This author has always said it and will continue to say it: The Rule of Law cannot work yet in
And what do we have now? After being allowed to breathe some fresh air and given time to consolidate under the guise of “the Rule of Law”, now comes former Governor of Taraba State, Reverend Jolly Nyame who told the Federal Government that the money he allegedly stole does not belong to the Federal Government but to Taraba State Government. He stated that the Federal Government has no right to accuse him of stealing any money since the state government has not declared any money missing. According to him, “since the entire money alleged to have been misappropriated belongs to the
Then comes the mother of all confirmation, albeit by a state government: the news recently that the Government of Delta State had filed, and been granted an ex-parte Injunction in a Federal High Court in Benin, shielding former Delta State governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, from arrest and investigation by the Federal Government and all its agents -The Attorney General, the EFCC, etc
This curious ruling is to frustrate efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice to obtain documents relating to Ibori’s operations and activities while in office as governor.
More curious, interesting and intriguing is that it was the Government of Delta State who initiated this application on behalf of its ex-Governor and some others who were in his government and prohibits the Federal Government and its agents from arresting or detaining any current or erstwhile public or political office holders in Delta State government from May 1999 to June 2007 including but not limited to the following: Chief James Ibori, Chief Benjamin Elue, Mr. Ede Oghoro and Mr. Charles Israyel in consequence of the alleged investigation touching on the accounts, contracts, etc of the State Government. This is a wide ranging order, in that it not only protects the ex-governor and his people while in government, it also protects current office holders. The reason why the current
Of course, this is not the first time ex-Governors (whether or not they are under investigation for corruption) will take out such injunctions. Plateau’s Dariye tried it, Abia’s Kalu tried it and more recently, Odili of Rivers State was granted an order preventing him from arrest by the anti-graft agency to face prosecution over alleged misconduct while in office. And they were somewhat successful because they were clever enough to apply for such injunctions in their home states, where they had lots of influence in everything. Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), Nuhu Ribadu, confirmed this by alleging that some judges in the country collude with looters in the sharing of proceeds of financial crimes and thereby resort to granting indiscriminate ex-parte injunctions against the anti- graft agency.
All these left and right injunctions, under the much misused and maligned Rule of Law came about following growing insinuations that President Musa Yar’Adua was part of the ploy to shield Ibori from trial by a London court, although the President denied the allegation saying: “As far as I am concerned, nobody, no matter how highly placed, and no institution, no matter what it considers the rightness of its cause, will be considered a sacred cow or above the law in the bid to rid Nigeria of corrupt practices.” The President has of course made certain pronouncements on this case, even directing the AGF to “fully cooperate with the
We will see, Mr President, we will see. Let us see the action; we have heard enough of words. Without necessarily being too harsh on the President, all the steps his government had taken so far in ensuring justice for Nigerians and ensuring that all these ex-governors and their cohorts do not escape justice, had all fallen flat and not measured up to the expectations of the people. It just does not look good. The war against corruption is simply not being fought the right and efficient way. Every day, as thing move from bad to worse, a lot of us are beginning to doubt the sincerity of purpose, the modus operandi and tactics of the Federal Government. What else can we believe? The EFCC is being muzzled, or at best, lost its tempo; the nation’s Attorney General’s actions so far are sending out the wrong signals; an ex-Governor who has accumulated $35 (or is it £35) million during 8 years of ruling his state is said not to be under investigation (courtesy, AGF’s letter to Ibori’s London solicitors); injunctions not to arrest or investigate are flying left, right and centre; most of these corrupt ex-governors have the ear of the President; the Honourable Speaker of the House of Representatives is embroiled in a massive scandal; and other corruption scandals surfacing everyday.
One undeniable fact is that Yar ‘Adua’s government is burdened enough with credibility problems as a result of the underhand way it came in via a very flawed election. It should do nothing to compound them. From all indications so far, with its seemingly errant officials, it is doing its best to self-destruct and implode. President Yar’Adua had ‘chance meetings’ with Ibori in
Is this government up to the Herculean task of tackling this Aegean stable called corruption? You tell me. Why are we relying on the British Government, for example, to establish money laundering charges against Ibori? Should not the Nigerian Government first initiate an investigation into misuse and mismanagement of public funds, embezzlement, stealing and financial misconduct, etc against these people in Nigeria and then come up with the results of their investigation which could then be used to prosecute them on Nigerian soil and then passed to the British authorities to help them with their own investigations? Then, Ibori will have 2 separate cases to defend, one in
Funny enough, Ibori has not denied amassing such massive wealth, neither has he explained how he came about it. All he has been saying is that the