“They are making proposals to change our Constitution, which are insulting for our nation and people. It’s their brains, not our Constitution, which need to be changed. What they are offering to us is a clear remnant of colonial thinking.”
Vladmir Putin. (Russian President)
Excerpt of conversation during a meeting with pro-Kremlin youth groups on July 24, 2007, about the extradition demand of by Britain of Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB officer, accused by Britain of poisoning Alexander Litvinenko, another former KGB officer who became a British citizen, with a radioactive substance polonium 210.
“The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has demonstrated to Nigerians that it is on course in the anti-graft war. EFCC by this latest effort has demonstrated to Nigerians, particularly the apostles of the anti-corruption war and those who are genuinely committed to accountability and transparency that the battle is on; that there is no retreat. It is indeed a re-assuring effort, which all lovers of a corruption-free country should applaud and support. Can a court give an order that the criminal law must not be enforced? Or can any court give a ruling that the Nigerian Constitution must not be enforced? Arrested politicians should stop ‘shadow chasing’ and go ahead to prove their innocence. What matters to me and which in my honest view should be of interest to Nigerians is how many suspects have been arrested and been prosecuted by the EFCC and not whether only two governors are being prosecuted while some were merely questioned. Any attempt to accuse the EFCC of being selective would amount to questioning its mode of investigations or trying to fault its method of conducting its findings. If any agreement exists between Umar Yar’Adua government and the former governors, shielding them from prosecution, it was nothing but a criminal conspiracy against the Constitution and the people of Nigeria.”
Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
Excerpt of interview with Guardian on July 12, 2007.
“The situation in the world and internal political interests require the Foreign Intelligence Service to increase its capabilities permanently, primarily in the field of information and analytical support for the country’s leadership. The U.S. plans to station troops in Eastern Europe and Washington’s intention to base missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic pose security challenges for Russia.”
President Vladmir Putin (President of Russia)
Excerpt of a speech at a meeting with senior military and security officers in the Kremlin on July 25, 2007.
“London’s position is immoral. Moreover, they should clearly realize that such provocative actions masterminded by the British authorities will not go without an answer, and cannot but entail the most serious consequences for Russian-British relations.”
Foreign Ministry Spokesman of the Russian Federation.
Comments on national television about the expulsion of 4 Russian diplomats by the British government for the refusal of Russia to extradite Andrei Lugovoi wanted by Britain for the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko.
“You can act this way toward a banana republic, but Russia is not a banana republic. Britain’s request for Russia to override the Constitution is ‘arrogant’.”
Konstantin Kosachyov. Head of Russia’s State Duma’s (House of representatives) Foreign Affairs Committee.
Comment on national television about the expulsion of 4 Russian diplomats by the British government for the refusal of Russia to extradite Andrei Lugovoi wanted by Britain for the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko.
“The Russian government has failed to register how seriously we treat this case or the seriousness of the issues involved, despite lobbying at the highest level and clear explanations of our need for a satisfactory response.”
David Miliband. British Foreign Minister.
Excerpt of speech to the Parliament on the British-Russian diplomatic row over the refusal of Russia to hand over Andrei Lugovoi to Britain for prosecution over the murder of Aleksandr Litvinenko.
Immediately after Kalu was arrested by the EFCC, the United States government rushed to the press without even exercising patience to hear the federal government side of the story completely. “It is our understanding that Mr. Orji Kalu is covered by an order from a court of competent jurisdiction, the EFCC as a creation of the law should not be seen as breaking the law,” a top official of the State Department was quoted as saying. Furthermore, the official said that Washington was taken aback by the arrest of the former governor.
Kalu’s defense was not limited to the official of the State Department. In the same vein, a senior official of the Bush administration said: “We had fruitful discussions with him on how to move Nigeria forward and he canvassed support for the administration of President Umaru Yar’Adua. It is a shock the same government is trampling on a court order.” He told us of threat to arrest him once he returns home and we are concerned that this is not the beginning of another clampdown on opposition figures.
The United States in its quest to secure the release of Kalu is not leaving any stone unturned. All arsenal were thrown into his defense including the so called human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, funded by the U.S. government. The agency was quoted as saying: “If the authorities have enough evidence against him, they should make it public and we will not support an extended detention of Mr. Kalu under the cover of claims of more investigation into the case. Investigations should have been concluded before anyone is arrested.” It is obvious that with this kind of statement, Amnesty International is not only pressurising the EFCC but is trying to blackmail the government of Yar’Adua.
Without any exaggeration, the White house statement on Kalu is a gross violation of Nigeria’s sovereignty and a blatant act of arrogance and total disregard for the Federal Government of Nigeria.
In the first place, the U.S. needs to be reminded that Kalu never belonged to an opposition party not until he realised that it was practically impossible for him to win his party, PDP, presidential nomination.
