Lagos based lawyer, Femi Falana lives in a cage. He has like the character, Malone, in Arthur Conan Doyle’s science fiction, The Lost World, who realising he had lost his fiancee to another man, gave up on trying to make meaning out of civilisation and chose to go back to the jungle.
Like Malone, Falana, who delude in the deception of a vacuos label of a civil rights defender, had not always abode in his present habitat. He only moved there after losing out a coveted prize.
Falana started inhabiting a grotto only in 2015, when his name got missing from the list of ministerial nominees President Muhammadu Buhari was supposed to have sent to the Senate for screening.
Obviously expecting a reward for his inconsequential but self acclaimed support to the APC in the build up to the 2015 General election, the Lagos based lawyer had assumed wrongly that his opaque outbursts and discombobulated gibberish were enough to cast him in the mould of a progressive and had to be compensated for his loquaciousness.
When that didn’t happen, definitely due to the confirmation through various screenings that his alignment with the Progressives prior to the 2015 election were mere pretences that were only surface deep, the man who was expecting to be sent to the justice ministry lost his cool and since then detested everything that civilisation stood for and changed his address metaphorically to start living in a cave.
By doing that, Falana fitted the character of the person Mehmet Murat Ilddan in his poem ‘If,’ counseled, when he said, “If you’re after the truth, leave your cage.” But it was obvious that Falana is not after the truth hence refused to leave the cage.
Rather than take the counsel and leave the dark crevices for light, truth and justice, Falana prefers to position himself in the dour of lies thereby travelling farther from civilisation.
The beef, from the benefit of hindsight, is what made him to take up the brief of a religious sect that has constantly been harassing its neighbours, incessantly refusing to obey the laws of the land and was operating as a state within a state in Nigeria.
After failing woefully to prove anything against the Nigerian State over the clash between the Nigerian Army and the sect after several court processes, Falana has refused to heed the call by Ilddan but like a squirrel in a hole prefers to dig deeper to cover himself with dust only to confirm the words of Liba Bray that, “If you stay in your little cave, that’s one less fighter on the side of fair.”
Falana has been one less of a fighter on the side of fair as he has continued in ways that portray him as being on the path of legal recidivism by taking up unpatriotic and illogical briefs.
The latest is the setting up of a so called independent panel of inquiry on alleged SARS brutality and human rights violations during the EndSARS protests by Falana and his friends at a time the Lagos State Government which is empowered by law to do so has done so and has gone far with that task and is about concluding sitting after taking evidence from various parties.
Falana claims he is leading a coalition of some 80 civil society groups, including the country’s leading labour movements to hear afresh cases on human rights violations and is calling for complaints of human rights violations by police, military and other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria.
He claimed the ‘Citizen Panel’ is open to all Nigerians, including the media and that it will employ best global practices to unravel the misery encountered by many victims of SARS and that it would employ litigation where necessary to enforce justice, which may include compensation for victims.
The whole idea shows how far a man who lusts after relevance can go to get back at an administration whose only fault is doing everything right but has refused to do as he wished.
Otherwise as a lawyer, Falana understands very well that two ‘ courts ‘cannot sit on the same matter at the same time.
Everyone is aware that the Lagos State Government did the most responsible thing by setting up a panel of inquiry into alleged claims of SARS brutality and that it is doing a good job of it by hearing from every side.
This, ordinarily should have demonstrated to every responsible person that the government is desirous of establishing the truth in order to ensure justice to all concerned including the accused.
So far, the panel has heard from virtually all the parties including the alleged victims and even the security agencies.
But because Falana and co have come to realise that their lies are being gradually exposed, they could not wait for the legally constituted panel to conclude sittings before they rushed to set up a parallel body just to introduce chaos and unleash a regime of disorder in the process.
The question is, how could there be an independent body of inquiry by whatever guise or name sitting at the same time with that of the government on similar cases?
What is the aim of this body and what does it intend to achieve if the intention is not to pervert justice and twist facts towards a premidated aim?
From all indications, it is clear that Falana and his co-travellers, having lost the gravitas to sustain their lies and innuendos at the legally constituted panel, now want to make mockery of the entire judicial system by setting up a kangaroo body that has no place in the statutes.
Falana and his friends want to be the accusers and the judges in their own case thereby denying other citizens especially the security agents who were brutally murdered and their flesh eaten by some of the protesters justice.
They want to have a platform to hide the truth about what happened at the Lekki Toll Gate to the world by projecting only a DJ Switch kind of infantile narrative which escalates between fiction and mischief claiming at a point that 74 people were shot and later 17 with no evidence to show other than a painted flag.
They want to suppress the damage done by some of these sponsored criminals who ran amok and destroyed private and public property worth billions of naira who also stole from both the government and private individuals.
The fact is that Falana knows he has no case to prove so the only way to cover the eyes of Lady Justice is this bringandage he is trying to introduce.
But because he is being sponsored like the hoodlums that destroyed public and private property in the name of protests he must be seen to be doing something.
For a start, the claim of leading over 80 groups in this futile attempt to thwart the course of justice is a lie.
Falana’s campaign from reliable sources has been rebuffed by reputable lawyers and he is virtually alone with only a sprinkle of hangers on egdging him on.
The Lagos based lawyer does not know that as he tries to play a fast one on the public, some of the people he is working with, who have been shortchanged financially in the deal, have started singing and have confirmed that substantial amounts in hard currencies have been provided to sponsors the panel just to cause confusion in the polity due to their selfish ambitions.
The word is already out in the streets that some hooded ‘military men’ would be brought to appear at the Falana ‘Panel’ to give damaging reports about respected state institutions and security agencies which would be covered by the CNN all in the bid to achieve this selfish aim. The aim, some of the insiders have also confessed is to put together these junk for possible presentation at the ICC.
Falana and his co-travellers forget that evidence is never contrived and that all the histrionics they are introducing to the legal process would expose them as unfortunate mercenaries who for filthy lucre would sacrifice patriotism and nation building for self comfort. It was the Greek philosopher, Plato who once wrote that the cave is a bit cold and someone coming out of it should be welcomed. It is high time Falana takes the advice and comes out of his cave.
By Mohammed Jega
Jega wrote this piece from 19 Balewa street, Bauchi.