Again, Falana Calls for Bawa’s Immediate Release from DSS Custody


Rights activist and senior lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has again called on the authorities to let go of the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Abdulrasheed Bawa.

Falana’s call was predicated on grounds that the continued incarceration of Bawa violates his right as well as constitutional provisions.

Bawa has been in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) shortly after he was suspended and being investigated over alleged breach of the law in June this year.

Reacting, Falana faulted Bawa’s continued detention, pointing out that the secret service by law cannot remand a defendant for more than 56 days cumulatively.

“Sometime last month, I had cause to demand for the immediate release of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa, the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission from the custody of the State Security Service. In the alternative, I requested the Federal Government to charge the two detained suspects before a court of competent jurisdiction, if there was evidence that they had committed criminal offences.

“It is public knowledge that Mr. Emefiele was recently charged with illegal possession of firearms before the Lagos Judicial Division of the Federal High Court. Even though he was granted bail, the State Security Service treated the order of the court with contempt.

“As the violent invasion of the court coupled with the disobedience of the order of the court by officials of the State Security Service could not be justified, the Federal Government decided to withdraw the charge of illegal possession of firearms. The case was accordingly struck out by the court while Mr. Emefiele was charged with grave economic crimes at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory ( FCT).

“However, 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’s 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.

“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,” Falana said.

He advised that the Federal Government should ensure that the rights of Emefiele and Bawa are respected by the DSS 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.

Meanwhile, Falana stated that 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,” he said.


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