The Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa, has condemned last year’s invasion of the home of a business mogul, Dr. Mike Adenuga, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Aondoakaa said at the ongoing retreat by the Senate in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on Tuesday night that the invasion did not follow “due process and the rule of law”.
Aondoakaa said this while responding to questions from senators after delivering a paper on The Concept of Rule of Law Under the Present Administration.
He said the Nigerian Constitution was clear on a person’s right to fair hearing, adding that going by the constitution, it was only right for the EFCC to gather its evidence before effecting arrest.
Explaining his position, Aondoakaa said, “If agencies of government are used for political ends there are bound to be problems. In Adenuga’s case, how do you carry 40 policemen or so to arrest a harmless Nigerian without a court warrant?
“It is unjust and unconstitutional. It is rascality and a breach of the law to say you will arrest a man before looking for evidence to prosecute. You don’t arrest a man before looking for evidence to prosecute, it is the other way round.”
He explained that the invasion of Adenuga’s residence was capable of traumatising his family and casting aspersions on his person because he was not convicted of any crime.
“In the case of Taraba, how can you detain a man for three months without trial when the law says not more than 48 hours? I did not take over the case of Abia, I only said court orders must be obeyed, he said.
Aondoakaa also accused the Independent National Electoral Commission of double standards.
He said, “The same INEC which hitherto said only a court of law can indict and disqualify candidates in 2003 turned round to disqualify people from standing for elections based on a report by the EFCC in 2007. How can you be blowing hot and cold in the same system?”
Earlier, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN) asked the Attorney-General why he was always citing the rule of law each time former governors who had a case to answer were being questioned.
Ndoma-Egba, “Abuse of Power and corruption are the same thing. How come we have been silent over the years when ordinary Nigerians have spent several years in detention awaiting trial? Now because the rich and powerful individuals who are ex-governors are involved, we talk about the rule of law?”