Tope Akinyode, a Nigerian rights lawyer, has threatened to sue the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for parading members of the public arrested on suspicion of financial impropriety. 

The EFCC currently parades suspect of alleged crimes before charging them to court. 

The anti-graft agency does not, however, parade many high profile politicians arrested on suspicion of fraud and misappropriation of public funds.



Akinyode on Sunday described the parade, which usually sees suspects holding placards while they are photographed by the press as illegal and overreaching with no legitimacy in the Nigerian judiciary.

His tweets reads, “ALERT: This misguided Tweet from EFCC doesn’t represent the position of the law in Nigeria.

“It is illegal for security operatives to parade innocent citizens. A suspect (even if caught at the scene of crime) is innocent unless convicted by court.

“Media and public parade of suspects have no legitimacy under the Nigerian judicature. The only exception to this is ‘identification parade’ which is allowed by law. But there is a clear distinction between media parade and identification parade.

Media and public parade of suspects have no legitimacy under the Nigerian judicature. The only exception to this is ‘Identification Parade’ which is allowed by law. But there is clear distinction between media parade and identification parade.

— Tope Akinyode (@TopeAkinyode) September 13, 2020

“While media parade is outrightly illegal, identification parade is a matter of legal necessity where the identity of a suspect is in doubt by a prosecution witness.

“Identification parade is lawful and has been validated in many cases such as; EYISI & ORS V. THE STATE (2000) LPELR-1186(SC), OKOH v. THE STATE (2008) LPELR-8352(CA), EHIMIYEIN v. STATE (2013) LPELR-20764(CA), etc.

Identification parade is lawful and has been validated in many cases such as; EYISI & ORS V. THE STATE (2000) LPELR-1186(SC), OKOH v. THE STATE (2008) LPELR-8352(CA), EHIMIYEIN v. STATE (2013) LPELR-20764(CA), etc

— Tope Akinyode (@TopeAkinyode) September 13, 2020

“However, media parade which the EFCC and other security operatives do is illegal and very overreaching.

“Any suspect who is unjustly paraded before the media can successfully challenge it in court because it is a violation of the fundamental right to human dignity. This was the judgment of the court in Ottoh Obono v. Inspector General of Police, Suit No; FHC/CA/CS/91/2009.”

Any suspect who is unjustly paraded before the media can successfully challenge it in Court because it is a violation of the fundamental right to human dignity. This was the judgement of the Court in Ottoh Obono v. Inspector General of Police, Suit No; FHC/CA/CS/91/2009

— Tope Akinyode (@TopeAkinyode) September 13, 2020

In response, the EFCC cited the case of Sulyman Abaya Vs. EFCC, which ruled that the publication of an image with the word alleged in it has no injury to the suspects reputation.

The EFCC’s tweet reads, “Hi Tope, In a fundamental rights suit, Sulyman Abaya Vs. EFCC, Justice Hammed Gegele, of Kwara State High Court, Ilorin, ruled that since the published image has the word, alleged, there is no injury to the suspect’s reputation.”

The rights lawyer, however, maintained his stance, saying the tweet and link shared by the EFCC does not prove that the parade of suspects was lawful and would be proceeding to court if the agency does not refrain from the act.

In Ottoh Obono v. Inspector General of Police, Citation & Suit No; FHC/CA/CS/91/2009, Justice Aneke delivered a landmark judgment that declared the parade of suspects before the media illegal and unconstitutional.

— Tope Akinyode (@TopeAkinyode) September 13, 2020

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