On Monday May 9, 2016, I did a Facebook post on the commando-like invasion of the home of Femi Fani-Kayode and his continued detention. As usual, defenders of the new order came down in their expected way of justifying the most glaring case of human rights abuses. They said that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had secured a court order to detain Femi Fani-Kayode beyond the “stipulated time allowed by law”, to quote Vanguard Newspaper.
The two weeks lapsed and what did EFCC do again? They went to Lagos to get another ‘order’ to detain him for further three weeks that will lapse again either tomorrow or next.
Why is Fani-Kayode being detained? He is being detained “pending the time EFCC will carry out investigation into receipt of N840 million during the 2015 campaign”, again, to quote Vanguard.
In case we have all forgotten, Femi Fani-Kayode was the director of media for the Goodluck Jonathan Presidential Campaign Organisation. The same position Shehu Garba held for Buhari. Let me be quoted here. I know how Garba, on several occasions, moved round during the campaign, ‘meeting’ with journalists, calling senior editors, social media canvassers, pressure groups and so on. He was not going around with cowries! Was he?
I have never seen a situation whereby someone is being detained pending investigation in a corruption case. Someone should help with a precedence. Investigations would have been conducted after which arrest is made and the suspect is charged to court IMMEDIATELY.
Now, nearly six weeks of Femi Fani-Kayode’s life have been spent behind bars, will the state compensate him if he is found not guilty by a competent court of law?
When we write like this, some Buhari apologists say we are defending looters. And it is because of the way these guys’ minds have been colonised. To them, even the most educated of them, the moment EFCC invites you, you are GUILTY of corruption. Yet, Prof. Sagay, one of the most rabid defenders of this government, said “nothing in law says arrest and prosecution cannot lead to acquittal.” But to our super patriots, when a judge acquits a suspect, that judge has either been bribed or he is supporting looters. What a childish way of thinking!
The disturbing similarities in the way Femi Fani-Kayode and Olisa Metuh’s cases are being pursued show this is more than fighting corruption. It is just to keep away those criticising this government as long as possible. And the anti-corruption war has come handy. It is a shame.
Jude Ndukwe, Femi Fani-Kayode’s media aide, had this to say a week ago in a statement to journalists, “Fani-Kayode has since fulfilled the conditions for his bail but rather than take the honourable path of releasing him pending any charge brought against him, the anti-graft agency moved him from Abuja to Lagos where they obtained a questionable warrant to further detain him illegally for another three weeks.”
Ndukwe added that Chief Fani-Kayode is being pressured to make a statement that will implicate former President Goodluck Jonathan and other PDP leaders. This, according to sources, is what Fani-Kayode has refused to do. Hence, his continued incarceration.
Maybe we need to remind ourselves, no matter how blinded by emotions and consumed by puerile support for this budding civilian dictatorship, that we are still running a democratic government. Maybe we should also know that no matter how much we want looters killed, the best practices all over the world is that an accused must have his day in court, and he remains innocent until proven guilty.
Maybe we should also remember that there was nothing Metuh and Fani-Kayode did during the 2015 elections that Lai Mohammed and Shehu Garba did not do too!
And when the history of these times is being written, I still wonder how many of us will be able to face its verdict. The verdict of history. The consolation? Its verdict is never influenced by emotions but fairness to all!
Samuel Ajayi is a Nigerian journalist. Connect with him on Facebook.
The opinions expressed here are solely those of the authors.