I’m Not A ‘Come And Chop’ Politicians Like You, Sagay Blasts Oyegun, Abdullahi

Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has described National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Oyegun, Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, and other politicians attacking him as a ‘‘come and chop’’ politicians.


The party, had in a statement on Monday, described Sagay as a “rogue elephant” and further accused him of displaying arrogance and contempt for everyone but himself.


However, in a swift reaction, Prof. Sagay pointed out that his loyalty was to the President and not to the party which he believed had continued to fail under the leadership of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun.


According to him, he was an accomplished man long before any appointment, describing his attackers as ‘‘come and chop’’ politicians.


His words: “To start with, I am not a ‘come and chop’ person as they are. I did not come to ‘chop’; so they are not doing me a favour. They are the ones that come to ‘chop’.


“Secondly, my criticism of APC is not against President Buhari who I think is a man of great honour, integrity and whom I admire and who inspires me.


“I took this job because of Buhari and Osinbajo, who I admire greatly. The people I am referring to in my criticism are John Odigie-Oyegun and one Bolaji Abdullahi, who is (Senate President Bukola) Saraki’s Man Friday. They are dining with the devil who wants to destroy the party.


“They are appeasers, who are acting the way (former) British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, appeased Adolf Hitler and in the process, they will destroy the party because they are weak and unable to confront evil and they will end up helping that Hitler to destroy the party.


“What is APC without Buhari, Osinbajo and Tinubu? The Oyegun-led executive, which is doing a policy of appeasement, will destroy the party.”


APC To Sagay: You Are Arrogant, Rogue Elephant

The national leadership of the governing All Progressives Congress has issued the statement below, launching a blistering attack on the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay (SAN).

In the statement, the party described Mr. Sagay as arrogant and a rogue elephant who has no respect for even President Muhammadu Buhari.

The APC says it is responding to an interview Mr. Sagay granted The Nation’s newspaper where he criticized the leadership of the fold as “running riot and destroying the party.”

Read the APC full statement below.


Our attention has been brought to an interview published on pages 46-47 of The Nation Newspaper of Sunday, September 24, 2017, granted by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay (SAN).

In the said interview, Sagay described the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as “the most unprincipled group of people” who are “encouraging and accepting rogues” in the party. He said: “When I say ‘rogues’, I don’t mean stealing. In literature, when you say someone is a rogue elephant, it means people who are running riot and destroying the party.”

The Webster dictionary defines ‘rogue elephant’ as “one whose behaviour resembles that of a rogue elephant in being aberrant or independent.” Clearly if we have today, anyone in our government or, by extension, the party who feels accountable only to his own ego; who does not feel the need to bridle his tongue for the sake of anything that is higher than himself; who feels independent of everyone and every institution; that person is Professor Sagay.

Asked by the interviewer if he would stop speaking if the President asks him to stop speaking, he said: “Yes, he is my employer. If he tells me to stop talking, I’ll stop talking. But I have certain rights too that I can exercise in addition to that, because I’m not going to be in a position where I am impotent. So, I must obey him, but I can go beyond that and obey myself too. That’s it.” Framed in another way, what Sagay is saying here is that, no matter what is at stake, he would rather resign than obey the President if the President tries to restrain him. This is the quintessential rogue elephant behaviour.

In his sheer arrogance, he forgets that it is impossible for him to call out the leadership of the party as “weak” and “unprincipled” without indicting the President, who is the leader of the party and has the fundamental responsibility to build the party. If Sagay had any iota of respect for the man who dug him back from inevitable oblivion and puts him in a position in which he now feels superior to everyone, he would channel his opinions and advice to the President on how to make the party stronger and more principled. It appears however that Sagay does not have anything constructive to say about anything. He only knows how to tear down and assault everyone and everything.

We want to remind Sagay and all other appointees of our government that the only reason they occupy their current position today is because the APC won the election. There is, therefore, a matter of honour to show decorum and respect for the party and its leadership. You cannot love the fruit and hate the tree that produced it.


Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi

National Publicity Secretary

All Progressives Congress (APC)

Recall Of Judges: Lawyers Back NJC

Over the weekend the National Judicial Council, NJC  recalled some indicted judges. Senior lawyers have lent their support just as Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Professor Itse Sagay frowned at the development, saying “it is absolutely wrong to recall a judge whose case is on-going.”

The National Judicial Council, NJC, headed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen, recalled  the judges at the end of its 82nd meeting on June 1, a development that has continued to elicit reactions

According to the NJC, the recalled jurists include Justice John Inyang Okoro of the Supreme Court, Justice Uwani Abba Aji of the Court of Appeal; Justice Hydiazira A. Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court; Justice A. F. A. Ademola of the Federal High Court who has been discharged and acquitted; Justice Musa H. Kurya of the Federal High Court; and Justice Agbadu James Fishim of National Industrial Court of Nigeria.

It will be recalled that the NJC had said its decision was predicated on the fact  that of the eight judges asked to withdraw from their judicial duties on the request of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, pending the conclusion of investigations on corruption allegations against them, only three had been charged to court. NJC, in a statement by its Director of Information, Mr. Soji Oye, weekend, asked various Heads of Court to direct the six suspended Judges to resume their judicial duties with effect from June 7, “as there are already backlog of cases in their various court for the past eight months.” Reacting yesterday, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Professor Itse, SAN,  said:

“It is absolutely wrong to recall a judge whose case is ongoing. ‘’It is wrong for the NJC to have recalled that judge. That is just my view. It is wrong because the case is ongoing. The matter has been filed and we don’t know what the outcome is going to be. If the outcome is negative for the judge, then he has to leave again, so it does not make sense.

“Second, with regards to the other judges who were not charged, that is charges were not brought against them and that is why they were recalled, on principle, there is nothing wrong with that. But I want to ask a question, before recalling them, did the NJC consult with the anti-corruption agencies and the DSS, that arrested them in the first place?

A Corrupt Judge Commits Crime Against Humanity – Sagay

Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Chairman Itse Sagay (SAN) yesterday came hard on those condemning the arrest of two Supreme Court justices and other judges by the Department of State Services (DSS), saying such critics ignore the implications of judicial corruption.

According to him, it is as if a corrupt judge is committing a crime against humanity because he holds the power of life and death and is expected by the society to be above board.

Prof. Sagay said where a society loses confidence in the judiciary, it would resort to self-help.

He spoke in Abuja at a news conference by PACAC to review its activities since it was established last August by President Muhammadu Buhari.

There have been some criticisms of the arrests. Some said the rights of the judges were trampled, others said it was an attack on the judiciary.

Sagay thinks many Nigerians do not appreciate the sincerity of the Federal Government’s anti-corruption battle, saying it was as if many preferred the old order, which he said would have made Nigeria worse than Zimbabwe

He said: “I think that those who have criticised the DSS and the manner the search was conducted or even criticised the whole idea of a search being conducted seem not to have looked at the implications of judicial corruption.

“At the end of the day when there is corruption anywhere, who do you take the matter to? It is to the judge. The judge is the ultimate and, in fact, the buck stops at his court. So, if that judge is complicit in the corruption then that is the end of the fight against corruption. That is the awful implication!

“So, any judge who is corrupt is committing a crime – in fact, one can even say it’s a crime against humanity because it just destroys our confidence in a system which should sustain the state in law and order. It encourages people to resort to self-help because there is no hope in taking a matter to court.”

Sagay said the judiciary became so corrupt that it endorsed violent elections in which thousands died.

“Today, just to give an example, we have some sitting governors who we all knew that they did not win an election. Because they killed their way into office, people are still dying in those states, for them to sustain themselves in that office.

“Yet some courts at the highest level gave approval to the process that brought those people to what I would call their bloody seats on which they are sitting. These are some of the things we are talking about. If the judiciary is corrupt, the only body, the only arm of government that has the power of life and death over Nigerians, if they are corrupt, then it is frightening,” he said.

Sagay believes many commentators ignored the monies allegedly found on the judges, saying: “The other thing that surprises me is that a lot of people have made commentaries criticising what has been happening and have ignored the outcome of these searches completely.

