choice.
(3) Any person who is arrested or detained shall be informed in writing within twenty-four hours (and in a language that he understands) of the facts and grounds for his arrest or detention.
(4) Any person who is arrested or detained in accordance with subsection (1) (c) of this section shall be brought before a court of law within a reasonable time, and if he is not tried within a period of –
(a) two months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who is in custody or is not entitled to bail; or
(b) three months from the date of his arrest or detention in the case of a person who has been released on bail, he shall (without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him) be released either unconditionally or upon such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears for trial at a later date.
(5) In subsection (4) of this section, the expression “a reasonable time” means –
(a) in the case of an arrest or detention in any place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of forty kilometres, a period of one day; and
(b) in any other case, a period of two days or such longer period as in the circumstances may be considered by the court to be reasonable.
(6) Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained shall be entitled to compensation and public apology from the appropriate authority or person; and in this subsection, “the appropriate authority or person” means an authority or person specified by law.
(7) Nothing in this section shall be construed –
(a) in relation to subsection (4) of this section, as applying in the case of a person arrested or detained upon reasonable suspicion of having committed a capital offence; and
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(b) as invalidating any law by reason only that it authorises the detention for a period not exceeding three months of a member of the armed forces of the federation or a member of the Nigeria Police Force in execution of a sentence imposed by an officer of the armed forces of the Federation or of the Nigeria police force, in respect of an offence punishable by such detention of which he has been found guilty.
The post ‘You’re violating the law, release Shehu Sani now’ appeared first on Vanguard News.