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Banire N.5 Million Bribe: Group Urges Odigie-Oyegun to Decline Accused Resignation

LAGOS, NIGERIA (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Although commended his courage for taking the decision, the Muslim Right Concern (MURIC) has advised the National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, to reject Banire’s temporary resignation as the party’s National Legal Adviser.

The group in a statement issued in Lagos late Monday by its Director, Prof Ishaq Akintola indicated that the rationale for the organization’s position was that the incident involved was not in any way connected with the party, while the accused himself has ‘’given a very logical and satisfactory explanation concerning the circumstances surrounding the transfer of the money’’.

The former Lagos State Commissioner for Transportation was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week for questioning for allegedly offering the sum of N500,000 as bribe to Justice Agbadu-Fishim, of the National Industrial Court. Banire however denied being arrested and offering bribe to any judge, yet, opted to step down yesterday pending the outcome of investigations into the allegation.

‘’The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) commends Dr. Banire for making this surprising offer. It is not only altruistic but uncommon and highly exemplary. Nigerian politicians have a lot to learn from Banire’s gesture. We are used to the sit-tight syndrome whereby public office holders ignore public outcry even when all indications point to their guilt.

‘’Banire comes across as the type of politician Nigerians need in this era of change. He has offered to step aside even when nothing seems to connect his party to the incident. Against his background as a brilliant lawyer of the Gani Fawehinmi Chambers and school of thought, this offer confirms his reputation in political circles as a radical element and a disciplinarian nulli secundus.

‘’How many public office holders in Nigeria can do this today? How many have done it before? We cannot remember any. At least not in this country. It is only characteristic of politicians in advanced democracies. This is a commendable precedent and it calls for emulation. Banire is the pride of Nigerian youths and a model earnestly sought after’’ the group declared.

In his response, Dr. Banire indicated that the sum in question was transferred in response to someone in distress who sent a text message. MURIC posited ‘’Ethics makes kindness payable in like manner’’, cautioning that Nigeria must not criminalize generosity.

MURIC insisted that Banire’s antecedent shows his propensity for philanthropy, saying scores of indigent students in tertiary institutions enjoy his scholarship scheme, while he
single-handedly pays the salaries of staff of many Islamic organizations and sponsors many of their programmes.

While noting that Banire is effectively filling the vacuum created by the deaths of Chief M. K. O. Abiola, Alhaji Wahab Folawiyo and Aare Arisekola Alao in Yorubaland today,

MURIC reiterated it ‘’gives total support to the fight against corruption and we do not protect or fight for corrupt Muslims.

‘’We believe that any Muslim public officer who steals should be dealt with according to the laws of the land. However, anti-corruption agencies should not allow themselves to be railroaded into embarrassing innocent Nigerians just to prove that they can also go after APC chieftains…’’

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