A Human Rights Lawyer, Tope Akinyode, says he would institute criminal proceedings against Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu and others who attended the funeral of deceased Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
Akinyode stated that the attendees at the CoS funeral violated the lockdown and movement restriction order of the government and should therefore be brought to book.
A cross section of Nigerians have criticised the government officials present at the burial for going against the social distancing strategy being admonished by the NCDC and other health agencies across the world.
Akinyode noted that Nigerians who have flouted the lockdown order have been arrested and prosecuted and those present at the burial should face the same punishment.
In his words, “Law must be equal to all. The Poor cannot receive maximum punishment for an offence which the rich are pardoned for, otherwise we would orchestrate a system of injustice and wickedness”.
See the full statement below:
Abba Kyari’s Burial: I’ll Institute Criminal Proceedings Against Garba Sheu, Ahmed Bashir and Others
It will be recalled that Nigerians who violated the restriction of movement order of government over the ongoing pandemic have been arrested, arraigned, prosecuted and convicted accordingly.
In particular, a Nigerian, who having been battered and tortured of hunger, attempted a way of reasonable escape by putting his taxi to use for commercial purposes was arrested, arraigned and convicted all within a day and without any access to a lawyer.
Even though the man stripped naked in a dehumanising manner to protest the frustration he was passing through, the Nigerian government could not forgive the gentleman. Instead, government hurriedly convicted him and same goes for other Nigerians.
However, on 19th April 2020, a burial ceremony was organized for the remains of former Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari. During the process, the participants violated the lockdown and movement restriction order of government and other sundry regulations. Since then, those who attended the gathering are yet to be brought to book.
Law must be equal to all. The poor cannot receive maximum punishment for an offence which the rich are pardoned for, otherwise, we will orchestrate a system of injustice and wickedness.
To that extent, I shall institute a criminal proceeding against every known person who violated exant regulations by attending Abba Kyari’s burial.
By virtue of Sections 77 (a) and 81 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Act, C42, LFN,
2004, I am empowered by law as a private citizen to institute criminal proceedings against any offender of law before the Magistrates Court without a fiat of the Attorney General.
Section 81(1) of the CPA provides thus:
“Subject to the provisions of section 59 of this Act any person who believes from a reasonable or probable cause, that an offence has been committed by any
person whose, appearance a magistrate has power to compel may make a, complaint thereof to a magistrate who shall consider the allegations of the complainant and may, in his discretion, refuse to issue process recording his reasons for such refusal, or may issue
a summons or warrant as he shall deem fit to compel the attendance of the accused person before a magistrate’s court in the district”.
The above position of law has also been confirmed or established in ONIYIDE v. ONIYIDE (2018) LPELR-44240(CA) wherein the Court held that:
“Here again, I am unable to agree with the lower Court on its conclusion that counsel representing appellant was bound to obtain fiat from the Attorney-General and their failure to do that affected the competence of the private criminal complaint”.
Also, in CA/IL/C.59/2014: Adebola Bakare v. Segun Oladipo (2017) LPELR-43152. The Court of Appeal unanimously held that
“First, on the right of a private person to initiate criminal proceedings in Court by a complaint. In practice, complaints made before the magistrate are laid by police officers, although a private person can lawfully lay a complaint before a magistrate”.
The Court further held thus:
“There is no doubt in my mind that seemingly novel as the complaint and the prosecution in this case is, the lower Court was correct in its decision that the respondent competently initiated and prosecuted privately his complaint in the Magistrate’s Court of Kwara State and same does not conflict with the powers of the Attorney-General of Kwara State under Section 211 of the Constitution.”
The above was also the reasoning of the court in Comptroller, Nigerian Prisons Service (No.1) v. Adekanye (2002)15 NWLR (PT 790) 318 where the Supreme Court, per Belgore, J.S.C. (as he then was), interpreting Section S.160 of the 1979 Constitution (similar to Section 211 of 1999 Constitution), held at p. 329
“It is clear from the provisions of Section 160 of the 1979 Constitution the Attorney-General’s powers of public prosecution is not exclusive; the ‘any other authority or person’ in Subsection (1) can institute and undertake criminal proceedings without a fiat”.
Against the foregoing, I shall institute criminal proceedings against the following persons:
1. Garba Shehu (Presidential Spokesperson)
2 Babagana Monguno (National Security Adviser, NSA),
3. Ambassador Lawal Kazaure (Chief Protocol Officer)
4 Yusuf Sabiu (a.k.a Tunde) Special Assistant to the President,
5 Musa Haro Daura, a nephew to the President
6 Mr. Ahmad Rufai (Director-General of National Intelligence Agency)
7 Bashir Ahmed (Personal Assistant on New Media to President Buhari) and others whose name I’m able to obtain.
The complaint against the foregoing persons shall be filed before the Magistrate Court of the FCT in the course of this week.
Human rights lawyer and National President of Revolutionary Lawyers’ Forum
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