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SERAP accuses EFCC of illegality over Shehu Sani’s detention

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Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly.

In a statement signed by the Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumun, the group accused the anti-graft agency of violating both national and international law.

Sani was arrested on December 31, 2019, for alleged extortion of $20,000 (N7.2 million), from the owner of ASD Motors.

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Since then, Sani has been detained despite several calls from Nigerians to release him. Rather than listening to many Nigerians, EFCC visited and searched two of his houses and office in Abuja.

SERAP stated: “EFCC should immediately release the activist, Senator Shehu Sani, detained on allegations of extortion or charge him with a recognisable criminal offence.

“By prolonging his detention without charge or trial, Sani is being treated like a convicted criminal, in violation of national and international law. This is against the principle of being innocent until proven guilty.

“Nigeria is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR). Article 9 of the ICCPR states that ‘anyone who is arrested shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power.”

According to the rights group, there are similar provisions in the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).

It urged the EFCC to promptly investigate any allegation against Sani and release him on bail pending the conclusion of any such investigation.

Commenting on the matter, an activist, Prof. Yinka Olomojobi of Babcock University, Ogun State, added: “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 with 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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