A civil society organisation, Citizens for Rights and Justice, has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of being brutish in their dealings with the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Mashal Alex Badeh (rtd).
The spokesman of the group, Christian Akobundu, in a chat with journalists at the weekend, revealed that operatives of the EFCC often remained on the same issue for hours trying to shake the resilience of the chief, until he constructed sentences in the manner they desire.
According to Akobundu, they never allowed the chief to construct sentences in his own words, adding that they appear to have condemned him as guilty even though there is no evidence linking him to the arms deal.
The statement read in part, “Inside sources note that during questioning, Badeh is often questioned by multiple officers who ask the same question over and over again and aren’t satisfied until they get the answer they want. They often stay on the same issue for hours trying to shake the resilience of the chief and demanding that he construct sentences in the manner they desire.
“It is not uncommon for the interrogators to say ‘write it this way…’ with the chief trying to maintain that his statement should be in his own words. They appear to have condemned him as guilty even though there is no evidence linking him to the arms deal.
“To make matters worse is the fact that his lawyers are often told they must simply observe and cannot interrupt. If there is ever an attempt by a lawyer to assert the rights of their clients at EFCC, the officers flare up and attack such a lawyer effectively denying such individuals their right to counsel as guaranteed by the constitution.
“Our source also confirmed that the 59-year-old former Chief of Defence is not being questioned by normal officers but by a designated team known as special task force 2 who use a higher level of bullying and have been assigned the task of forcing him to accept guilt whether or not that is the case.
“The presidency must ensure that the power being designated to EFCC is discharged in a responsible way rather than allowing interrogators to use such underhand tactics.
“In support of this is the fact that Justice Halliru of the Federal High Court stated on March 1 that EFCC ‘has reduced itself “to the police station or detention centre of the Nigerian Army’ in the case of Colonel Adegbe.
“The EFCC in our belief, detained Badeh from February 2, 2016 and did not obtain or show proof of a remand warrant. They held him illegally even after their 48 hours to investigate were over denying him the right to go home even though there was little chance he would fail to report back to them,” it said.