Prominent Lagos-based lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has said that contrary to allegations levelled against him, he has never been silent about political killings in his home state, Ekiti.
Falana, in a statement made available to The Eagle Online on Sunday morning, said that he had always spoken out whenever there was a killing in Ekiti State.
He said he has done so both now and in the past.
He said it was therefore wrong to accuse him of “criminal silence” in the cases of killings during the regime of the incumbent Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
Falana said the recent murder of Folorunso Ogundare in Emure Ekiti would serve as a test case in the history of politically motivated murders in the state, urging the people of the state to fight it to a logical conclusion.
He said he has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, on the killing of Ogundare, who was attacked on November 4, 2013.
The statement by Falana reads in full: “On 4/11/13 one Foluso Ogundare was brutally attacked by suspected political thugs at Emure Ekiti. He was rushed to the hospital. Regrettably he gave up the ghost on 5/11/13. As I was in Abuja for a case at the material time I petitioned the Inspector-General of Police on 6/11/13 wherein I called for the arrest and prosecution of the criminals who carried out the dastardly act.
“I was assured that the office of the Inspector-General of Police would take over the case from the Ekiti State Police Command. Thereafter, at a meeting with the Director General of the State Security Service later that day over the illegal detention of Mrs Clara at the Government House, Enugu I called for en end to impunity in Ekiti State, So far, all the suspects arrested in connection with the gruesome murder at Emure have been transferred to abuja for interrogation. Without any prompting or blackmail from any quarters whatsoever I am keenly following up the matter until the suspects are charged to court.
“I was on my way to Lagos in the evening of 6/11/13 when my attention was drawn to the reckless statement of one Bola Agboola to the effect that I was maintaining “criminal silence” over the killings in Ekiti State. Although I know the fellow who instigated the objectionable statement I decided to ignore it. But since some people have genuinely expressed concern over the imminent descent to anarchy in Ekiti State I wish to asserverate that it is too late in the day for me to keep silent over killings and other human rights infringements in any part of Nigeria.
“Under the Kayode Fayemi regime I have never maintained “criminal silence” over killings. In the previous cases of killings and other politically motivated attacks in Ekiti State I have consistently demanded that the suspects be brought to book. It is public knowledge that the chairman of the ruling party in Ekiti State is currently standing trial for murder. I have advised the Ekiti State Attorney-General to allow the Police to prosecute the case and conclude it. In my comment on the recent attack at a burial ceremony in Iyin Ekiti I indicted the state government due to the fact that a public official was fingered at the scene. The fellow was immediately relieved of his post by Governor Fayemi. In the past, probe panels were set up by the government to cover up criminal activities of public officers.
“In the course of my human rights work spanning over three decades I have had the privilege of defending the fundamental rights of both Governor Kayode Fayemi and Honourable Opeyemi Bamidele when they were violated by certain principalities.To that extent, neither of them has the moral right to prevent me from defending other victims of human rights abuse. In particular, Dr Fayemi has never suggested to me to maintain silence over criminality or impunity in Ekiti State or anywhere for that matter.
“But since the allegation of “criminal silence” exists in the warped imagination of some misguided political elements they have deliberately suppressed my regular condemnation of violent attacks in Ekiti State under the Kayode Fayemi government. Notwithstanding that the allegation is spurious and uncalled for I wish to advise such characters to Google the following publications:
“(1) “Killings: Falana threatens FG, firms with law suit”
“(2) “Falana seeks arrest, prosecution of culprits”
“(3) “Falana condemns Iyin Ekiti violence”.
“Readers may also check my positions over the unlawful killings at Ifaki, Ijan, Ikere, Ilawe, Aramoko, Omuo, Ado, Erijiyan which occured from 2003-2013. Apart from ensuring that indicted suspects were charged to court I made the state government to pay compensation in deserving cases. In other matters I filed suits in courts pro bono publico to compel the police to prosecute powerful murder suspects. In taking up such cases I risked my life and personal liberty.
“Unfortunately, some of the murder cases pending at the State High court holden at Ado Ekiti were compromised on the alter of political expediency by unprincipled politicians. In the only case where conviction was secured a politician who was jailed for the cold murder of two students at the college of education, Ikere was pardoned in 2009. The suspects who were standing trial for the cold murder of Tunde Omojola and Dr. Ayo Daramola were granted bail in questionable circumstances.
“Without prejudice to the ongoing police investigation into the killing at Emure I shall cause my letter to the Inspector-General of Police to be published within the next 48 hours. But those who sincerely believe in the sanctity of the life of every citizen must rise above partisan politics to demand for the prosecution of all criminal suspects in Ekiti State. It is my fervent conviction that we can take advantage of the barbaric murder of Foluso Ogundare to say NEVER AGAIN in Ekiti State!