Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and prominent activist, has called for the immediate release of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), from the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS). Falana argues that the remand order that allowed Bawa’s detention has expired and is no longer valid.
In a press statement issued on Sunday, Falana stated that “no magistrate has the power” to authorize the detention of a criminal suspect for 67 days without trial, as is the case with Bawa. He cited Section 493 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, and Section 35 of the Nigerian Constitution, asserting that the remand order is now “spent, invalid, and illegal.”
Furthermore, Falana called on the Federal Government to ensure that the rights of both Abdulrasheed Bawa and the suspended Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, are respected by the DSS and the Director of Public Prosecution in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Falana had previously demanded the release of Emefiele and Bawa, or that they be charged before a competent court if there was evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Emefiele was initially charged with illegal possession of firearms but was later charged with economic crimes. However, Bawa has not been charged with any criminal offense, making his continued detention a matter of concern.
Under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, the maximum duration for a remand order is 56 days. Falana argued that the DSS should release Bawa from custody immediately, as the detention period permitted by both the law and the constitution has been exceeded.