A coalition of human rights group, Citizens for Justice Network, CJN, has tasked the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to charge the Director of the Abuja Geographic Information Service (AGIS), Ms. Jamila Tangaza, to court or grant her administrative bail.
The CJN made up of Peoples Alliance for Indigenous Rights (PAIR), Society for Gender Equity (SGE) and Network for Equality and Transparency (NET), decried the continued detention of Tangaza for the past 12 days, noting that it violates her fundamental human rights.
In a press statement in Abuja on Saturday, coordinator of the CJN, Bar. Austine Kanu, observed that if the EFCC has compelling evidence against the detained boss of the AGIS, it should charge her to court rather than the psychological and emotional trauma they have elected to subject her to.
Kanu said the fact that Tangaza has met conditions for her administrative bail and was still being held by the commission showed that it was no longer matter of investigation rather witch-hunt.
“We demand that the EFCC grants Ms. Tangaza administrative bail, since she has fulfilled the bail conditions or charge her to court. Holding on to her without any valid court order and subjecting her to psychological and emotional trauma stands the rule of law and the enabling Act on the head.
“We in the CJN are beginning to think that there is more to this than her alleged offence. The EFCC thrives on media trial and this is one of those instances there think they can make Nigerians believe that they are working. This shenanigans have backfired in their faces in recent times, it is therefore imperative that they release Ms. Tangaza, who we know has a medical condition so as to be properly attended to by her doctor.
“It is instructive to note that every accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, therefore, Ms. Tangaza is innocent until the court decides otherwise. Keeping her in detention more than the mandatory time frame as stipulated by the constitution leaves us with the notion that she has been found guilty by the EFCC, which lacks the authority to decide so,” Kanu stated.
According to the CJN coordinator, it was shocking enough that the EFCC would handcuff Tangaza to her office at the AGIS when she poses no flight risk or threat of physical violence and wondered why the double standards.
The human rights activist expressed the worry that Tangaza’s health could further worsen if the commission continues to keep her, stressing that the CJN will be compelled to enforce her fundamental human rights.
“Imagine the commission handcuffing her. To what purpose? Is she a flight risk? Is she of any threat to anybody? Is it is just meant to humiliate her. This is an individual that used her programme on the BBC to serve the interest of this country to be so treated on mere accusation. It is very unfair.”
The commission had alleged that Tangaza is linked to N800 million questionable contracts to her personal firm and is believed to have benefitted from plots of land from Senator Bala Mohammed, former minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration.