The allegations of ‘extortion’ against me are baseless, fact-less, unfounded, hollow and unsubstantial - - Shehu Sani

SERAP accuses EFCC of illegality over Shehu Sani’s detention

Coalition declares Senator Shehu Sani ‘prisoner of conscience’, resolves to moblise against EFCC Chair

A Nigerian former lawmaker representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the 8th Senate, Senator Shehu Sani has accused the Federal Government of attempting to silence him over his criticism of the regime led by Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), using fronts.
Senator Sani alleged that the Buhari led government is using his accuser, through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to “frame” him in the extortion scandal.

Nigeria's EFCC had on Wednesday searched two houses and an office of the embattled Senator Shehu Sani in Abuja , urging hm to declare all of his assets The action was part of the ongoing probe of the former lawmaker for alleged extortion of $24,000 from the Chairman of ASD Motors, Alhaji Sani Dauda.

Dauda had also, in his petition to the EFCC, claimed that the former senator demanded N4m from him to give to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, and four other judges to influence some pending cases in court.

But the CJN had on Sunday denied links with Shehu Sani.

Senator Shehu Sani, being a fiery critic of the government may be illegally detained and harassed just like the former AAC presidential candidate and founder of an online news media Saharareporters Omoyele Sowore.

Sani has consistently maintained his innocence. The former lawmaker, who is speaking from the EFCC detention for the first time on the matter, in a message to the public via WhatsApp, and reported by Punch Newspaper, made a 15-point response.

His message reads:

“The allegations of ‘extortion’ against me are baseless, fact-less, unfounded, hollow and unsubstantial.

“It is a scripted stream of mischievous concoctions and utter fabrications using a puppet state agent; all aimed at splashing faeces and mud on me.

“The extortion allegation is nothing but a wholesale falsehood, packaged in a phantom anti-graft facade to taint, stain and mute me. That shall never happen if I am alive.

“I have made my statement and provided all my facts against their package of lies and I demand the EFCC to make public all the sheets of our statements and supporting documents for the world to see.

“My detention is unfair, unjust, prearranged and politically motivated.”

“Alhaji Sani Dauda and his hidden sponsors have not been able to provide any proof of their allegations. I’m unjustly incarcerated on the grounds of an arranged two-page petition backed with no evidential or documentary proof.

“Fascism thrives in frame up of its critics.

“They claim extortion and here they are closing my bank accounts, searching my houses and offices and demanding I declare my assets, of which I have already done that at the CCB (Code of Conduct Bureau) last year when I left the Senate.

“Frame-up cannot silence me!”
“I have never ever met with the CJN or any judge or judges or ever called directly or indirectly to offer to give or to give directly or indirectly any form of gratification from Alhaji Sani Dauda.

“I have never ever discussed with ASD on any form of bribe or gratification to be given to any judge or any EFCC official.

“The bribe story is phantom, the bribe story is a fake, imaginative work of fiction, cruelly crafted to smear me, to frame me and to justify my persecution.

“The bribe story is a heap of blatant lies and outright falsehood concocted and fabricated, using a front and the EFCC to premiere a state drama.

“ASD is a barely educated front for a state mission.

“Criminalising me or ‘framing me’ will not silence me, bend me or compromise me.”

SERAP accuses EFCC of illegality over Shehu Sani’s detention

A non governmental organisation Socio-economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the 8th National Assembly.

In a statement signed by the Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumun, the group accused the anti-graft agency of violating both national and international law.

Sani was arrested on December 31, 2019, for alleged extortion of $24,000 (N7.2 million), from the owner of ASD Motors. Since then, Sani has been detained despite several calls from Nigerians to release him. Rather than listening to many Nigerians, EFCC visited and searched two of his houses and office in Abuja.

According to SERAP : “EFCC should immediately release the activist, Senator Shehu Sani, detained on allegations of extortion or charge him with a recognisable criminal offence.