Secondly, no court can order that a thief can not be arrested and prosecuted.
Based on the U.S. premature and unjustified call for the immediate and unconditionally release of Orji Kalu, one is compelled to ask the following questions:
1. If the U.S. is really interested in moving Nigeria forward why was it holding unofficial discussions with Kalu – who is a non-government official?
2. Why is the U.S. government not holding discussions with Nigerian officials?
3. Why is the U.S so much concerned about Kalu in particular”
4. Why is the U.S. government, the White house in particular officially interested or involved in Kalu’s case?
5. How is the US government so sure that Kalu is innocent of the crime for which he was arrested?
6. Is the US government afraid that Kalu might divulge some information to the EFCC and SSS during the interrogation that may implicate the US? If the US is sure of Kalu’s innocence, why can’t the US allow Nigerian courts perform its duties independently without any external pressure or interference?
7. If the US is sure of Kalu’s innocence, why can’t the US allow Nigerian courts perform its duties independently without any external pressure or interference?
8. If the US is sure of Kalu’s innocence why can’t it allow Kalu to clear himself in the Nigerian law court?
9. Why is the US pressurising the EFCC, the Nigerian government and judiciary?
10. Is the US aware of the fact that by demanding for the immediate and unconditional releae of Kalu, it’s not only interfering in the internal affairs of Nigeria, but it also shows that it has no regards for Nigeria and Nigerians in general?
11. Is the US government aware of the fact that by demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of Kalu, it is obstructing justice?
12. Is the US government aware of the fact that by demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of Kalu, it is preventing the EFCC and the Nigerian government from fighting corruption?
13. Is the US government aware of the fact that by demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of Kalu, it is aiding and abetting corruption in Nigeria?
14. If a British or European union citizen is arrested by his government for fraud, can the US government demand for his immediate and unconditional release?
15. Has the US government in the past ever demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of a British or European union citizen arrested by his government for fraud?
16. Has the Nigerian government in the past ever demanded for the immediate and unconditional release of an American citizen arrested for fraud by the US government?
17. If the answers to questions 14, 15, 16 are no, then, why is the US government demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of a Nigerian citizen arrested for fraud by the Nigerian government?
18. What point is the US government trying to make by demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of Kalu?
19. Is the US government aware of the fact that by making such an unreasonable demand to the Nigerian government, the cordial relationship between the two countries may be severely damaged?
20. Is the US government trying to capitalise on the fact that Nigerian President, Umar Yar’Adua emerged winner through a fraudulent election?
21. Is the US government aware of the fact majority of Kalu’s kinsmen are in favour of his arrest and trial for embezzlement?
22. Does the US government expect the Nigerian government to be frightened and yield to its pressure and blackmail?
23. The US government had in the past provided unsolicited information to the Federal government that implicated some senior Nigerian politicians, why didn’t the US government do or act the same when Kalu was arrested for fraud?
24. Why has the US government instead of providing assistance or support to the EFCC and the Nigerian government in fighting corruption has decided to distract, ridicule the federal government laudable efforts in eradicating corruption in Nigeria.
25. How will the US government feel or react if the Nigerian government demands for the immediate and unconditional release of an American citizen arrested by his government for fraud?
26. How does the US government expect the EFCC and the federal government to feel or react by demanding for the immediate and unconditional release of a Nigerian citizen arrested for fraud?
27. Who the hell is the US to interpret Nigeria‘s law by stating or insinuating that Kalu is covered by an order from a court of competent jurisdiction?
28. “If the authorities have enough evidence against him, they should make it public and we will not support an extended detention of Mr. Kalu under the cover of claims of more investigation into the case. Investigations should have been concluded before anyone is arrested.” Is this statement made by a senior official of the Bush administration supposed to be an ultimatum or a threat to the federal government?
29. By making such irresponsible statements, is the U.S. insinuating that if the Nigerian government has more than enough evidence at its disposal that incriminate a Nigerian citizen, nevertheless, it should allow him to go scot free and enjoy his loots because there was an initial court order barring EFCC from arresting him?
30. Is the U.S. government aware of the fact that by making such premature and irresponsible statements as regards to Kalu’s arrest, it is undermining and jeopardising the efforts of the new administration in waging a total war against corruption?
The recent call by the U.S. for the immediate and unconditional release of Kalu reminds one of the unfolding diplomatic row between Britain and Russia after Britain expelled 4 Russian diplomats because of the refusal of Russia to extradite Andrei Lugovoi to face trial in Britain for the murder of Alexander litvinenko. Though, one is not trying to draw any parallel or similarity between the British-Russian diplomatic row and the U.S.-Nigeria face off over Kalu; obviously, the two cases are totally different.