Obi, Datti’s Comments Didn’t Violate Section 37 Of Criminal Code – Falana

The President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s assertion that the Labour Party (LP) presidential team of Peter Obi and Baba Datti-Ahmed is involved in subversive actions has been refuted by human rights lawyer Mr. Femi Falana (SAN).

Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture, accused the pair of planning a violent takeover of Nigeria by refusing to recognise the results of the presidential election on February 25.

Particularly Datti, Obi’s running partner in the race, has been in the spotlight because of his remark that Bola Tinubu, the poll’s victor, shouldn’t be sworn in on May 29.

Falana, however, stated that all of the candidates declared successful by INEC in the various electoral segments would be sworn in on May 29.

Dismissing government’s charge of treason against Obi, tFalana said Section 37 of the Criminal Code Act is clear and the duo of Obi and Datti had not infracted it by their recent utterances.

He said: “They have approached the court to challenge the results of the presidential election in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the Electoral Act.

“The law provides that the persons declared by INEC to have won the elections shall be sworn in pending the determination of the election petitions.

“The law prescribes 180 days (six months) for hearing of election petitions and 60 days for appeals arising from the decisions of trial courts or tribunals.”

Speaking on Datti’s comments that have heightened the political temperature in the country, Falana said expression of one’s opinion doesn’t amount to treason.

“Whoever says inauguration will not hold is merely expressing his or her opinion. It is not treason to express one’s personal opinion” he said, adding, “by virtue of section 37 of the Criminal Code Act, treason occurs when any person levies war against the State, in order to intimidate or overwhelm the President or governor of a state.

“Any person found guilty of treason is liable to the punishment of death,” he concluded.