By Doris Israel Ijeoma
Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State has broken its silence on the arrest of its students by men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The anti-graft agency invaded the male hostel at about 1a.m on Wednesday, November 1 and whisked away an undisclosed number of students.
Some of the students who raised the alarm on X (formerly Twitter) said at least 70 of them were arrested and driven away in white shuttle buses to Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
While reacting to the development, the management of the institution said the first step they will take is to ascertain the exact number of students that were taken away by the EFCC during the raid.
Abiodun Olarewaju, OAU Public Relations Officer, revealed that the operation took place off-campus and not within the school premises.
He added that a delegation from the university have been sent to the EFCC office to confirm their identities and ensure that the students are not being mistreated before taking the next step.
Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has reviewed its guidelines on arrest, bail and processing of suspects.
The review, which, it said in a statement, is premised on the need to adhere to the rule of law and international best practices in the treatment of suspects, was rolled out on Monday, October 31, 2023 across all its Commands.
“In the new guideline, premium attention is focused on the rights of suspects, especially where arrest, detention and bail issues are concerned. Operational activities are to be tailored towards relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999( as amended), the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2011 and the EFCC’s Standard Operating Procedures, SOP.
“Specifically, operatives of the Commission are not allowed to demand for professional certificates of sureties as a bail condition. Also, every demand for international passport of suspects would henceforth be exercised with discretion, depending on the nature of the case, personality and country of residence of the suspect.
“Director, Legal and Prosecution Department of the EFCC, Commander of the EFCC, CE Sylvanus Tahir, SAN, cautioned that, “bail conditions served on suspects must be reasonable and practicable to be fulfilled by suspects and their sureties. Detention of suspects without a Remand Warrant for unreasonable length of time beyond the constitutionally allowed period must henceforth stop forthwith”.
“Officers of the Commission are also warned against unwarranted violation of rights of suspects. He called for professionalism in all operational activities, stressing that “it is time to have a paradigm shift and change the narrative. Henceforth, professionalism shall be the watchword. Let’s follow the best international standards worth our identity as a flagship law enforcement agency”” the statement added.