“By prolonging his detention without charge or trial, Sani is being treated like a convicted criminal, in violation of national and international law. This is against the principle of being innocent until proven guilty.

“Nigeria is a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR). Article 9 of the ICCPR states that ‘anyone who is arrested shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power.”

SERAP said there are similar provisions in the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended).  It urged the EFCC to promptly investigate any allegation against Sani and release him on bail pending the conclusion of any such investigation.

Coalition declares Senator Shehu Sani ‘prisoner of conscience’

The Coalition of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates (COPA) has disclosed of its resolve to mobilise against the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu for “violating the fundamental rights of Sen. Shehu Sani, from Kaduna State”.

In a statement Thursday in Abuja, Convener of the group, Mr Pelumi Olajengbesi, said the lawyers have now declared Sen. Sani as another “prisoner of conscience” after Mr Omoyele Sowore who was recently freed by the State Security Services (SSS).

Describing Sani’s detention as illegal, the lawyers’ Coalition said; “For an anti-graft agency with sufficient manpower and investigative tools, it defies logic why the agency simply cannot reduce its accusation against Senator Shehu Sani into a coherent charge upon which he ought to be arraigned for the adjudicatory determination of his guilt or innocence.

“The allegations against Senator Shehu Sani seemed straightforward enough until the desperation to hang the man, by all means, take a turn into follyville.

“First, he was accused of obtaining a bribe of $10,000 to exert influence on the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, to protect an associate, Alhaji Sani Dauda, from prosecution on a matter.

“When the public pointed out how ill-thought-out such an accusation was especially because Senator Shehu Sani enjoys no cordial relationship with the EFCC nor its Chairman to be in a position to exert any form of influence on him, the accuser, egged on by the EFCC no doubt, changed his facts.

“It alleged anew that the bribe money was $24,000 and it was collected by Senator Sani to prevail on the Chief Justice, Ibrahim Tanko, to favour the accuser in a matter before the court.

“The CJN denied any such transaction, and once again, the narrative was switched as if being fetched from a senile mind bent on achieving a set agenda.”

COPA through its convener further noted that it would no longer sit and watch the rights of Nigerians abused by EFCC and other law enforcement or antigraft agencies.

Olejengbesi particularly frowned at a situation where the EFCC goes beyond permissible practice in law to carry out its duties.

He said: “Much against due process, Senator Shehu Sani’s privacy has been severally abused; his house has been ransacked and his phone accessed as the desperation for a crime to hang him is driving the frenzy of the EFCC beyond permissible practice in law and practice.

“Of what relevance is searching his home, offices and phone to the allegations that he received bribe? The bribe was allegedly conveyed via a bank cheque and as such his bank account ought to be under forensic examination and not his private and family life.

“The unauthorised ransacking of Senator Sani’s phones and snooping around his WhatsApp group and personal messages, as well as the illegal raid of his home and offices all point to a script to find reasons to prosecute him.

“These searches and raids on his personal life are violations of his fundamental rights as a citizen of Nigeria and points to a personal vendetta against the man that has no bearing on any provable crime against him.

“Senator Sani is a prisoner of conscience and the whole world continues to look on and laugh at us as we grapple as a nation with the arduous task of protecting state institutions from the ineptitude of egoistic power-jobbers.”

COPA wondered what allegations of obtaining bribe by Senator Sani has got to do with the EFCC demand that he declares his assets in spite of having done so as a serving senator.

He urged Magu to release Sen. Sani or prosecute him, noting that the country had come too far as a nation to surrender the sanity of its democratic institutions to the whims of an individual.

 “The right to personal liberty is one of the most central human rights as it is connected to the essentialist rudiments of an individual’s physical freedom. The right to liberty requires that the arrest or detention of an individual must be in accordance with the law.

“The right, therefore, protects the individual against the excesses of the government and its agents. The right to personal liberty is essentially a personal freedom in which no government can abridge. This right is juxtaposed with other human rights and can be formally traced back to the English Magna Carta of 1215.”

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