“Isn’t it enough that billions of naira was found in private residences? Don’t you associate these billions of Naira with the fact that your roads are in a state of disrepair, that your hospitals are under-equipped or ill-equipped, and that schools are dilapidated and that it affects your daily life? What of those in the public service today who cannot get salaries paid because all these monies came from the public purse?

“The point I am making is that we seem to want to eat an omelet without breaking eggs; that is what Nigerians want. There are Nigerians who say, ‘Ooh, we are suffering a lot of hardship since the Buhari government came and that we are better off under corruption’.

“Isn’t that the most terrible thing for anybody to mouth, without considering what would have happened if Buhari had not come? If that had been the case, I don’t think that there would have been a country today; I think that Zimbabwe would have been better because this is a government that is operating on little or no budget because by the time they came in, what was existing had been squandered completely and shared among those now being defended with cries of ‘human rights’.

“What I am saying is that it is very discouraging because if you are struggling for the masses of this country, for the welfare of Nigerians, for improvement of the standard of living and then you are not encouraged, the tendency is for you to give up. For people to prefer corruption to the integrity that we are seeing in government today is very shocking. And I can tell you that if I were in government, I would have been extremely discouraged.

“We cannot have it both ways. We need the judiciary but we need an upright judiciary; without that, one arm of government would collapse; democracy would collapse. Let us think of the implication of what is going on. If we don’t put the judiciary right and we don’t have a judiciary in which we have confidence, a judiciary with integrity and honour, a judiciary with moral authority, then we have no government and we have no democracy.”

Sagay said it would have been unthinkable for the DSS to raid the homes of judges even under military rule when courts gave several verdicts against the government, all because of the high level of integrity the judges had.

“You people remember the era of Justices Eso, Oputa, Aniagolu, Nnamani, Idigbe, Mohammed Bello and Obaseki? Which DSS would have dared to even question any of those people? Nobody! No agency of government would have dared it. They gave a lot of their judgments against the military government. I can cite over 20 judgments which they gave against military government.

“They gave a judgment against Buhari’s military government, saying he had no power to retire some people; the Manager of the Fire Service in Lagos, Garba. It was held that his retirement (by the military regime) was illegal.

“I can cite so many. There was also Ojukwu’s case and everybody knows that. It (Supreme Court) held that the powers that be, the military government, could not engage in self-help by preventing Ojukwu from living in his father’s house. Ojukwu got judgment and instead of appealing, they went and threw him out.

“Then, the Supreme Court held that for throwing him out and preventing him from accessing his father’s house, rather than appealing that judgment, they (military) are deprived of the right to come to this court.

“That moral authority has crashed and, therefore, having crashed, like a tree that has fallen, ants, lizards and all sorts of things can climb over it. You bring yourself down and then, whatever happens after that is your own fault.

“The ordinary man like you and I could be guilty of corruption but a judge should never be guilty of corruption. Once a judge does that, he brings himself to our level and so cannot complain if he is treated the same way that you and I are treated. That is what has happened. Let us be objective and be fair to this country with our commentary and not be narrow-minded,” Sagay said.

PACAC Executive Secretary Prof Bolaji Owasanoye said the arrested judges should be suspended while their trial lasts and until they clear their names.

He noted that a member of the committee had to step down when serious allegations were made against him.

Owasanoye said: “The National Judicial Council (NJC) did not suggest in their response that they’re suspending the judges. But what should be the proper thing? The proper thing, of course, is for the judges to be suspended. The reason is because all over the world, if a judge is going to be appearing before a court on criminal charges, you ask yourself, is it appropriate for the judge to continue to sit in another respect?”

“I’m talking about best practices here. After all when other people are being tried, we argue that they should step down. We’re not talking of an administrative issue here; we’re talking about a crime. I think that the proper thing to do is actually for the judges to be given that charge to defend themselves.

