‘Patience is all we need’
When this present administration took over on Friday, May 29, 2015, there were high hopes for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as Nigeria’s most promising effort to tackle corruption. But to some Nigerians, its effort has fallen short of expectation because of undue political interference, institutional weakness and inefficiency in the judicial system as confirmed by President Muhammadu Buhari himself.
However, there have been palpable fear, especially within the political class when the anti-graft agency started arresting the suspected looters of the country’s treasury and most Nigerians started hailing the administration. But their hope started diminishing as no trial of any high profile politician or political office holder has succeeded. This has made some Nigerians conclude that it is still business as usual. And all will eventually end as mere political melo-drama.
But contrary to this opinion, the legal practitioners ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with on the perceived lack of progress in the anti-corruption trial still held the view that the train of Nigeria’s anti-corruption crusade is moving, and with patience, it will surely get to the promised land. …
‘There is progress’ -CHRIS NWAOKOBIA
Who says there is no progress in the anti-corruption war of Nigerian government? Are they unaware of the plethora of funds being recovered by this administration from those who pillaged our collective wealth? Are they unaware of the many VIPs who have spent days in Kuje Prisons rather than in Transcrop Hilton? Are they unaware of the ongoing trials of yesterday’s powerful men like Dokpesi, Metuh, Bello, Orubebe, Dauki et al. What about the Senate President’s day at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT)? Are you also unaware of the fact that a former Chief of Defence Staff is, for the first time in our history, standing trial for corruption, less than eight months after retirement, and more so under a democratic administration? Are you also unaware of the fact that trillions of naira and billions of dollars are being saved by government since introducing the Treasury Single Account (TSA) paradigm and saving our collective coffers from the wasteful pinch of those who consistently did the untoward whilst in power?
Beyond petition argument, however, even the most querulous critics of this government know that the anti-corruption vehicle is in full gear, they have only argued that it should be made far reaching and all encompassing and that will certainly happen because to use the words of Mr. President, “I belong to all and I belong to nobody.” I am sure our country is on the path of redemption.
It’s because the wheel of justice grinds steadily albeit slowly but surely. Mr. President cannot force the judicial process to run faster than scheduled but sooner than later, you’re going to see the advent of special anti-corruption as most certainly a bill to that effect shall soon be transmitted to the National Assembly.
‘There is progress in anti-corruption trial now’
The Federal Government anti-corruption crusade has continued to gather momentum because of political will and non-interference by the Executive with the statutory duties of the anti-corruption agencies. Although, the dragnets of these agencies ought to be broadened to cover the entire spectrum of our political class, the efforts already made by these agencies deserve commendation.
As a lawyer, I am telling you that there is progress in anti-corruption trial now. The administration of Criminal Justice of 2015, where issues of delay tactics such as stay of proceedings, and adjournment have been abrogated. Now, the highest you can seek adjournment cannot be more than five times, and must be on a genuine reason. Even under the administration of Criminal Justice Law 2013, Section 273 (1). Then, the arraignment of Dasuki to Bukola Saraki, Alex Badeh, Olisa Metuh, you could see some determination on the part of the government.
‘Anti-corruption trial is progressing, we only need to be patient’
-BARR. MALACHY UGWUMADU
- The government rose on the crest of their mantra to fight corruption. One of the major decisions taken by the Buhari administration was the constitution of committee on corruption. You can see the number of public officers who are consistently being changed to court and arraigned.
Our responsibility as Nigerians is just to remain vigilant because vigilance is eternal price for liberty. For instance, the Metuh case has almost ended while Orji Uzor Kalu’s is still in court since 2007. Chimaroke Nnamani’s case because the former governor was not interested.
In a nutshell, the present government is determined to fight corruption to a standstill. But as Nigerians, we must be vigilant and continually encourage the government to fight on.