â€¢ Jang Cannot be dispirited, Says Aide
Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Monday failed to present former Governor of Plateau State and Senator representing Plateau North in the National Assembly, who is being accused of fraud for â€˜logistic reasonsâ€™, which the commission said was responsible for not bringing him for arraignment.
But the counsel to Jang, Chief Robert Clarke (SAN), who was raged, expressed disappointment that the commission would charge his client to court without adequate preparation.
He also expressed shock that an accused person would be locked up for over one week and denied bail.
When the case was first mentioned in Court 5 of the state High Court, Jos, the EFCC counsel, Chief Rotimi Jacobs, had not arrived then. The judge, Justice Daniel Longji, therefore said: â€œLet us give a benefit of the doubt for sometimes.â€
After attending to other cases, the case was re-mentioned, and by then, Jacobs had arrived with an exparte application. He said the commission could not bring the accused to court yesterday for â€˜logistic reasonsâ€™.
The case was then adjourned by Justice Longji to May16, 2018.
Clarke, who appeared with 10 other lawyers, said: â€œIf I was told that EFCC will not be ready today, I wouldnâ€™t have believed. At my age of 80 years, I had to take a flight from Lagos to Abuja and travelled four hours by road, only to be told that the accused would not brought to court today because the commission is not ready. I am also shocked that EFCC will lock up an accused person since last Monday and refuse him a bail.
â€œThis is a man who has been obedient to constituted authority, and had severally honoured the commissionâ€™s invitations. Now he is being held since last Monday.â€
Despite of the tight security, there were protest by two groups in the court; the supporters of Jang numbering over 250 with placards saying: â€˜Set Jang Freeâ€™, Jang, Nigeriaâ€™s Hope, Jang our Heroâ€™, and others. They urged the federal government and EFCC to stop politically motivated intimidation of Jang. Led by Mr. Joshua Adeyemi, the group said Jang was being intimidated because of his 2019 ambition.
Adeyemi said: â€œIf a leader has done well, he deserves credit not arrest; Jang will come out of this case clean.â€
Another group countered Jangâ€™s supporters with chanting â€˜Jang, return our money.â€™ They also paraded placards with several anti-Jang inscriptions.
Reacting to the adjournment, Jangâ€™s media aide, Mr. Clinton Garuba, insisted that Jang cannot be dispirited by the intimidation allegedly sponsored by the federal government by keeping him unlawfully in their custody in flagrant disregard of the constitution and abuse of his fundamental human rights as a law-abiding citizen, especially when he has never failed to honour their numerous invitations.
He said: â€œFor a government which has legitimately earned for itself an enviable reputation as a lawbreaker and usurper of the law, we are not surprised at all at the desperate tactics deployed to deal with Senator Jang. For a government which revels in the dehumanisation of its citizens and oppression of perceived opponents, we are not in the dark about its penchant for human rights abuses as witnessed in the separate cases of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) and the leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria.
â€œFor the avoidance of doubts, Jang cannot be broken, dispirited or intimidated. His resolve to be strong for his people is intact. His opinion against a government which allows the killing of innocents in the Middle-belt is unchanged. His position against the transfer of ancestral lands from the people of the Middle-belt to herdsmen for grazing reserves or colonies is emphatic. His criticism of the government and its totalitarian tendencies is unstoppable. Therefore, his persecution in the hands of the EFCC will not yield the intended result envisaged when the plot was orchestrated.â€