Human rights lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) says the investigation and prosecution of anyone found to be connected to the Offa bank robbers should be separated from politics.
Falana made this known in Lagos on Wednesday at a civil society round-table discussion organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA).
The discussion was on the difficulties being faced in the administration of criminal Justice Act and the termination of stay of proceeding in criminal trials.
In his address, Falana recalled how a Brazilian bank was duped of the sum of $240million by a Nigerian fraudster. He said the bank reached out to him and 11 others for legal aid.
“They came to me, among the 11 lawyers. How do we collect this money? How do we go about it? It was very difficult because the police here then were part of the criminality. The main fellow that was to be arrested, the EFCC arrested him in the guest house of the IG.
“We were looking for a criminal and he was being sheltered by the IG — just like you are looking for the vehicle with which a bank was robbed and you find it in the state house. That is the level of impunity in our country. And some people are shouting ‘this is political victimisation’. Nonsensical!
“Please, I beg all of us, let us separate criminality from politics. Wherever a criminal is identified, the law must have its way; the full weight of the law must be brought on the person. Otherwise, you may be a victim tomorrow if we don’t eliminate criminality in this society.
“They reported in Ekiti last week during a rally — and this is a common thing in Nigeria — and I do hope we are going to use the Offa case to disarm all thugs in Nigeria. All of them are known by the DSS and the police.”
Falana was not the only notable figure at the meeting. Also in attendance were Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Monday Ubani and Jiti Ogunye. Dr. Biola Akiode-Afolabi chaired the discussion, while the welcome address was delivered by Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman of HEDA.