FOREMOST human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, SAN, has expressed outrage over a false promo run by the Leadership Newspapers in Nigeria announcing him as a speaker at a “mega protest” march organized by an amorphous “International Human Rights Monitors.”
Leadership newspaper did a suspected hatchet piece in its Saturday edition, its lead story, in which it purported that the fraudulent promoters of International Human Rights Monitors, Cal Umunnah, Carol Olubufunmi, would stage with those identified as Nigerians in Washington DC a “mega protest” that would be addressed by Mr. Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, among other unnamed speakers.
Mr. Femi Falana has now strongly dissociated himself from the group, saying that the attempt to use him to garner credibility for the baloney protest has further exposed Carl Umunnah, Carol Olubufunmi and Emeka Ugwonye as dubious, promising to institute legal actions against them.
Mr. Falana spoke in a telephone interview with sharpedgenews.com on Sunday.
“I was taken aback when I got the information that my name was used mischievously to give credibility to a dubious cause. I have briefed a lawyer in the United States of America to take up the matter because it has caused me a great embarrassment.
“I have been taking part in demonstrations for over thirty-five years. I have never had cause, even under the worst form of military dictatorship, to go out of Nigeria to take part in a demonstration. And what has made it more painful, this time around, is the fact that I know Professor Adefuye, the Nigerian ambassador to the United States of America, very, very well. I can vouch for his integrity and, therefore, to be linked by those who never spoke to me, I do not know the lady you are talking about from Adam. If I met her (Carol Olubufunmi), I cannot recognize her.
“The last time I ever met the other guy, Ugwonye or whatever, was about six years ago. I had to give evidence in a Chicago District Court, he cross-examined me and since then, I have never had anything to do with him.
“Mr. Falana further explained that when Ugwonye was recently arrested and detained in Nigeria, “some of his family members contacted me and I made it clear to them that on principle, I could not defend him. So I have not had anything to do with both of them and I don’t know their organization.”
Asked what was the divergence of principle between him and the discredited Maryland attorney, Emeka Ugwonye, who was for many years the defendant of a military dictator (in personal capacity), Mr. Falana said that “I am aware of the full facts of the case for which he was arrested by the EFCC."
"That is, he sold properties belonging to Nigerian embassy and pocketed the proceeds of some refunds totaling about $1.5 million. Even though he is an internet warrior, he has not given explanatation on what happened to the funds. I fight the government and those who loot the treasury. I do not, as a matter fact, take up cases against the EFCC and the ICPC, as my own way of contributing towards the war against corruption in our country. There is no way I could have taken up his case."
The respected legal luminary, in conclusion, said he “completely dissociated myself, unequivocally, completely and I am going to sue these guys for using my name to achieve a dubious objective. The basis of associating me with that protest was to give it some credibility, but by suing my name fraudulenly, that project has been further discredited.”