ANALYSIS: War Against Corruption; Between Reality And PoliticsFeatured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Saturday, December 5th, 2015
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau
The truism “if we do not kill corruption; corruption will kill us” is among other similarly mind probing, synonymous to the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari. The declaration to Mr. President is as good as drawing a battle line between him, his administration and sharp practices. In fact, a conclusion that President Buhari’s government’s aphorism is ‘War Against Corruption’ might amount to saying exactly the obvious. And if there is any electioneering campaign promise by him which can be confirmed to have come to reality, it is certainly the drive and move against corrupt practices by former government officials as well as in the public service.
That the immediate former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke is one of the prime suspects of the last administration is not disputable. For sure, her jetting out of the country ahead of inauguration of the present administrtion; her sickness and latest confirmation of being infected with the cancer no doubt has stalled her investigation and possible trial for instance, on the missing $20 Bilion oil money; alleged fraudulent transactions of petroleum products among others. As we speak, the highest that has happened to the former flamboyant and costly Minister was her arrest and investigation in London, on October 2, 2015, by the operatives of the International Corruption Unit of the British National Crimes Agency (NCA), over alleged bribery and money laundering related offences.
Following this, in Nigeria, the officers of the anti-graft body, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were reportedly after identifying them, confiscated some properties belonging to her both in FCT Abuja and Lagos State.
As her case could not be pursued, then began yet another bigger one – the $2.1Billion arms scandal. The intriguing dimension on this is the shocking revelation and melodrama that have so far trailed the arrest and investigations of the first suspect – the immediate past National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. (rted) Sambo Dasuki.
For some weeks now, his ordeals – ranging from the DSS operatives raiding of his residence; his approach to court, seeking permission to travel abroad, for medical attention; his house arrest; his re-arrest by the DSS officials and subsequent movement to the EFCC, have raised much dust within cross sections of Nigerians, which up till now, is yet to be settled.
In Nigeria, as of now, the situation (resentment) as being witnessed in Sambo’s investigations is unfortunately normal. Reason; it does matter, when hands of the law caught up with the commoners; but heaven, if possible will be made to fall, if the ‘big and mighty’ are facing trial of gross misconduct. We are collectively responsible for this deficiency. How do I mean? The function of our type of politics.
This concept, (Politics) literally implies the methodology and activities associated with running a government, an organization or a movement. But more critically, politics and its process is likened to maneuvering; diplomacy applied among people, groups, organizations, which again involved power play, influence, interest and conflict.
Due to its complex and opposing variables, politics, often times, can be callous; deceitful; destructive; mischievous; misleading; tempting and as we still experience in our clime, bloody and deadly!
When the treacherous politics is considered and restricted to the partisan politicians alone, the impacts seem manageable. If extended to the macro society, the consequences are debilitating and insidious. But if the ‘by fire by force’ type of politics is taken to and involve in the judiciary process, the general public is misled, values abused and ‘crushed’, while hope of having an organized society is shattered and finally lost. What follows? Anarchy and disintegration! If you like, call it a ‘jungle’ society.
On Dasuki’s saga, it is disturbing, perceiving that the Nigerian Judiciary and its operators, at this critical moment, are not on the same page with the teeming enraged Nigerians, who presently angry and deservingly demanding the arrest, investigation, trial and conviction of the political office holders who fiddle with the public funds.
Applying the rule of law to the letter is very key in a civilized society. Still, the recent rulings by Justice Adeniyi Ademola of an Abuja High Court – granting permission to Dasuki, who is being investigated for misappropriating such huge sum ($2.1Bilion) – arms money, to travel abroad for “medical attention” is not only infamous, but irritating and questionable to many Nigerians of different backgrounds and callings.
The infamous ruling has brought more confusion and a disturbing dimension into the saga, as the Federal Government (FG) declined the execution of the court order. Of course, it is a nasty approach for the FG to have delayed up till Thursday this week, (after weeks of the judgment) before it filed a counter and fresh application before the same court it has been accused of contempt, to reverse its earlier ruling! Isn’t that disturbing, painful and dramatic?
Now coming to the issue involved. The question is, which part of the world, especially, the developed countries, does a suspect of this status is granted such a dubious permission and enjoys free and ‘Father Christmas’ like ruling? I really wonder. This can only happen in the Nigerian Judiciary.
