Contempt: Submit Yourself To Prison, Lawyer Tells EFCC Chairman, Bawa
A Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Ogun, has asked the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to obey the court order that committed him to prison.
Ogun said nobody was above the law, especially public officers who swore oaths of allegiance to defend and uphold the Constitution.
According to PUNCH, the EFCC Chairman, Bawa, was convicted by a Federal High Court in Abuja over contempt of court, and was subsequently sentenced to the Kuje Correction Centre in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The EFCC, through its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, had since said it would appeal the ruling.
Reacting in a statement made available to our correspondent in Lagos on Tuesday, the lawyer, Ogun, said Bawa “should immediately submit himself to officers at the Kuje Correctional Centre following his conviction for contempt and gross disobedience to court orders by my Lord, Hon Justice Chizoba Oji of the Federal Capital Territory High Court.”
He noted that the EFCC Chairman “failed, refused and neglected to obey a four-year-old order of the court directing the commission to return to an applicant, his Range Rover (super charge) and the sum of N40 million. Indeed, the court has spoken loud and clear that impunity cannot have a place in this country.”
“The EFCC Chairman cannot continue to act as though he is above the law. In a democracy, orders of court are meant to be immediately obeyed, especially by public office holders who swore oaths to defend and uphold the Constitution. Our tottering democracy is endangered when court orders are disrespected,” he said.
The lawyer said the EFCC should not just appeal the ruling but should first and immediately obey the court order.
“It is not enough to file a notice of appeal. The court order must first be immediately complied with because merely filing an appeal does not automatically guarantee a stay of execution. Alternatively, he should immediately comply with the court orders and apologise for his misconduct.
“If what we practice is indeed a democracy, then, we must play by its rules. The only way to enjoy relative sanity is for the rule of law to reign supreme. Both the low and mighty must bow before the law. There must be consequences for this gross impunity with the hope that others will learn from this,” Ogun added.