Activist lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) on Thursday reacted to criminal complaints filed against him by a group, Make Nigeria Better Initiative(MNBI) accusing him of allegedly instigating the #EndSARS protests by Nigerian youths before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The complaint, dated November 4, 2020, was filed by one Joseph Nwaegbu, a Senior Associate of Pathfind Attorneys on behalf of MNBI.
Nwaegbu, in the complaint before the ICC had said that said the role played by Falana before, during and after the protests” is not only ignoble but criminal.”
But in a statement in Lagos titled “Let the guilty be afraid”, Falana denied instigating #EndSARS protesters.
Falana challenged Nwaegbu to pursue his petition against him at the ICC. “Mr. Joseph Nwaegbu, Pathfind Attorneys, MNBI and their shadowy minders and paymasters obviously think that the ICC is a forum for frivolities, especially of the type we have gotten accustomed to in Nigeria (like government and government officials hiring praise-singers or protesters to counter-balance genuine protesters!).
“They will sooner or later know that the ICC is not such a place. I welcome them to pursue their petition.
I move around the world and I have easy and undisturbed passage. I hope the shadowy minders and paymasters of Mr. Joseph Nwaegbu, Pathfind Attorneys, MNBI are able to do likewise. In fact, I challenge them to dare,” he added.
He insisted he has always used the instrument of the law to fight for what is just and accused some elements of using men of the Nigerian Army to wage a genocidal attack on peaceful and unarmed #EndSARS protesters especially at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos and in respect of “a full-scale war declared illegally in Port Harcourt which he said claimed the lives of scores of unarmed civilians.
He said: “It was because they have no respect for the rule and the duly constituted courts that these elements have persisted in dabbling into politics and civil affairs as recently shown in their deployment of soldiers in full battle gear and war formation against peaceful protesters.
“They should learn from their USA counterparts who, despite all encouragement by the President of the country, refused to run such errands for those in transient political authority.
“Never on my own side have I ever used anything other than the Law to resist the attempts to return us to 1984.
“For instance, when these elements suddenly woke up one morning in October 2019 and gave to themselves the power to go on the streets to conduct military operations against civilians under the guise of a so-called Operation Positive Identification, I instituted the suit No. FHC/L/CS/1939/19 with a view to bringing them back to the path of constitutional rectitude.
“In the case, the Federal High Court declared such operation illegal. The presiding Judge, the Honourable Justice Aikawa issued a restraining injunction and said:
“It would be outside the powers of the 3rd Respondent (the Nigerian Army) for it to parade the streets in the rest of the country and demand citizens to show their identity cards and the like. If there is any security need for that, my view is that it should be left in the hands of the police, which is the security agency vested with these functions as spelt out by Section 4 of the Police Act.”