Friday, November 22, 2013

Falana describes appointment of Police IG Abubakar, predecessors as illegal

A human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has stated that the appointment of
an Inspector General of Police solely by the President was illegal.
According to him, constitutionally, the duty of appointing an IGP
belonged to the Nigeria Police Council. Mr. Falana said this had not
been applied since the return of democracy.
The lawyer was speaking at the launching of a book by Debo Bashorun,
titled 'Honour for Sale, An Insider Account of the Murder of Dele
Giwa,' on Friday in Lagos.
Revive Police Council
"The Nigeria Police Council which has 40 members namely – the
President, the state governors, the Inspector General of Police and
the Chairman of the Police Service Commission, has never met since
1999," Mr. Falana said.
"Before appointing the Inspector General of Police, the council should
meet and advise the president," he explained. "But since 1999, the
power of the council has been usurped by the sole power of Presidents
(Olusegun) Obasanjo, late (Umar) Yar'Adua and (Goodluck) Jonathan, who
have all appointed the IGP without consulting the police council as
stipulated by the constitution. Therefore the quality of the
appointment of the Inspector General of Police is in question."
Speaking on the Rivers State crisis and the recent disruption of some
governors meeting by a police officer, Mr. Falana said, "Section
215(1) of the Constitution gives Governors the power to direct the
police apparatus in their states; hence it is of the highest
illegality for a Police Commissioner to disregard the lawful authority
of a state governor."
Mr. Falana decried the close relationship between the law enforcement
agents and the ruling class, warning that this association was now the
major threat to Nigeria's democracy and rule of law.
"It is obvious that the power of the Nigerian police has been hijacked
by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. The present chairman of the
Police Service Commission is a card carrying member of the (PDP),"he
He advised state governors to demand the resuscitation of the Nigeria
Police Council.
Reckless impunity
In his remark, the chairman of the event, Itse Sagay, alleged that the
failure of the Nigerian security operatives to identify and prosecute
the killers of Dele Giwa, gave way to many unresolved as well as the
ongoing killings in the country.
Mr. Giwa was a journalist with Newswatch Magazine when he was murdered
during the Ibrahim Babangida administration. He was killed by the
explosion from a parcel bomb sent to his home.
"Dele Giwa was the most prominent journalist of his era and, indeed, a
celebrity who every journalist wanted to be like. His assassination
shocked the whole country not just because of who he was but the
method by which he was assassinated. We had not, at that time,
experienced any death by an explosive device. The impunity in killing
Dele Giwa made life very cheap in Nigeria, and very easy to take that
life without any consequence," the constitutional lawyer said
Gani's book on Dele Giwa
The wife of late human rights activist, Gani Fawehinmi, Ganiyat, who
was a guest at the event, stole the show when she revealed a similar
book written by her husband.
Presenting the book, Mrs. Fawehinmi alleged that it never made it to
the public because the then military Head of State, Ibrahim Babangida,
burnt over 5,000 copies of it.
"Babangida burnt over 5,000 copies of the book because he did not want
the world to see and know how Dele Giwa was killed," Mrs. Fawehinmi
Mr. Fawehinmi, who was a friend of Mr. Giwa, at the time, fought
relentlessly in court against the Babangida government over the
journalist's murder.
Mrs. Fawehinmi claimed to have retained the only copy of the book
available, which was given to her by her husband before he died.
"As far I am concerned, Babangida has murdered sleep and I know he
will sleep no more," she said as she showed the graphic picture from
the book of Dele Giwa's burnt torso due to the parcel's explosion.
Mr. Bashorun, whose book on Dele Giwa had brought the audience
together, wept uncontrollably while reading his speech, in which he
described the torment he went through trying to unravel Mr. Giwa's

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