The Purported Confession On Election Rigging Made By The Former Deputy Senate President-Senator Ibrahim Mantu-On Channels Television Station On 30th March, 2018: The Implications Under The Nigerian Criminal Laws By: Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq. - Welcome to Uju Ayalogu's Blog

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Monday, 2 April 2018

The Purported Confession On Election Rigging Made By The Former Deputy Senate President-Senator Ibrahim Mantu-On Channels Television Station On 30th March, 2018: The Implications Under The Nigerian Criminal Laws By: Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.

The Purported Confession On Election Rigging Made By The Former Deputy Senate President-Senator Ibrahim Mantu-On Channels Television Station On 30th March, 2018: The Implications Under The Nigerian Criminal Laws By: Hameed Ajibola Jimoh Esq.

Ibrahim Mantu

As if it were in the traditional African settings where witches and or wizards confess to the commission of their evils in public, mostly in the public places, to the surprise of the public, so it was on the 30th day of March, 2018, on a Channels Television Programme that was aired in an Interview Programme  titled ‘Hard Copy’, where the Former Deputy Senate President- Senator Ibrahim Mantu, who was also a one time Member of the Board of Trustees of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) publicly confessed to rigging elections previously held in Nigeria. This paper is an attempt at considering the legal implications of such purported confession under the Nigerian Criminal Laws.

First and foremost, it must be emphasized that under the Nigerian Criminal Laws, it is a settled law that ‘confession’ or ‘confessional statement’ is the best evidence strengthening the case of the prosecution in convicting an accused person or the defendant. 

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For instance, Section 28 of the Evidence Act, 2011-herein after referred to as the EA-, while defining what amounts to ‘confession’, provides thus ‘ A confession is an admission made at any time by a person charged with a crime, stating or suggesting the inference that he committed that crime’. (underlining are the writer of this papers’ for emphasis).

Also, in the case of Alarape v State (2001) FWLR (pt. 41) 1872 SC, Iguh, J.S.C. held thus ‘A confessional statement, so long as it is free and voluntary and it is directed, positive and properly proved, is enough to sustain a conviction.

The court should not, however, act on the confession without first testing the truth thereof. But so long as the court is satisfied with its truth, a confessional statement alone is sufficient to ground conviction with corroboration’.

Also see: the case of Egboghonome v State (1993) 7 NWLR (Pt. 306) 383 SC. From the provisions of section 28 of the EA, especially the words underlined by the writer of this paper, i.e. ‘an admission made at any time’,  it is the humble submission of the writer of this paper that admissions or statements made by Senator Ibrahim Mantu amounts to confession under the said section 28 of the EA.  Section 29(1) of the EA is also humbly referred to.

Furthermore, it is the submission of the writer of this paper that a confession made admitting the commission of an offence under the law whether ignorantly made or made with the legal implications of same, is confessional against the maker of the statement and in this case, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, notwithstanding his moral intention.

It must also be emphasized that morality and the law are two separate and different things. It is also the submission of the writer of this paper that a confession of a person who committed a murder or homicide punishable by death but escaped arrest or prosecution even after many years, can still be used as a confession against such person warranting his conviction, except in relation to the offence whose conviction is limited by statute.

Therefore, a religious person who takes confession in religious places and who got to know that the person confessing has committed an offence has the civic duty under the criminal law and by section 24 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended)-herein after referred to as the Constitution-, to report such commission of crime or offence to the appropriate government’s authority, else, he is either an accomplice or an accessory after the fact. Such a maker is by section 35(1) (c) of the Constitution still a suspect under the Constitution.

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Also, the reasons best known to the maker of the confession will not be a defence for him from criminal prosecution. It is the humble submission of the writer of this paper that a person who might have committed an offence such as the Senator Ibrahim Mantu can only be free from prosecution pursuant to the sections: 36(8)-(12), 174, 175, 211 and 212 of the Constitution, where applicable.

Also, apologizing to Nigerians or to any person does not and cannot absolve the Senator Ibrahim Mantu from criminal prosecution except he has been so pardoned or exempted from prosecution pursuant to the above just cited sections of the Constitution, else, such an apology could be reserved for the plea of allocutus made to the court upon conviction and before his sentence.

Most importantly, it must be emphasized that the act of rigging of election or influencing an election is an offence which could carry many other offences under the Electoral Act, 2010 (as amended).

And there are many offences listed under the said Electoral Act. It is only for the necessary appropriate prosecuting authority(ies) to investigate which or how many of those offences the Senator has committed.

This criminal responsibility will also apply to any other person who is suspected to have committed an offence under the law. See: section 35(1)(c) of the Constitution (supra). This is the core principles of the Rule of Law.

That is, the law must rule and every person must rule by the law or using the instrumentality of the laid down rules by the laws of the land. Also, election rigging is a form of corruption which has the tendency or effect of destroying the nation-Nigeria.

Therefore, the writer of this paper hereby calls on the appropriate prosecuting authority(ies) of the government of Nigeria, to get the said Senator Ibrahim Mantu arrested and prosecuted in accordance with the laws of the land.

Furthermore, it is the submission of the writer of this paper that if truly the said Senator Ibrahim Mantu has made or is making a sincere repentance to all Nigerians as to having rigged elections previously conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission-herein after referred to as INEC-, he will not resist arrest and prosecution, after all, no person is above the law.

Also, the writer of this paper wishes to emphasise that the writing of this paper is not politically biased rather a fulfillment of the professional duty of every lawyer in Nigeria as conferred by Rule 1 of the Rules of Professional Conducts for Legal Practioners, 2007 to promote the Rule of Law and his contribution to the government’s fights against corruption in Nigeria.

The writer of this paper hereby humbly challenges the government to prove to the Nigerians that it has the interest and intention of combating corruption in Nigeria by mandating the appropriate prosecuting government’s agency or authority to immediately arrest and prosecute the said Senator Ibrahim Mantu according to his confession or other criminal charges or allegations to be made against him upon investigation and the writer of this paper also challenges the said Senator Ibrahim Mantu to submit himself for lawful arrest and prosecution if actually he is ready to prove his repentance to all Nigerians, except if he has any defence to the criminal charges.

The writer of this paper therefore calls on all human rights activists to rise and advocate for an immediate arrest of the said Senator Ibrahim Mantu and his prosecution upon such arrest, all in the interest of justice and in the interest of setting Nigeria free of corruption and should also agitate for the nullification of all those elections and those candidates who might have been declared winners of those rigged elections by INEC and to mandate those candidates to refund all those public funds enjoyed during their unfair and un-free or rigged elections.

Finally, the writer of this paper calls on the government and INEC to put a deep analysis and intelligence study on how election rigging has always been committed and successfully carried out by political parties or political god-fathers as a way of preparing for a successful free and fair elections in the year 2019.

As if carefully analysed, it will be discovered that there are lots of secrets lead opened by Senator Ibrahim Mantu in his confession which might lead towards prevention of any further election rigging in Nigeria.

e-mail: hameed_ajibola@yahoo.com

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