“In other climes, when a policy that somebody initiates does not even work well, they resign. David Cameron resigned simply because Britain voted to leave the European Union (Brexit). He didn’t do anything wrong. Clearly, the honourable thing is for the NJC to give those judges an opportunity to go and defend themselves and then if they’re cleared they can take back their jobs, strengthened.

“Again, there are situations in which NJC has been investigating the judges behind the scene and technically has not allowed them to preside over cases, even though those allegations may not be criminal in nature. So is this not even much more sensitive and a more compelling reason to suspend them?”

A PACAC member, Prof Femi Odekunle, said those faulting the judges’ arrest missed the point.

“There are those who are making arguments that amount to shenanigans, to shield people. Corruption in the judiciary is not the same as corruption in the marketplace; the judiciary is the soul of our nation. Therefore, anything that could be done with it should be done.”

House Scandal: Jibrin Meets Sagay Committee, Insists Dogara, Others Must Go

A former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, met with the Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption in Abuja on Wednesday.

Jibrin emerged from the meeting which took place at the secretariat of the PACAC at the Phase 1 of the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, at about 2.49pm on Wednesday, renewing his call for the removal of th Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers, over the budget padding scam rocking the lower legislative chamber.

Jibrin, who was sacked as the Chairman House Committee on Appropriation for “abusing” the 2016 budget, had earlier petitioned PACAC, the police and anti-corruption agencies including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, accusing Dogara, the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor of padding the budget by over N40bn.

Jibrin met with members of PACAC for about four hours on Wednesday following an invitation by the committee.

It was learnt that Jibrin responded to a lot of questions from the committee members and taken through some documents he submitted along with his petition, during the meeting.

Executive Secretary of PACAC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, confirmed to our correspondent after the meeting with Jibrin that the committee had started considering the petitioner’s submissions and documents.

“What I can tell you now is that we are still meeting on the issue. It is difficult to tell you the outcome or what line of action we are taking next.

“It will be pre-emptive to say anything at this stage,” Owasanoye said.

Fielding questions from journalists after meeting with PACAC members, Jibrin described his deliberations with the committee members as fruitful.

He insisted that Dogara and others had been shown to be corrupt and had lost the moral right to remain in office.

He said, “Yes, we still stand by our position, given the gravity of the allegation against the Speaker, Dogara, Lasun, Ado-Doguwa and Leo Ogor, and the fact that they have not responded to any of the allegations till date.

“Some of these allegations are specific allegations that it will be hard for anybody to deny. We had expected that they should do the honourable thing by resigning and submitting themselves for investigation.

“Of course, the Leader of the House (Femi Gbajabiamila) has led by example; he has submitted himself to the police. But the most important thing is that that position has not changed.


Sagay Slams Supreme Court Over Rivers Election Tribunal Judgement

Eminent jurist, Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), assailed the recent verdict of the Supreme Court on the 2015 Rivers State governorship election afresh yesterday, branding it a farewell to election petitions in the country.

The ruling, Sagay said in a in a 52 page review of the apex court’s decision, was shocking, catastrophic and uncalled for.

He said not a few Nigerians have lost faith in the Supreme Court on account of the judgement which upheld the election of Mr. Nyesom Wike of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the duly elected governor of the state.

“In the Richter scale of earthquakes, it must have measured up to 15: enough to induce a miscarriage, even in a man,” he said of the disappointment of those he called innocent Nigerians by the ruling.

He could not understand how the verdict was arrived at despite “the murder, mayhem, chaos and devastation almost amounting to a catastrophe, displayed on television, reported in all newspapers in all its gory details; after the damning reports of International and Local Observers who barely survived their mission.

“It was the worst shock ever created by a Supreme Court decision since I was knowledgeable enough to follow and understand Court judgments.”

Citing the judgement of Nweze, JSC in in Okereke v. Umahi S.C. 1004/2015 where the Supreme Court, said that the use of the Card Reader would ‘dethrone’ and ‘depose’ the Voters’ Register, Sagay said: “How does the Card Reader ‘depose’, or ‘dethrone’ the voter’s Register. After verification by the Card Reader, the voter’s name still has to be identified in the voters’ Register and ticked before he can vote.

