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Femi Falana Immunity won't protect Fayose if indicted by military panel - Human right lawyer says

It also recommended further investigation of of nine officers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

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Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has said Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State faces prosecution if indicted by the military panel set up to investigate the alleged rigging of the 2015 governorship election in the state.

The report of the panel, which was submitted to the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, in January, had recommended the compulsory retirement of two officers, the prosecution of one officer for collecting bribe and asked that three other officers lose their command.

It also recommended further investigation of of nine officers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Speaking to Punch, Falana said if the report indicts Fayose, a former secretary of the Ekiti chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, Temitope Aluko, who made staggering confession two weeks ago about the alleged rigging, could be used as the Federal Government witness against the Governor.

Aluko had alleged that the military was used to influence the election to favour Fayose, adding that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan also gave the Governor $37million to perfect the manipulation.

Falana said: “The army authorities had investigated the fraudulent governorship election purportedly won by Mr. Ayo Fayose in June 2014. It has been confirmed that it was not an election but a coup executed by armed soldiers led by one General (Aliyu) Momoh.

“The panel which investigated the shameful event has recommended the dismissal of a number of military officers and the further investigation of others by the EFCC over the money illegally collected by them for the purpose of subjecting voters to horrendous harassment and brutalisation. Captain Sagir Koli watched the whole messy show and decided to record Momoh and his accomplices.”

He added that all the  indicted suspects will be arrested and prosecuted once the panel report is released and the EFCC investigation on the alleged N4.8bn "which was criminally diverted for the election" is concluded.

On whether immunity clause will protect Fayose or not, Falana said “there is no immunity for impunity as far as electoral malfeasance is concerned. In the cases of Obi v Mbakwe, Alliance for Democracy v Ayo Fayose and Amaechi v INEC it has been established that governors cannot hide under the immunity clause to commit electoral fraud.

“By the strict interpretation of section 308 of the Constitution no court process can be issued or served on a governor. But because immunity cannot be pleaded or invoked to cover electoral fraud, elected governors are served with court processes and dragged to court to respond to allegations of electoral malpractice.”

However, Fayose has since dispelled Aluko's supposed confession, saying he is angry because his request to become the Governor’s Chief of Staff was rejected.

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