A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Tayo Oyetibo, has urged the Federal Government to release the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, in order not to breach his constitutional rights.
Magu was detained earlier on Monday to appear before a presidential panel headed by former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, to investigate corruption allegations levelled against him.
In a statement on Sunday, Oyetibo stated that Magu’s alleged crimes do not justify his continued detention.
Citing section 35 of the Nigerian constitution, the legal practitioner argued that Magu should have been charged to a court of competent jurisdiction within 24 hours of his arrest.
He noted that there’s no place for karma in constitutionalism even though the EFCC previously headed by Magu was notorious for ignoring this constitutional provision.
“On Monday 6 July 2020 it was widely reported that the now suspended Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, was arrested and taken before the Justice Ayo Salami led Panel of Inquiry set up by the President to investigate a number of allegations raised against him,” Oyetibo said.
“As of today Sunday 12 July, 2020 Magu is reported to still be in detention whilst the investigation of the allegations made against him continues.
“Although the allegations made against Magu are said to be documented and border on serious economic crimes and abuse of office, that does not mean that he has lost his constitutional rights.
“Amidst the cacophony of allegations of serious crimes made against Magu, the law of Nigeria still speaks the same language which is expressed in section 35 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria which provides to the effect that every person who is arrested or detained upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed a criminal offence shall be brought before a court of law within a period of 24 hours in the case of an arrest in a place where there is a court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of 40 kilometres otherwise he ought to be released on bail.
“It cannot be said that there is no court of competent jurisdiction within a radius of 40 kilometres with Abuja where Magu was arrested.
“While it may be argued that the EFCC which Magu hitherto headed was notorious for ignoring this constitutional provision in relation to citizens who were arrested under him, the law of karma has no place under our constitutionalism. For these reasons, Magu ought to be released on bail forthwith as otherwise the government would be acting excessively in breach of his rights.”
On Friday, Magu’s lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, wrote the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, seeking bail for his client on self-recognition.
However, the former EFCC boss is yet to be granted bail.