A coalition of human rights group, Citizens for Justice Network, CJN, has appealed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to charge the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Mohammed, to court or grant him administrative bail.
The CJN made up of Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights (PAIR), Society for Gender Equity (SGE) and Network for Transparency (NET), decried the continued detention of the former FCT Minister for the over eight days, noting that it violates his fundamental human rights.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, coordinator of the CJN, Bar. Austine Kanu, observed that if the EFCC has compelling evidence against the detained Bala, it should charge him to court rather than subject him to undue psychological and emotional trauma.
Kanu stressed the fact that Bala has met conditions his administrative bail and was still being held by the commission showed that it was no longer matter of investigation but witch-hunt.
“We demand that the EFCC grants Bala administrative bail, since he has fulfilled the bail conditions or charge him to court. Holding on to him without any valid court order and subjecting him to psychological and emotional trauma stands against the rule of law.
“We in the CJN are beginning to think that there is more to this than his alleged offence. We understand that the man’s health condition has deteriorated since his incarceration by the commission. It is therefore imperative that they release him to seek for better medical attention. It is also curious that other persons like the former Customs boss, Inde Dikko, were granted bail without fuss over ill health and wonder why Bala’s matter is an exception.
“It is instructive that every accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, therefore, Bala is innocent until the court decides otherwise. Keeping him in detention more than the mandatory time frame as stipulated by the constitution leaves us with the notion that he has been found guilty by the EFCC, which lacks the authority to decide so,” Kanu stated.
The human rights activist expressed the worry that Bala’s health could further worsen if the commission continues to keep him, stressing that the group will be compelled to enforce his fundamental human rights.
The CJN coordinator affirmed that the ex-FCT minister poses no flight risk or threat of physical violence and wondered, therefore appealed to the graft commission to expedite his bail.