The situation, as far as the court ruling and FG disposition are concern, is very distasteful. The Legal Practitioners on their won, have insisted that the FG erred by flouting the initial court order. They have also argued that in the face of law, morality and ethics must give way! Well, who do you blame in the first place?
This is not the first time that the Nigerian Judiciary will seem to be mortgaging the common interest and goal of the citizenry. During the era of ‘do or die politics’ of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) successors, there were cases of Judges and Lawyers who acted against the ethics of the law profession and afterward truncated fair hearing and judgment. Of course, some of them were punished for the misgivings.
On record were former Justices Thomas Naron and Charles Archibong. While the former (as Chairman of the Osun State Election Petition Tribunal) was culpable of having telephone conversation and exchange of SMS with the Counsel to the former Osun State Governor, (Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola), Mr. Kunle Kalejaiye, the latter was found to have goofed by striking out the 26-count charge against the former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, without taking the plea of the suspect.
In effect, the Nigeria Judicial Council (NJC) recommended compulsory retirement for the duo, while Kalejaiye was strip of his Senior Advocate Nigera (SAN) title.
Similarly, (Rtd) Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the Federal High Court, owing to misconduct, was warned, before he was retired from the service three weeks after. Also, while Justice Mohammed Talba of the Federal Capital Territory High Court was suspended for 12 months, another one, Justice Lawal Hassan Gumi, was given option to resign from the service following their professional excesses.
Why did Justice Ademola grant permission to Dasuki to leave Nigeria? If the accused had traveled, would he have opened to make his latest revelation? If Dasuki is in abroad, would Nigerian public have been privileged from his sick bed to know about the sums given to Chief Raymond Dokpesi (N2.1 Billion purportedly for adverts and publicity on his private radio and television); (N4.6 Billion) to former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto State for spiritual purpose. There is also alleged N100 Million each, to two National PDP chieftains, one, a former Governor of a South South State (Dr. Peter Odilli) and former South West Leader of the party, Chief Olabode George.
Moreso, the accused has once declared that if he opened up, Nigerians would be shocked. I believe he had just started with those he exposed so far. More revelations will still come, if he is allowed. If outside Nigeria, would he (Dasuki) have made the damning revelation? Why can’t Justice Ademola rule that the former NSA attend to his health in Nigeria? After all, he has been in the Government and what is wrong in him, benefitting from what he has worked for?
From many indications, the intention and interest of Justice Ademola on Dasuki’s arms scandal is not clear, therefore, need to, and must be defined, so as to establish which side of the divide he belongs!
Finally, unlike before, this time and in this era, the Nigerian Judiciary should and must actively be part of desire to free Nigeria from decrepit state and move it to a greater and an enviable level. But if we must achieve this feat, instigated politics, complicated with sinister interest must be avoided. Using notorious rulings to confuse and drag proper and speedy trials of the accused of grievous financial allegations is rejected by Nigerians who wish the country a prosper future. The Lawyers and judges must put Nigeria first ahead of personal, group or sectional interest. Nigeria is bigger than individuals; so we gleefully and always proclaim, and so, it must be evident in our courts and at large, the Judiciary processes. Therefore, enough of needless and destructive politicking, in the face of obvious REALITY!
Biafra: President Buhari, Act Now!
A fortnight ago (Friday, November 20), I did an Analysis with headline: “The Ongoing Biafra Agitation; A struggle For Posterity Or The ‘Aggrieved’?” My position that the so called MASSOB and IPOB protesters were not authentic as expressed then, remains. The agitators this week twice, proved the reckless and hopeless stuff they were made of. By their actions, they have cleared and confirmed to more Nigerians that they are merely hired and paid touts; miscreants being remotely controlled, by the politically ‘aggrieved’ set of people. Or what has blocking the end of Onitsha bridge; the latest bloody and deadly protest and setting on fire, place of worship got to do with a struggle for a prosperous cause?
This MASSOB or whatever it is called – agitators have had their cups filled, therefore, must be checked by all the available legal means. They are nuisance and ‘outcasts’. This is the reason why they must be curtailed before they extend their illegality and expand in influence. Between them and Nigeria, something must give way, but definitely, not the diligent, enterprising and civilized Igbo speaking folks and other tribes who habitate, work, live or do business in that geo political zone.
President Buhari; the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP), it is time to nip in the bud another brewing insurgency in Nigeria. Act Now please!
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