Army not empowered to declare civilians ‘wanted’ – Falana

Army not empowered to declare civilians ‘wanted’ –  Falana
August 30 10:42 2016

Human rights lawyer, Femi
 Falana, has described the declaration of three persons wanted by the Nigerian Army, in connection with Boko Haram insurgency, as illegal.

Falana in a statement on Monday, said only the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services has the power to declare civilians wanted.

The Army had, after a Boko Haram video which showed the missing Chibok girls, declared Ahmad 
Salkida, a journalist; Aisha Wakil, 
a lawyer; and Ahmed Bolori, a
social worker, wanted.

According to the army, the three
 persons had links with the sect and knew a lot about the school girls who were abducted from Chibok in April, 2014.

“Thus, by declaring the three
 persons wanted without any legal 
authority the army has usurped 
the statutory powers of both the
Police and the SSS.

“In the process it has breached 
the fundamental rights of the
‘suspects’ to personal liberty,
 dignity of the person and fair
 hearing guaranteed by the 
Constitution,” Falana’s statement read in part.

It continued: “Declaring the
‘suspects’ wanted is ultra vires, illegal and
 unconstitutional in every material particular.”
Realizing that we are under a constitutional
democracy which requires that the
 infringement of the rights of any citizen be 
justified in law, the army has relied on the
 provisions of the country’s anti terrorism
legislation.

“Since the wanted persons are not serving
 military personnel who are subject to service 
law they cannot be investigated or tried under
 the Armed Forces Act Cap A20 LFN, 2004,” he
said.

“Furthermore, under the Terrorism 
Prevention Act 2011 as amended the army has
not been authorized to perform any duty 
whatsoever.”