“It must be noted that both the Tribunal and Court of Appeal emphasized that the Card Reader was intended to and did strengthen the application and efficacy of the Electoral Act, by ensuring a credible election for the benefit of Nigerians.

“The Election Tribunal stated expressly that “the usage of the Card Reader was complementary to the usage of the voters’ register. In other words, the two work hand in hand towards ensuring credible elections. The voters’ Registers properly come to play where a prospective voter has been screened by the Card Reader. The sum total of the role of the Card Reader is that it is complementary to the usage of the Voters’ Register.”

“So where in all this did Nweze, JSC, discover the ‘deposition’, and ‘dethronement’, of the Voters’ Register by the Card Reader? Absolutely nowhere. What Nweze had simply done was to give the Card Reader a bad name in order to subject it to judicial execution. Has the Card Reader eliminated the voters’ Register? No! Has it brought integrity and transparency to the voters’ Register and the whole electoral process? Yes!

“All the Card Reader does is to act as a gate man for the voters’ Register. There was no dethronement and deposition here. There was only a step forward towards free, fair and credible elections – a procedure for sanitizing our elections and for eliminating fraud, dishonesty and rigging from our electoral process. Should any Supreme Court anywhere in the world resist and reject such a beneficial development in the electoral process? No!

“The law as stated in Section 49 has not in any way been altered by the Card Reader.

“So, all this talk of superseding and dethroning has no bearing whatsoever on Section 49 of the Electoral Act 2010. There is no provision of the Electoral Act banning or prohibiting the use of Card Readers. It is wrong of any one to assert that the use of Card Readers is electronic voting. It shows that such a person cannot distinguish between accreditation and voting.”

The jurist said the Supreme Court ought to have considered the following questions on the Card Reader before arriving at its decision:

* Was the voters’ Register instituted in the Electoral Act to promote and ensure free, fair and credible elections?

*If this is so (and it necessarily must have been so) did the introduction of the Card Reader enhance the capacity of the Voters’ Register to produce clean, fair and credible elections?

He added: “As all the Courts, even the Supreme Court, have admitted, the Card Reader has sanitized and brought transparency and integrity to the election accreditation process. The sum total of the usage of the Card Reader therefore is that it is complementary to the work of the Voters’ register. “The two work hand in hand to ensure a credible election” – (The Tribunal)

“It follows that if all the Card Reader does is to enhance, improve and promote the capacity of the Voters’ the Card Reader could NOT in any sense have ‘deposed’, ‘dethroned’ the Voters’ Register as Nweze wrongly asserted in Okereke v. Umahi. Helping and enhancing the Voters’ Register’s capacity and efficiency cannot be classified as ‘dethroning’ or ‘deposing’ it. It is still there as the ultimate source after the cleanup of the process by the Card Reader.”

Sagay also faulted the Supreme Court’s position that “in order for an election to be nullified, the Petitioner (Dr. Dakuku Peterside) has to establish that not only was there a substantial non-compliance with the Electoral Act, but additionally the Petitioner must show that the substantial non-compliance affected the result of the election.”

Relying on Section 139(1) of the Electoral Act, 2010 which stipulates that “An election shall not be liable to be invalidated by reason of non-compliance with this Act if it appears to the Electoral Tribunal or Court that the election (i) was conducted substantially in accordance with the principles of this Act and (ii) that the non-compliance did not affect substantially the result of the election,”

Sagay said:”In other words, any election has to clear two hurdles in order to be valid; (i) it must comply substantially with the provisions of the Act; (ii) where there was any non-compliance, no matter how insignificant, it must not have substantial effect on the result.

“Therefore a petitioner will succeed if he can establish either of the following: Substantial non-compliance with the Act, only or substantial effect on the result by any degree of non-compliance, no matter how trivial. I repeat, the petitioner need only establish one of these two situations in order for the election to be invalid, namely, Substantial non compliance with the electoral Act including the schedules and regulations or Substantial effect on the election result of any infraction of the Electoral Act, schedules, regulations etc no matter how trivial the infraction.”

