Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Femi Falana, has cautioned some Nigerians against being used as a tool of repression by those in transient positions of authority.
Falana spoke while reacting to a criminal complaint lodged against him at the International Criminal Court, The Hague, Netherlands, by one Joseph Nwaegbu, a Senior Associate of Pathfind Attorneys on behalf of Make Nigeria Better Initiative.
The group accused the human rights lawyer of “spreading fake news to further incite the youth in the country against the government, which led to killings and destruction of properties” during the EndSARS protests across Nigeria in October.
Falana said, “Mr Joseph Nwaegbu, Pathfind Attorneys, MNBI and their shadowy minders and paymasters obviously think that the ICC is a forum for frivolities, especially of the type we have gotten accustomed to in Nigeria (like government and government officials hiring praise-singers or protesters to counter-balance genuine protesters!).
“They will sooner or later know that the ICC is not such a place. I welcome them to pursue their petition.
“I move around the world and I have easy and undisturbed passage. I hope the shadowy minders and paymasters of Mr Joseph Nwaegbu, Pathfind Attorneys, MNBI are able to do likewise. In fact, I challenge them to dare.
“A full-scale war declared illegally in Port Harcourt which he said claimed the lives of scores of unarmed civilians.
“It was because they have no respect for the rule and the duly constituted courts that these elements have persisted in dabbling into politics and civil affairs as recently shown in their deployment of soldiers in full battle gear and war formation against peaceful protesters.
“They should learn from their USA counterparts who, despite all encouragement by the President of the country, refused to run such errands for those in transient political authority.
“Never on my own side have I ever used anything other than the Law to resist the attempts to return us to 1984.
“For instance, when these elements suddenly woke up one morning in October 2019 and gave to themselves the power to go on the streets to conduct military operations against civilians under the guise of a so-called Operation Positive Identification, I instituted the suit No. FHC/L/CS/1939/19 with a view to bringing them back to the path of constitutional rectitude.
“In the case, the Federal High Court declared such operation illegal. The presiding judge, Justice Aikawa, issued a restraining injunction and said:
“It would be outside the powers of the 3rd respondent (the Nigerian Army) for it to parade the streets in the rest of the country and demand citizens to show their identity cards and the like. If there is any security need for that, my view is that it should be left in the hands of the police, which is the security agency vested with these functions as spelt out by Section 4 of the Police Act.”