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‘No one will be held outside the laws’ — Fagbemi speaks on arrests of journalists

FG approves tax agreement to eliminate double taxation between Nigeria, UAE FG approves tax agreement to eliminate double taxation between Nigeria, UAE

Lateef Fagbemi, attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, says no one will be held outside the laws of the land.

Fagbemi spoke on Friday at the ongoing ministerial sectoral briefing to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the President Bola Tinubu administration.

On what is being done about the renewed “abduction of journalists” from their homes, the minister said the Tinubu administration will always operate within the ambit of the rule of law and justice.

He said regardless of whether a journalist is involved or not, “no one will be held outside the laws of the country”.

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“You don’t rationalise justice, you dispense it. If people deserve to be released, you release them,” Fagbemi said.

ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS

Security operatives have intensified attacks on journalists since the turn of the year.

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In March, Segun Olatunji, a former editor of FirstNews, was abducted in Lagos.

On May 1, Daniel Ojukwu, a journalist with the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ), was detained by the police for 10 days after he was “abducted” by officers in Lagos.

On May 14, Jamil Mabai, a freelance journalist, was detained by the Katsina Hisbah religious police after being invited to “interview their spokesperson”.

On Wednesday, Madu Onuorah, publisher and editor-in-chief of Globalupfront Newspaper was arrested by operatives of the Enugu police command from his Abuja residence.

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NNAMDI KANU’S DETENTION 

The minister also said he does not know Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), personally.

Kanu is facing trial for alleged treasonable felony charges and has remained in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) for three years.

The IPOB leader was rearrested in Kenya in 2021 and extradited to Nigeria — after being on the run for a few years.

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The AGF said Kanu was being held under the rule of law, adding that the case of Kanu and that of Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters, are dissimilar.

Asked why the likes of Sowore and Sunday Igboho, the Yoruba Nation activist, were released while Kanu remains in DSS custody, the minister said “Nnamdi Kanu and Sowore’s cases are not the same. If I see Sowore, I don’t know him, if I see Nnamdi Kanu, I don’t know him”.

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“So, Nnamdi Kanu is being held under the rule of law and the court,” he added.

“Let’s wait for the decision of the court. No one will be held outside the laws of the country.”

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CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Fagbemi said the federal government secured 166 criminal convictions within the last one year.

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He said the ministry, in collaboration with security and law enforcement agencies, has developed a framework for joint investigations and collaboration.

The AGF said “within the period under review, we secured 166 convictions of criminal cases”, adding that among them were 87 convictions for terrorism cases.

“I’m pleased to report that the ministry has resumed the trial of terrorism cases in conjunction with Legal Aid Council and the National Human Rights Commission, and other critical stakeholders,” he said.

“The percentage of terrorism cases initiated and terrorism cases concluded within the period has been significant.”

Fagbemi said 13 convictions relating to terrorism financing were also secured within the last one year.

He also disclosed that 625 cases were initiated against the president, the federal government and its agencies before states, federal and ECOWAS courts within the same period.

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