“Therefore, Kekere-Ekun, JSC, was absolutely wrong when she stated at page 67 of her judgment that in addition to establishing substantial non-compliance, the Petitioners were also obliged to also establish that the non-compliance also affected the result of the election. This is an error that some Justices of the Supreme Court have been repeating again and again in spite of corrections that have been offered several times.”

The Nation

Proposed Amendment Of CCB/CCT Bill Shows Senate Is Corrupt And Morally Bankrupt – Presidential Adviser

The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, has faulted the move by the Senate to amend the law regulating the conduct of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.

According to Sagay, the move by the Senate had shown that the legislative arm of government intended to encourage corrupt practices and shield corrupt leaders from prosecution.

Sagay stressed that the Senate by its action had show the lack of moral integrity on the part of its members.

He said, “It’s a surprise to me, because I really don’t know that our mentality has degenerated to such a level of self-service that the people, who were sent to the National Assembly to make laws for the benefit of all Nigerians, have started a process that will allow a complete crisis.

“To me, this is the highest level of shameless misconduct by the generality of the members of the red chamber. Obviously, there is no limit to the level of disgusting things they can do.”

It could be recalled that the Senate yesterday hurriedly passed the bill to amend the conduct of CCB and CCT for second reading, barely 48 hours after it was presented by the sponsor, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, on the floor of the senate.

The Senate had set Tuesday next week to commence deliberation on another bill meant to amend the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA that will remove the powers of the CCT to try criminal cases.

Sagay Urges EFCC To Stand Firm In Corruption Clampdown

Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, SAN, has charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, not to relent in carrying out its mandate of ridding the country of economic and financial crimes.

Sagay, who led some members of the committee to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, on Thursday also stressed the pivotal role the anti-graft agency has to play in winning the war against corruption.

“The common interest of Nigerians is at stake, because corruption affects everyone, and we have the same objective, therefore you can rely on us to give you support in all ramifications,” he said.

While commending the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, for rejuvenating the activities of the anti-graft agency, Sagay noted that there was still much more to be done.

“The energy you have brought in to the activities of the EFCC since your assumption of office has encouraged us, and we want you to continue to do more,” he said.

Re-echoing the views of Sagay, the committee’s secretary, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, stressed the importance of securing convictions in cases involving high profile individuals.

“We commend you for your efforts, but there is need to further enhance the good work you are doing by securing convictions in high profile cases,” he said.

Reassuring the committee of the Commission’s resolve not to relent in its efforts, Magu, used the opportunity to intimate the committee of some of the reforms he has initiated.

“We are restructuring the operations aspect of the Commission and weeding out the bad eggs.

“We are also carrying the anti-corruption crusade to the grassroots,” he said.

He added that the efforts of the agency were yielding results, noting that the EFCC was determined to get to the root of major corruption cases in the country, including the Halliburton case.

“We are getting back the confidence we have been lacking,” he said.

He further told the committee that the Commission was facing a major problem with regards to accommodation, and there was a need to have an Academy equipped to international standards.

Other members of the committee at the meeting include Prof. Sadiq Isa Radda, Prof. E. Alemika, Prof. Femi Odekunle, Ona Peters, Ola Olukayode, and Olusegun Odesina.

Falana Makes Case For Special Courts, Says Looters Don’t Deserve Bail

A Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), says politically-exposed persons facing corruption charges do not deserve bail.

“Since victims of grand corruption including armed robbery and kidnap suspects are not usually admitted to bail, those who are charged with looting the treasury should no longer be granted bail,” Falana said.

While expressing worry that many of the ongoing high profile corruption cases may not be concluded before 2019 when President Muhammadu Buhari would have finished his term, Falana also made a case for the creation of special courts.

The activist lawyer expressed these views in a paper he delivered on Thursday at the roundtable on anti-corruption war convened by the Department of Jurisprudence and International Law, University of Lagos, where he was the keynote speaker.

The roundtable, which was chaired by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), had a former Minister of Education, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Dr. Femi Aribisala and Dr. Ayo Obe as discussants.

