Falana Tackles Army Over Man’s Seven-Month Detention For Facebook Videos

Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has described as illegal and unconstitutional the continuous detention of a civilian, Emmanuel Odaudu, for over seven months in the Nigerian Military Special Investigation Bureau’s underground cell in Abuja over an old Facebook video.

Falana said on Wednesday that the Nigerian Army had no constitutional power to detain any person beyond 24 hours, adding that Emmanuel’s indefinite detention was alien to constitutional democracy.

Falana stated that if the Army had evidence that Emmanuel had committed an offence known to law, he should be arraigned before a competent court, adding that subjecting him to illegal detention without trial was alien to constitutional democracy.

It had been earlier reported that Emmanuel’s ordeal started when he was in the Army and he posted on social media short videos of himself rapping while in uniform.

The videos, some of which went viral, reportedly infuriated the military authorities, leading to his arrest and detention for three months until he was dismissed.

Emmanuel’s mother, Helen, said her son returned home after his dismissal and was busy with his life when the military tracked him to Otukpo, Benue State, on June 12, 2020, on the allegation that he impersonated the Army in the old videos on social media.

He has been in detention since then.

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