[News]-Lawyers warn Buhari on probing Jonathan over ND Avengers

Lawyers warn Buhari on probing Jonathan over ND Avengers

– The allegation that former President Goodluck Jonathan is part of those sponsoring militants in Nigeria has continued to draw reactions

– Lawyers across the country have added their voice to the controversy and told President Muhammadu Buhari what to do concerning the allegation

– They however warned Buhari against humiliating the former president all in the name of conducting a probe without facts

Some Nigerian lawyers have warned President Muhammadu Buhari about the reported plan to probe his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan over the latter’s alleged sponsorship of the Niger Delta Avengers.

Former President Gooluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, his successor

Jonathan was named by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) as one of the sponsors of the agitating group that has blown up many government installations across the Niger Delta region and has threatened to declare independence on October 1.

The former president, on his part, had denied the allegation fingering those who are jealous of his rising international profile as responsible for the report that linked him with militants.

Daily Trust reports that Femi Falana, one of the lawyers who spoke on the issue warned the federal government to probe Jonathan only with watertight evidence that he was actually involved.

Falana, a Lagos-based human rights lawyer, said a serious allegation as this must be handled with care.

The senior lawyer added: “During the campaigns, the groups (militants) threatened to break up the country if Dr Jonathan did not win the 2015 presidential election.

“Did the security forces monitor the groups after the elections? Are we not dealing with another case of failure of intelligence?

“Those who set up the Boko Haram sect are known to the state. Has the government moved against them?

“The militant groups in the Niger Delta were set up by politicians. Have they been asked to account? Surely, the state has lost the monopoly of violence to militant and terrorist groups.

“The incompetence of the ruling class has compounded the crisis of nation building.”

On his part, Auwalu Hamisu Yadudu, a professor of law, said though there was nothing bad in probing Jonathan, the evidence must be real.

“Although some people are of the view that Jonathan should not be probed because he was defeated in election by President Buhari and so on, but in law that should not be a basis to exempt him from being probed if found wanting in committing some wrongdoings that warrant probe.

“I will not encourage humiliating or maltreating the former president in the name of probe.

“Not only an ex-president, whoever is involved in this kind of situation should be treated fairly and justly.

“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) have their mandates, so if the allegations against Jonathan fall within their mandates they should handle it,” he said.

In his reaction, constitutional lawyer, Festus Okoye, said: “As far as I am concerned, any individual that has committed any form of criminal offence or has committed any form of infraction should be investigated and tried, including former President Jonathan.

“There is no need to set up any panel, the former president is like anybody in the country, and you know that nobody is above the law.

“If he has a case to answer, he should be referred to either the ICPC or the EFCC, depending on his offence.

“Why didn’t they threaten to do so when he (Jonathan) was our president and doing what he did.

“The country is for all us and we must all be seen to be working in the interest of the country. So we should not be threatened with secession.

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