By Bukola Olasanmi
The Initiative for Integrity and Good Leadership, (IIGL), a civil society organization, has cautioned against what it described as media trial of Tumsah Ibrahim, Director of Finance and Account, Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing and Tijani Tumsah, Vice Chairman, Presidential Intervention on North East, over alleged non-disclosure of assets.
The Tumsah brothers have been facing trial in the media following a temporary order of forfeiture by High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Apo, Abuja, of 86 luxury vehicles, together with four houses and a quarry plant in Abuja, belonging to Tijjani Tumsah, this no doubt is against the fundamental human right of these two brothers.
In a statement issued by Muhammed Aliyu, President of IIGL, and made available to journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the organization said it was unfair to start and conclude the trial of the Tumsah brothers in the media that issued the order of forfeiture according to informed legal opinions has no such power.
“While we as an organization uphold transparency, justice and rule of law, and always want justice to take it course, we found it out of the way how the Tumsahs have been criminalized in the media before any pronouncement by a competent court of law.
According to him, besides the illegality of the order the basis of which the media trial has persisted, the 86 vehicles belong to Tijani Tumsah who has been into auto business since in the 80s.
The organization insisted that the Chief Okoi Obono-Obla led Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property lacks the power and jurisdiction to apply to court to obtain interim order for forfeiture pending investigation because it lacks the prosecutorial powers to go ahead even after it purported investigation.
And also condemned taking them to two courts for none declaration of assets in two different courts noting that this is against legal practices and provisions.
“While we call for a fair hearing for these gentlemen in the appropriate court of law, we wish to caution against publications and other forms of media trial that are capable of painting them in bad light when the court is yet to decide, ” he said