SIGNAL

The Citizens’ Advocacy for Social & Economic Rights (CASER) has condemned the warrant arrest issued against Mohammed Adoke, former attorney-general of the federation.

A federal capital territory (FCT) high court had issued a warrant of arrest against Adoke over the controversial OPL 245 deal executed by the federal government in 2011.

The court granted the order based on a suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

But in a statement by Frank Tietie, CASER’s executive director and lead counsel, the group said it amounts to a “violation of a citizen’s fundamental right to fair hearing when the judicial process is being used as a means to oppress, harass and punish a citizen, even when he is clearly innocent by making him to go through the humiliation of unnecessary criminal trial”.

“The Citizens’ Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights notes with a serious sense of concern, the desperate attempts by some persons using the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to harass and embarrass the highly respectable person of the former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Honourable Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, SAN,” the group said in a statement.

“Our worry at CASER stems from the dangerous precedent that is being set in defiance of an Order of the Federal High Court which has unequivocally declared that the former AGF is free from any wrong doing on the fact that he was simply obeying a presidential directive to implement the OPL 245 Settlement Agreement of 2011 as instructed by the then President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

“Therefore, to put the former Honourable Attorney General of the Federation through an unnecessarily humiliating and horrendous trial by ordeal as we have witnessed in the recent cases involving some judicial officers, is most unacceptable to us as a group of human rights defenders.

“We, therefore, urge the Federal Government of Nigeria to immediately caution the EFCC from giving the wrong impression that criminal charges are being filed in Nigeria against some citizens on account of mere political expediency or personal vindictiveness, by some operators of the government who are using state privilege to settle political scores.

“We note specifically, that the recent warrant of arrest secured by the EFCC is not only an oppressive instrument against the right of the former AGF to be free from persecution in his home country despite his declared innocence by a court of competent jurisdiction but it constitutes such defiance of clear judicial pronouncements which would paint Nigeria in the international community as country with a lot of judicial uncertainty, and characterized by state desperation to harass and disregard the human rights of its citizens particularly, citizens who are perceived to be political opponents.”

The group called on the former AGF to employ every legal means to “resist the abusive use of the judicial process to stifle and detract him from enjoying his rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.”

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