The Federal Government has debunked a media report that it ordered or facilitated the release of suspected Boko Haram financiers in government custody.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN gave the assurance via a statement issued to newsmen on Friday 24th September, 2021.
According to the Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Dr. Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, none of the suspected financiers in respect of whom remand orders were obtained by the Federal Government was at any time released.
The statement further described Sahara Reporters publication as malicious and misrepresentation of facts relating to the ongoing investigation of terrorism financing suspects in Nigeria.
The AGF reiterated that the fight against the menace of terrorism is an ongoing operation characterized by intelligence gathering, arrest, investigation, and prosecution.
He then described the story as inherently contradictory and substantially mischievous. The contradictions in the story according to him can best be understood from the point of the analysis of the affidavit that was said to have been procured by Sahara Reporters as deposed before a court in relation the subject matter.
The statement reads: “By their own showing, the Office of the Attorney General, has deposed to an affidavit on account of which an order of a court was obtained, seeking for the continued detention of those financiers that were alleged to have been in custody.
“This, by implication, established that the matter is effectively submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. It is common knowledge that where a matter is submitted to a court of law, it is only through the judicial process that any subsequent action can possibly be taken. The question then arising from the claim of Sahara Reporters is this:
” When was an application filed in court by the office of the attorney general by which the release of the purported suspects was procured?
“It amounts to approbation and reprobation for the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation to, in one breath, obtain an order seeking for continued detention of the alleged financiers of Boko Haram and at the same time having them released.
“If the interest of the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation was to have the people released, the idea of approaching the court for an order of the court seeking for extension or time to have them in custody couldn’t have even arisen in the first place.
” The most important, and in fact, interesting aspect that people would like to know about the mischief associated with the position of Sahara Reporters story was who are the custodian of these people alleged to have been taken into custody. One needs to know by which communication or correspondence or application was their release procured since the matter is already pending before the court of law, and they were taken to custody on account of court order.
“It does not add up for the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation to procure the release of someone that has been in custody on account of court order without approaching the court.
” The public, in essence, are entitled to know which application was it that was subsequently filed to procure the release of the financiers. When was the application filed, before which court was it taken and which lawyer is it that has taken the application and where is the Court order on which account the release was effected?
“We are also amazed that an allegation of bribe taking is made. The public is entitled to know who the originator of the bribery was. Who facilitated the giving of bribe? Who accepted or collected the bribe on behalf of the Attorney General? Who were the vendors and facilitators? Expect, perhaps, if Sahara Reporters in their own rights were the perpetrators and indeed, vendors of the bribery allegation.
” Sahara Reporters are simply using the hard earned reputation of the Attorney General of the Federation as an associated ploy to re-enact their lost glory and goodwill to win a reading consideration of the public.
“They are indeed, battling to see what they can sell in terms of fabricated stories in line with their tradition of fabricating lies and sharing same in the public media space. The public are entitled to know further information arising from their wild, unfounded and baseless allegation which is characterized by mischief and falsehood,”