Ayodele Fayose, the Ekiti State Governor, has decried the indiscriminate arrest and continued detention of former Governors of Benue and Niger States, Gabriel Suswam and Dr. Babangida Aliyu, as well the National Coordinator of the Peoples Democratic Party National Youth Frontier, Comrade Austin Usman Okai.
Fayose described their continued detention as further demonstration of the All Progressives Congress government regime of vindictiveness and disrespect for the laws of Nigeria.
The governor said there was no law permitting security agents to detain Nigerians indefinitely, adding: “It is even more worrisome that former Governor Suswam has been in detention since February 26 this year and Austin Okai, who was arrested in Abuja last Sunday, was arraigned in Lokoja Magistrate Court yesterday (Thursday), granted bail and rearrested at the court premises by the same police that charged him to court.”
In a statement issued in Ado Ekiti on Friday, signed by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, he lamented that “those holding power in Abuja have become defiant to reasons, operating as if they are laws unto themselves”.
The governor noted: “Arresting people without proper and thorough investigation is the reason EFCC continues lose its cases. How can you arrest someone, put him in detention and start looking for evidence to prosecute him?
“On Wednesday, the Department of State Services (DSS) came up with the most ridiculous reason for keeping Suswam in detention since February. The service said it would not release the former governor because he has failed to cooperate with investigators. The question is: what cooperation does the DSS need from someone that will require him being kept in detention for close to two months without charging him to court?
“One may also ask: is the DSS also keeping the head of Nigeria’s Islamic Movement, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been in detention since late 2015 despite that the court ruled that he should be released in custody because he refused to cooperate with investigators?
“Are we back to the era of Decree 2 of 1984 when the National Security Organisation had powers to arrest and detain Nigerians indefinitely?
“Also, for what lawful reason would the Police charge Austin Okai to court and rearrest him at the court premises after he was granted bail? Isn’t the brutish use of power by these APC elements getting too much?”
On the continued detention Aliyu, Governor Fayose said: “Investigating allegations of corruption does not empower the EFCC or any security agency to detain any Nigeria indefinitely without trial.
Most importantly, it is assumed that before anyone can be arrested for alleged corruption, the EFCC ought to have done its job by gathering necessary facts. This practice of EFCC arresting Nigerians, detaining them indefinitely so that they can give indicting evidences against themselves is alien to crime investigation in civilised world.
“Therefore, if EFCC has any evidence of corruption against Dr Babangida Aliyu, the commission should simply charge him to court and use the evidence(s) to prosecute him. In the absence of this, he should be released forthwith; else one will also believe the insinuation that the EFCC is holding him (Babangida) as part of the APC-led Federal Government clampdown on anyone that is perceived as having presidential ambition in 2019.”