Malam Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, said that none of the suspects has been released by the government or any court so far since they were hauled into detention upon reasonable suspicion.
He clarified that all the suspected Boko Haram financiers apprehended so far are in effective custody of the federal government on valid court order.
The clarification by the Minister in a statement issued in Abuja and made available to our correspondent may not be unconnected with a media report that some of the suspects have been released upon receipt of an order from the AGF’s office.
The statement by Malami’s Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations, Umar Jibrilu Gwandu was , however, emphatic that the suspects are in effective custody of government in an undisclosed location.
The statement reads in part “None of the suspected financiers in respect of whom remand orders were procured by the federal government was at any time ordered or facilitated to be released by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN.
“The report on the alleged release of 300 suspects by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice is a malicious misrepresentation of facts relating to the ongoing investigation of terrorism financing suspects in Nigeria.
“It is important to reiterate at this point that the fight against the menace of terrorism is an ongoing operation characterized by intelligence gathering, arrest, investigation, and prosecution.
“The story is inherently contradictory and substantially mischievous. The contradictions in the story can best be understood from the point of the analysis of the affidavit that was said to have been procured by as deposed to before a court in relation the subject matter.
“By their own showing, the Office of the Attorney General, has deposed to an affidavit on account of which an order of a court was obtained, seeking for the continued detention of those financiers that were alleged to have been in custody.
“This, by implication, established that the matter is effectively submitted to the jurisdiction of the court.
“It is common knowledge that where a matter is submitted to a court of law, it is only through the judicial process that any subsequent action can possibly be taken.
“The question then arising from the claim is this: When was an application filed in court by the office of the Attorney General by which the release of the purported suspects was procured?
“It amounts to approbation and reprobation for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to, in one breath, obtain an order seeking for continued detention of the alleged financiers of Boko Haram and at the same time having them released.
“The most important and in fact, interesting aspect that people would like to know about the mischief associated with the position of the story was who are the custodian of these people alleged to have been taken into custody.
“One needs to know by which communication or correspondence or application was their release procured since the matter is already pending before the court of law, and they were taken to custody on account of court order.
“It does not add up for the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to procure the release of someone that has been in custody on account of court order without approaching the court.
“The public, in essence, are entitled to know which application was it that was subsequently filed to procure the release of the financiers.
“When was the application filed, before which court was it taken and which lawyer is it that has taken the application and where is the court order on which account the release was effected?
“We are also amazed that an allegation of bribe taking is made. The public is entitled to know who the originator of the bribery was and who facilitated the giving of bribe?
“Who accepted or collected the bribe on behalf of the Attorney General? Who were the vendors and facilitators? “