Sani speaks from detention, says goverment cannot use extortion allegation to frame or silence him

• You Have Questions To Answer, Insists EFCC
• HURIWA Demands His Immediate Release

Civil rights activist and former senator representing Kaduna Central Zone in the 8th National Assembly, Shehu Sani, has stated that government cannot use alleged trumped up charges of extortion to silence him from talking about the ills of the country under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. In a statement from detention, which was made available to journalists, yesterday, Sani insisted that the allegation of extortion against him “is baseless, factless, unfounded, hollow and unsubstantial.”

The senator, who was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of allegedly extorting the Chairman of ASD Motors, Alhaji Sani Dauda, of the sum of $10,000, noted: “It is a scripted stream of mischievous concoctions and utter fabrications, using a puppet state agent, all aimed at splashing faeces and mud on me. 

“The extortion allegation is nothing, but a wholesale falsehood, packaged in a phantom anti-graft facade to taint, stain and mute me. That shall never happen if I am alive. “I have made my statement and provided all my facts against their package of lies and I demand the EFCC to make public all the sheets of our statements and supporting documents for the world to see.”

According to Sani: “My detention is unfair, unjust, prearranged and politically motivated. Alhaji Sani Dauda and his hidden sponsors have not been able to provide any proof of their allegations. “I’m unjustly incarcerated on the ground of an arranged two-page petition backed with no evidential or documentary proof. Fascism thrives in frame-up of its critics.

“They claim extortion and here they are closing my bank accounts, searching my houses and offices and demanding I declare my assets, which I have already done at the CCB last year when I left the senate.“Frame-up cannot silence me. I have never ever met with the CJN or any Judge or Judges or ever called directly or indirectly to offer to give or to give directly or indirectly any form of gratification from Dauda.”He continued: “I have never, ever discussed with Dauda on any form of bribe or gratification to be given to any Judge or any EFCC official. The bribe story is phantom and fake imaginative work of fiction, cruelly crafted to smear me, to frame me and to justify my persecution.

“The bribe story is a heap of blatant lies and outright falsehood concocted and fabricated, using a front and the EFCC to premiere a state drama. Dauda is a barely educated front for a state mission.“Criminalising me or framing me will not silence me, bend me or compromise me.”

However, in a swift reaction yesterday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said it has taken note of insinuations and claims that it was “prosecuting” Senator Shehu Sani because he is a known critic of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, insisting he has questions to answer regarding the allegation against him.

EFCC acting spokesperson, Tony Orilade, in a statement in Abuja, stated that Sani was currently facing criminal investigation and was being detained by the EFCC in a very conducive environment, based on a valid court order.“Invariably, claims in some quarters of the breach of his fundamental human rights is merely in the imagination of the purveyors of such claims.

“Let it be stated clearly that Sani has questions to answer as regards the alleged involvement in name-dropping and particularly that he obtained $25,000 from Alhaji Sani Dauda, the ASD Motors boss, in order to help shield him from investigations being carried out by the EFCC.“For certain people to brazenly come out to defend a suspect who is being probed for a serious offence, as the one committed by Sani, shows that they are not really conversant with his offence.“It is unfortunate that certain people are ready to do anything to support evil for pecuniary gains,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has condemned the continued detention of Sani.In a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA accused the EFCC of discrimination in the treatment of Sani, apparently because of his status and “well-known constructive criticism of the failings of the current All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government of Buhari,” saying: “This is progressively revealing to be without reasonable cause and the trends are increasingly manifesting that he may afterall be a political hostage or prisoner of conscience, which contravenes all known municipal and international human rights laws.

“May we by this medium inform Buhari that all human beings including his critics, such as Sani, have the right to liberty and security. It is imperative that Sani is released immediately from the arbitrary arrest and detention, because irrespective of their treaty obligations, all states are bound by international law to respect and ensure everybody’s right to liberty and security of the person and this is obviously a universal legal responsibility which the Nigerian state must uphold at all times.”

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