August 30, 2016
Nigerian Army Lacks Power To Declare Civilians ‘Wanted’ – Femi Falana
In an official statement released on Monday, popular Lagos-based human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has criticised the decision by the Nigerian military to declare three persons ‘wanted’ in connection with the war against Boko Haram insurgency.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, added that the power to declare civilians ‘wanted’ rests with the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service.
“Thus, by declaring the three persons wanted without any legal authority the army has usurped the statutory powers of both the Police and the SSS.
“In the process it has breached the fundamental rights of the ‘suspects’ to personal liberty, dignity of the person and fair hearing guaranteed by the Constitution,” he said.
Recall that shortly after the Boko Haram sect released a video on August 14 showing the abducted Chibok girls, the army declared Ahmad Salkida, a journalist; Aisha Wakil, a lawyer; and Ahmed Bolori, a social worker, wanted, adding that the three persons have links with the sect as well as the abducted girls.
According to Premium Times, Femi Falana said the army declaring the ‘suspects’ wanted “is ultra vires, illegal and unconstitutional in every material particular.”
“Realizing that we are under a constitutional democracy which requires that the infringement of the rights of any citizen be justified in law, the army has relied on the provisions of the country’s anti terrorism legislation.
“Since the wanted persons are not serving military personnel who are subject to service law they cannot be investigated or tried under the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN, 2004.
“Furthermore, under the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended the army has not been authorized to perform any duty whatsoever,” he said.