Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), says the government cannot name and shame suspected financiers of terrorism before they are tried and convicted.
In a statement issued on Wednesday by Umar Gwandu, the AGF said the suspects will eventually be made public, adding that “shaming remains a consequence of judicial conviction”.
“Naming and shaming of suspects is not embarked upon as a policy by the federal government out of sheer respect the constitutional rights of Nigerians relating to presumption of innocence,” the statement reads.
“It is a product of constitutionalism and the law. It is rooted in the law and the names of the suspects will accordingly be made public at the point of judicial arraignment while the. Trials are judicial processes and not about media sensations.
“Naming and shaming in the Nigerian context must be rooted in constitutionalism. We must strike a balance between constitutional presumption of innocence and evidential proof of reasonable ground for suspicion in making disclosures associated with terrorism funding and financing.
“Where reasonable grounds are established, suspects must be naturally taken to court at which point their identity must be disclosed and the naming becomes apparent. Shaming, on the other hand, is the product of conviction at which point the public is equally judicially put on notice.
“In essence, naming and shaming within the context of Nigerian law are judicial functions which commence with arraignment and terminate with convictions.”
The AGF added that out of over 1000 Boko Haram case files received by the department of public prosecution, “285 have been filed before the federal high court based on prima facie cases of terrorism against them”.
Meanwhile, Malami gave assurance that sponsors of terrorists that have been identified will be prosecuted.
“As per as terrorism funding and financing is concerned, we’ve succeeded in identifying those that are responsible for funding and we are blocking the leakages associated with funding and embarking on aggressive investigation that is impacting positively in terms of the fight against terrorism,” the AGF said.
“Investigation is ongoing and for the purpose of investigation, I wouldn’t like to be preemptive in terms of making disclosures that would have the effect of undermining the successes we are recording as far as investigation is concerned.
“But one thing I can tell you for sure is that whatever we do in terms of detention or arrest is indeed backed by judiciary process. We obtained legitimate court orders taking into what we have presented before the court and the court exercised its discretion in terms of granting orders that we can have them in custody, pending the conclusion of investigation.”
The suspects were arrested in an operation coordinated by the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
They were arrested in Kano, Borno, Abuja, Lagos, Sokoto, Adamawa, Kaduna, and Zamfara states.
NLC Protests Poor State Of Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway
The Ogun chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Wednesday, blocked the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway over the bad state of the road.
According to NAN, the Lagos chapter of the union also joined the protest.
The protesters carried placards with inscriptions like “We don’t want palliatives”, “We want good roads”, “Dapo Abiodun save our souls from bad roads” and “We are not slaves in our country”.
Emmanuel Bankole, the NLC chairman in Ogun, said the union was not happy with the condition of portions of the Lagos-Abeokuta road and its environs.
“We will not allow anybody to take away our right. In times like this, we do not have any option other than to express our displeasure with the government,” he said.
The chairman said the 21 days ultimatum given by the NLC to Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, after his visit to Sango-Ota, had lapsed.
Bankole said Fashola had promised to commence palliative work on the road but nothing much had been done since then.
“We deserve better than what we have seen today. What we see today is below our expectations,” he said.
Funmi Sessi, chairman of the Lagos chapter, said the protest was “long overdue”.
“We believe in action and the time for talking is gone. There is an urgent need to ameliorate the sufferings of the masses,” she said.
Nigerian Press Council Seeks Law To Regulate, License Journalists
The Nigerian Press Council (NPC) has pleaded with the house of representatives to enact laws to empower the council licence journalists.
Francis Nwosu, executive secretary of NPC, made the demand on Wednesday when he appeared before the house of representatives committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values.
Nwosu said this will also enable the council to generate revenue for the federal government and curb unprofessionalism in the industry.
“We appreciate the effort of this committee to help have a good footing in the Nigerian media space. As you can understand, there is no way we can earn any revenue except we have an act to regulate the media industry,” he said.
“Aside from the rooting implementation of credible media space in Nigeria to help the government to check fake news and disinformation in the society, we are also trying for our players to understand the need to draw a line between journalism practice and journalism business.
He said newspapers need to register as corporate organisations and pay royalties to enable the NPC make money.
“Journalists [need] to register with the council, have a licence to operate. That way, we can have some funds to the coffers of the council,” he said.
“These are the ideas we are thinking can help instead of depending entirely on the federal government for revenue. We can generate some amount every year from the registration of journalists and the registration of media houses.
“By this way also, we are also talking about supervising journalism training institutions and ensure that the right things are done in the institutions of learning so that we have well-trained journalists with good professional skills to do the right job for the best interest of the nation.”
Olusegun Odebunmi, chairman of the committee, said it is important for the journalism practice to be monitored.
“As regards the pure regulation of the journalists, no doubt about it,” he said.
Odebunmi said the committee is working on such regulation, adding that this will identify the players in the industry.
FG lists Diezani’s Bras As Part Of Forfeited Items For Sale
The federal government has listed personal effects like bras and waist trainers as part of the list of assets forfeited by Diezani Alison-Madueke, former petroleum minister.
Diezani had fled the county shortly before former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over to President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
She is alleged to have stolen $2.5 billion from the Nigerian government while she was minister — an allegation she has denied.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has since commenced a process to extradite her.
The federal government has gained forfeiture of Diezani’s properties located in Banana Island Foreshore Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos, including 18 flats and six penthouses.
Other properties listed include 125 wedding gowns, 13 small gowns, 41 waist trainers, 73 hard flowers, 11 suits, 11 invisible bras, 73 veils, 30 braziers, two standing fans, 17 magic skirts, six blankets, one table blanket and 64 pairs of shoes.
The federal government has begun the process of screening 613 independent valuers expected to manage the sale of the assets permanently forfeited.