In his paper titled, “Rule of Law and Treatment of Politically-exposed corruption cases,” delivered on his behalf by Mr. Wahab Shittu, Falana said if the Buhari government did not undertake an urgent reform of the criminal justice system, including creating special courts, its anti-corruption war efforts would amount to nothing.

He also took a swipe at the Nigerian Bar Association and the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, who had called on Buhari to respect the rule of law, saying they were not sincere.

He said, “The Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria has urged the government to fight corruption under the rule of law. On its own part the NBA has censored the Federal Government for violating the human rights of certain suspects. But neither the BOSAN nor the NBA has deemed it fit to caution the members of the legal profession who are determined to frustrate the prosecution of corruption cases.

“As far as both bodies are concerned, human rights are the exclusive reserve of the bourgeois. Hence, the tenets of the rule of law are only invoked when the trial of VIPs is involved, while human rights are violated in Nigeria when the looters of the treasury are arrested and detained for a few days without trial.”

Falana wondered why BOSAN and NBA did not talk of human rights when “70 soldiers were recently tried in camera, convicted and sentenced to death for demanding weapons to fight the well-armed terrorists,” and why the two bodies were not bothered about the plight of “40,000 out of the 52,000 prison inmates who are awaiting trial under dehumanising conditions.”

In his opening remarks, Sagay lamented that highly-placed Nigerians who were once celebrated are now the same set of people being exposed as “looters, bandits and locusts.”

“I fear that Nigerians may become so sated with this daily diet of financial brigandry that they may no longer feel shocked, disturbed, angered and determined to see justice served on the guilty and their stolen property recovered,” Sagay said.

He linked the daily woes of the country in form of poverty, poor roads, poor power supply, poor health care and so on to corruption.

Ezekwesili, Aribisala and Obe advised the Federal Government to put in place measures that could deter corruption.

Also speaking on Thursday at the special congress and public lecture organised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, chapter, Falana said judges who granted frivolous perpetual injunctions in cases of corruption and lawyers who filed for such injunctions were scuttling the anti-corruption war in the country.

Falana, who was the guest lecturer at the event, also attended by the President of ASUU, Isa Fagge, noted that the neo-colonialist nature of capitalism being practised in the country had produced a set of wealthy Nigerians who “are bigger than the nation’s laws.”

He said, “The criminal justice system has been hijacked by the corrupt and looters of the public treasury and their lawyers. It is only in Nigeria that an accused will ask his trial to be suspended.

“Many of the governors who faced corruption charges, their lawyers had asked for their trial to be suspended, and judges granted this. How would a lawyer also plead with a judge that a criminal should not be arrested?

“Someone who stole millions of naira getting perpetual injunction not to be arrested and prosecuted, lawyers must allow cases to go on.”

Falana, who spoke on the topic: ‘The limits of anti-corruption law’ said there was nothing close to equality before the law in the country, as the wealthy and influential Nigerians get lighter punishment while the commoners get stiffer penalties in the criminal system.

He said, “In Edo State, someone was sentenced to three years imprisonment for stealing bush meat, another one who stole handset in Osun State was also sentenced to seven years imprisonment.

“But corrupt public officials prefer to be remanded in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s custody or being remanded in Kuje Prisons.

“Let me tell you, EFCC cells have beddings and mosquito nets, and I have been detained in Kuje Prisons twice, it is one of the best prisons in the country. Why didn’t they take them to Kirikiri or Ikoyi or Ijebu Ode Prisons?

“And whoever have been detained in police cells would know that they sleep on bare floor, and a bucket put at a corner to serve as container for their faeces.”

He noted that with the way the cases of corruption were being handled by the EFCC currently, and given the incessant injunctions being granted, the government might not get more than five convictions.

To tame the lawyers involved in this practice, he called for publication of the names of those being tried for corrupt practices and those of their lawyers.

He specifically asked ASUU to also join in the fight against graft.

Fagge, on his own part, said the universities had deviated from their original role of carrying out research and making it available to the society.

He also noted that corruption had continued to thrive because no one had been brought to book.

