Femi Falana, Other Nigerians Want Mantu Arraigned For Election Rigging

Lawyers, human rights activists, and other prominent Nigerians have given their different versions over whether a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, could be prosecuted for confessing that he had on many occasions participated in the rigging of elections in the country in favour of the Peoples Democratic Party. Mantu made the self-confession during a live interview on television.

Asked how Mantu's confession should be treated by the authorities, a human rights lawyer, Mr . Femi Falana (SAN), said since rigging was a criminal offence, Mantu's confession should be treated like any confessional statement in a criminal case, noting that crime time did not run against crime. Falana, however, expressed skepticism that the President Muhammadu Buhari's government would take any action against Mantu "because the country is being run on the basis of official impunity.”

Falana said,“It should be treated the way all confessional statements are treated. But I think he made a general statement, he hasn't identified which election was rigged. "A former governor of Cross River State, Mr . Donald Duke, had actually given a more vivid account of how elections are manipulated in Nigeria. Furthermore, the National Human Rights Commission had also done a compilation of those who participated actively in the rigging of the 2011 elections and the government hasn't done anything about it.

"I don't think the Buhari regime will really follow-up on this revelation because we operate in an atmosphere of impunity. The country is run on the basis of official impunity. But clearly, there is no statute of limitation with respect to serious criminal offences, but I am so convinced that this will not be followed up.” Also speaking, a Lagos based lawyer, Mr . Wahab Shittu, called for Mantu's prosecution based on his confession that he subverted the will of Nigerians.

Shittu said,“How is confession to criminality treated? Do you treat such confession with a kid's glove or you apply the law? When someone has confessed that he committed a huge crime, such as subversion of the freewill of Nigerians, fraudulent manipulation of the electoral process, the person who makes such confession should be arraigned and prosecuted.”Similarly, the Executive Chairman of the Centre for Anti Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr . Debo Adeniran, said Mantu should not be allowed to go scot-free, even if the punishment would be reduced based on his self-confession.

Adeniran said, “It is like the God of the Nigerian people is actually at work and that means that those who have committed damaging crimes that have kept Nigeria perpetually low are being spiritually induced to start confessing and that is why Mantu and all his accomplices should be rounded up. He should name those who participated in the rigging machinery of the PDP when they imposed themselves on Nigerians against what the ballot said. "This case should not be allowed to lie low; the man should be made to account for his deeds. The punishment may be discounted, a kind of amnesty, but he should not be allowed to go scot free.” 
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