Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, , has expressed his disapproval of President Bola Tinubu’s administration for the continued detention of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Godwin Emefiele, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Both individuals have been held in custody without trial for more than 90 days.
Bawa, the first EFCC boss who did not rise from the ranks of the Nigerian police, was taken into custody by the Department of State Services (DSS) on June 14, shortly after the president suspended him from his position while Emefiele, the former CBN governor, was apprehended on June 9 at his residence in Lagos. Their prolonged detention without trial has raised serious questions about the rule of law and due process.
Babachir Lawal, sharing the concerns of many, voiced his opinion in a statement released on Wednesday. He emphasized the importance of upholding the principles of freedom of speech and human rights in Nigeria, stating, “If Bola Tinubu claims he fought Abacha on the side of democracy and free speech, it is unbecoming and unacceptable that the NBC should threaten journalists under his watch.”
Lawal went on to criticize the continued detention of both Bawa and Emefiele, saying, “It is indefensible to keep the EFCC Chairman and the CBN governor under arrest for extended periods of time without or before trial.” He also pointed out the unacceptable use of political parties to intimidate and harass citizens who express their opinions in the public domain.
The prolonged detention of Bawa and Emefiele has ignited a wave of protests and demands for their immediate release as Human rights groups and activists have urged the Department of State Services to bring these individuals to court and ensure that their legal rights are protected.