Prof Sagay Calls For Ex-AGF Adoke To Be Declared Wanted

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to declare wanted the immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke (SAN).

Sagay said this during an interview on Friday while reacting to Adoke’s open letter to Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.

In the said letter, Adoke, who has refused to honour an EFCC invitation since December last year, said he would not do so because there was a plan by some of his political opponents to embarrass him in Nigeria.

The ex-minister, who claimed to be undergoing an academic programme in the Netherlands, was invited by the anti-graft agency for his alleged role in the $2bn Malabu oil deal.

Adoke, who said he had finished writing his exams, said he would not honour the EFCC invitation.

But Sagay said Adoke was testing the collective will of Nigerians by refusing to honour the EFCC invitation.

He said if Adoke was not guilty, he should return to Nigeria to clear his name rather than stay abroad issuing statements.

Sagay said, “Anyone that is invited by the EFCC is duty-bound to make himself available. It is just like the police inviting you and the moment you don’t honour the invitation, they will arrest you. So, it is a sign of respect to invite a person.

“In my view, if his hands are clean, why does he care if he will be embarrassed or not? You cannot be embarrassed if your hands are clean because whoever tries to embarrass you will be the one to be embarrassed when the truth is out.

“So, his response looks like a guilty one and he has stayed away from the country to avoid answering questions and so in my view, he has to be declared wanted, the International Police must go after him and wherever he is found, he should be extradited to Nigeria.”

The Punch

Supreme Court Judgement On Abia, Akwa Ibom Faulty – Itse Sagay

Eminent lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay, and a Lagos-based legal practitioner, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, on Thursday, queried the recent judgments of the Supreme Court, which dismissed all the cases challenging the polls of some governors, including those that had earlier been overturned by two lower courts.

A seven-man bench led by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, on Wednesday, affirmed the results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission with respect to the Abia and Akwa Ibom states’ governorship polls.

In separate telephone interviews with our correspondent, Sagay and Ogunye said the Supreme Court judgments were not justifiable.

The Court of Appeal in the case of the Abia poll and the election petitions tribunal with respect to the Akwa Ibom election had taken a position different from that of the apex court.

Earlier, the apex court had affirmed the governorship election in River State, despite contrary findings by the appeal court.

The apex court had also affirmed the governorship polls in Ebonyi, Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Delta and some others.

The Supreme Court is to give full reasons for its decisions on most of the governorship elections later this month.

The apex court’s decision has not been delivered in the appeal with respect to Taraba State election.

Drawing an analogy between the Supreme Court’s decisions and the attitude of an ancient king called Draco in punishing all offences with death, Sagay said on Thursday that the apex court’s streak of judgments was strange.

He said, “It is not something I can just pounce on. But all the judgments have been the same. It’s very interesting. There used to be an ancient monarch, who punished every crime by death. He was called Draco. That is why when somebody does anything extreme he is called Draconian.

“If anybody steals one kobo, you kill him, if he kills someone you kill him, at the end, there is no distinction between offences.

“There should be distinctions. How can all the governorship cases go the same way? How is that possible? That is the question we are all awaiting when they will give the reasons for their judgments.

“I don’t know how to put it, but it’s very strange. We will wait for them to give their reasons and see how that magic occurred that every governorship election was valid and in line with the Electoral Act. It is very unprecedented. We will see when they give their full judgments, that is it for now.”

On his part, Ogunye said he was met with ‘shock and disbelief’ following the apex court’s decisions.

He expressed fear that the Supreme Court’s judgment might ‘unwittingly become an anti-technology, anti-innovation and anti-science precedent’ which he said was “sad for our democracy’.

He said with the trend of the apex court’s judgment it would have been impossible for the likes of Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun and former Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, to assume governorship positions.

Those mentioned by Ogunye had become governors by an order of the Court of Appeal at the time when the Supreme Court had yet to have jurisdiction over governorship election appeal cases.

He also said, “Nigerians and the international community were living witnesses to the conduct of the polls in the states where these election petitions emanated and the conclusions were that the elections were terribly mismanaged and marred by violence and malpractices.”