Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, has requested the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) to investigate the attorneys-general in various states for their “refusal” to prosecute murder suspects.
In a letter addressed to Abubakar Mahmud (SAN), NBA president, Falana asked the association to probe the state attorneys for “failing” to investigate “criminal elements engaged in the reckless killing of innocent citizens” in the country.
He said it is disturbing that the NBA has “failed” to monitor the prosecution of the scores of murder suspects arrested by the police or indicted by the panels of inquiry set up by the federal and state governments to probe violent civil disturbances in the country.
“We have confirmed that the rate of killings in the country has been on the ascendancy due to the refusal of several state attorneys-general to prosecute murder suspects due to political pressure or sheer negligence of duty,” he said.
Falana cited instances — where murder suspects went scot-free — including the reported killing of at least 70 persons between 1999 and 2007 by an official squad in Gombe state, the reported killing of 856 persons in 12 northern states and Akwa Ibom in a post election violence in April 2011 as well as the reported killing of 55 persons in a pre-election violence in Rivers state in 2015.
He added: “In the light of the foregoing, you will agree with us that since culpable homicide or murder is a state offence the attorneys-general of all the states in the country ought to have ensured that the suspects arrested by the security agencies were prosecuted in line with the powers conferred on them by section 211 of the constitution.
“Having failed to prosecute the murder suspects the chief law officers of the states have breached their oaths of office and subverted the rule of law.
“It may interest you to know that some attorneys-general have a penchant for terminating murder charges by filing nolle prosequi.”
The lawyer said investigating the state attorneys will put an end to the “culture of impunity” in the country.
“Unless the Nigerian Bar Association is prepared to sanction attorneys-general who fail or refuse to prosecute murder suspects, the reckless killing of the Nigerian people by killer squads and armed bandits will continue unabated,” he said