Ex-EFCC Chair Bawa Released After 134 Days In DSS Detention

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The detained former Chairman of Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been released by the Department of State Services.

Bawa was released on Wednesday, 134 days after he was detained at the facility of Nigeria’s secret police, DSS, without trial.

Bawa was arrested and detained by the DSS on June 14, 2023, following an invite following allegations of abuse of office shortly after he was suspended by President Bola Tinubu.

Bellnews reported earlier on Wednesday Bawa had sued the State Security Service (SSS), also known as the DSS for his continued incarceration without trial.

Bawa in the suit filed at the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court for the Enforcement of Fundamental Rights, brought by one Barrister Chinedu Oburu of Edu Oburu & Co. on his behalf, sought an order of the court to declare his detention without trial as illegal and to direct his immediate release.

The suit marked FHC/CS/2108/23 between Abdulrasheed Bawa as Applicant and SSS (DSS) as Respondent was brought Pursuant to Order 11 Rules 1, 2 and 3 of the Fundamental Rights (Enforcement Procedure Rules 2009, Sections 35(1)(4)(a), (5)(a)(b), 41(1), 46 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and under the inherent jurisdiction of the honourable court.

In the suit filed on October 20, 2023, the former EFCC chairman sought the following orders:

“A Declaration that the continued detention of the Applicant from June 14, 2023 till date without Arraignment or Criminal prosecution is a fragrant abuse and violation of his fundamental rights to freedom, liberty and personal dignity.

“An Order directing the Respondent to immediately release the Applicant from custody.

“And for further or other Orders as the Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances.”

In an affidavit in support of the application before the court, the legal practitioner stated that the government of former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed the Applicant as the Chairman of the EFCC, one of the government institutions established to fight and curb corruption in Nigeria.

He noted that the Applicant was suspended from office by the Federal Government on June 14, 2023, and was subsequently invited for interrogation by the Respondent (SSS) herein.

He said, “That upon arrival at the offices of the Respondent on June 14, 2023, the Applicant was promptly detained.

“That since June 14, 2023 (over 120 days) that the Applicant was detained, he has remained in the Respondent’s detention facility without any criminal charge or trial proffered against him till date.

“That the continued illegal detention of the Chairman of the EFCC without any charge is an affront and assault on the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

“That the continued and indefinite detention of the EFCC chairman without any criminal charge is a necked assault on the Fundamental Rights of the Applicant as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).”

He, however, stated that he brought the action in the overall interest of the Applicant, the Nigerian public, democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria and the need to sustain the anti-corruption spirit and momentum.

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