Femi Falana, a renowned Nigerian lawyer and activist, told SaharaTV during an exclusive interview that he is not surprised at the recent claims by former Minister of Defense Musiliu Obanikoro of suing SaharaReporters and Premium Times, because of the “culture of impunity which operates in Nigeria.”
SaharaReporters first broke, and the Premium Times later reported, that then Minister of Defense Obanikoro was secretly recorded planning to rig the Ekiti State gubernatorial election in 2014, and that he was on “special assignment” by President Jonathan. Now Senator Obanikoro told some Nigeria media outlets that he plans to sue these media houses for defamation of character. The man who first leaked this information to SaharaReporters, Captain Sagir Koli, is in hiding out of fear for his life.
In addition to these alleged legal cases, Mr. Falana described the conduct of politicians in Nigeria as “monumental fraud” and that Nigerians must stand up against it.
On President Jonathan’s conduct toward the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) Chairman Attahiru Jega, Falana said “these public officers, particularly the INEC chairman, cannot be removed and cannot be sent on leave by the President,” because “if the President desires to remove the INEC chairman then he must address the Senate, and must have two-thirds of the Senate [vote] to remove [INEC chair].”
“You can’t have elections 30 days to the handing over day. That is dangerous! That is why March 28 and April 11 should remain sacrosanct, so that INEC can have sufficient time in case there is a tie,” Falana said of the election postponement.
Femi Falana is a known lawyer and activist in Nigeria, he has been detained on numerous occasions for his activism; he is also the former president of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and Chairman of the West African Bar Association.