Tope Akinyode, a legal practitioner, has advised the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to desist from media and public parade of suspects.
The anti-graft agency traditionally parades suspects in the media but refuses to update the public when the suspect in question is set free by the court.
The act is said to have tarnished the reputations of those who have fallen victim of being paraded before the media. In defense, the EFCC said it does so to inform the public of its activities and not pronouncing suspect guilty.
“The EFCC does not pronounce a suspect guilty or otherwise. Only the court does,” the anti-graft agency said on Twitter in response to a user on the micro-blogging site who kicked against the practise.
“However, parading of suspects for their ALLEGED crime is to inform and update the public of the Commission’s activities, and it is done within the ambit of law.
“Kindly note that the EFCC only parades suspects after they have been profiled with evidences gotten from investigations,” it said and cited a fundamental rights suit, Sulyman Abaya Vs. EFCC, which was presided by Justice Hammed Gegele, of Kwara State High Court, Ilorin.
It added that the presiding judge ruled that since the published image has the word, ALLEGED, there is no injury to the suspect’s reputation.
The lawyer in response said although he could not find the cited judgment, the case of Ottoh Obono v. Inspector General of Police, Citation & Suit No; FHC/CA/CS/91/2009, had Justice Aneke delivered a landmark judgment that declared the parade of suspects before the media illegal and unconstitutional.
Mr Akinyode who described the act as illegal vowed to seek legal redress should the practise continue.
“I’m issuing this public notice to @officialEFCC that it should follow the path of wisdom and desist from media/public parade of suspects henceforth. If the @officialEFCC fails to follow this wise counsel, I shall proceed to Court to challenge the ILLEGALITY.,” Akinyode tweeted.
I'm issuing this public notice to @officialEFCC that it should follow the path of wisdom and desist from media/public parade of suspects henceforth. If the @officialEFCC fails to follow this wise counsel, I shall proceed to Court to challenge the ILLEGALITY.
— Tope Akinyode (@TopeAkinyode) September 13, 2020