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Monday, 6 June 2016

Christian groups call for rule of law in anti-corruption war

National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF
National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF
               
Some Christian organisations led by a senior Nigerian lawyer, Solomon Asemota, have called on the Federal Government to abide by the rule of law in the ongoing war against corruption.

Mr. Asemota, who chairs the National Christian Elders Forum, NCEF, while speaking with PREMIUM TIMES in Abuja, said although the war against corruption was a necessary and welcomed development, the attitude of government agencies towards the fight was worrisome.

“We fully support the current all out war against Corruption. We believe that this monster should be firmly dealt with.

“However, we are concerned that the rule of law in this process should be adhered to. We are concerned about the deliberate disregards of court orders on the Fundamental Human rights of Nigerian Citizens. Unfortunately, the wheel of Justice which is known to grind slowly-grinds more slowly in Nigeria.

“Nevertheless, we live in a democracy. The protection of this hard fought democracy is for the benefit of all. Perceived selective action in this fight against corruption is sending out very wrong signals. We call on the government and the law courts to ensure that those currently invited by our anti-corruption agencies have their bail rights fully protected and ensured”, said Mr. Asemota.
Mr. Asemota’s call comes on the heels of allegations that the anti-graft agency, EFCC, is disrespecting court orders.

The EFCC has held a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, for months after he was rearrested by operatives of the State Security Service in December for allegations of corruption.
Mr. Dasuki is accused of diverting of $2.1 billion meant for the purchase of arms for Nigerian soldiers. He had earlier been granted bail by three different court

Shortly after one of the bails was granted on September 1, the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, Mohammed Diri, sought revocation of the said bail.

Mr. Diri’s application hinged on the grounds that Mr. Dasuki was under investigation for alleged unlawful possession of firearms in addition to the money laundering charges earlier brought against him.

Also a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on Friday sued the EFCC, demanding his fundamental rights after he was arrested for over three weeks without trial on allegation of corruption.

The counsel to the EFCC, Salisu Maji-dadi, told Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory that Mr. Fani-Kayode was held based on a court order.

According to Mr. Maji-dadi, the EFCC obtained a court order to detain Mr. Fani-Kayode, ahead of his arrest on May 9 and also obtained another court order, at the expiration of the first one to further detain the former Aviation Minister till June 15.

President Muhammadu Buhari had noted his administration’s unwillingness to release Mr. Dasuki and leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, during his maiden presidential media chart. He said their “crimes” were “grievous.”

“If you see the atrocities these people committed against this country, we can’t allow them to jump bail,” Mr. Buhari stated.

Mr. Asemota also expressed the groups’ displeasure over some federal appointments by the current administration. He accused President Muhammadu Buhari of violating the Federal Character principle in the appointments.

“We, the Church in Nigeria are worried over wanton violation of the principle of federal character in the appointments of key positions of government by the present administration,” the Senior Advocate
of Nigeria said.

“We are worried because we know that justice and fairness are germane to progress and development and their lack could breed anarchy in the polity.

“Section 171 subsection 5 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended stipulates that the president in exercising his powers of appointment under this section shall have regard to the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity”, he said.
He specifically noted the appointments into key security agencies and demanded an immediate reversal.

“Today, the following appointments have been made in key security units in the nation: Director
General, Department of States Services ​​-​​Muslim North; Minister of Defense​​​​​​-​​Muslim North; Minister of Internal Affairs​​​​​-​​Muslim North; National Security Adviser​​​​​-​​Muslim North; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission​​​-​​Muslim North.

“One is bound to ask, with these lopsided appointments, in favour of the Muslim North, are the intelligence services Nigerian institutions or Northern Islamic institutions?

“We are certain that if previous administrations headed by Christians from the South had attempted this type of flagrant insensitive appointments, the Muslim North would have cried foul”, stated Mr. Asemota.

He added that the policy direction of the present administration amounts to what he described as a source of future intimidation.

“We are disturbed by the virtual northern Islamization of the key security units in the country. Under the present administration, the signal we are receiving is that it is only Muslims from the North that are capable of managing security units in Nigeria.

“Not only is this policy direction a total negation of the Federal Character principle in appointments into Federal offices, it also promotes the possibility of a section of the country using the instruments of the state to oppress, suppress, and intimidate other parts of the nation,” he said.

Mr. Asemota who condemned President Muhammadu Buhari’s exclusion of Fulani herdsmen in his May 29 broadcast on Nigeria’s Democracy Day, said a major solution to Nigeria’s problem would be the implementation of a Truth and Reconciliation committee.
He called for a full implementation of the recommendations of the National Confab and the removal of Sharia law in Nigeria’s constitution.

The Senior lawyer said he was speaking for 14 different Christian groups including the NCEF, Think Tank for the body of Christians, NCGF, Christian lawyers forum of Nigeria, CLASFON, Association of Christian schools in Nigeria, ACSIN, Students Christian Movement, SCM, Christian professionals forum, CPF, Intercessors for Nigeria, IFN, International Prophetic Ministerial Association, IPMA, Intercessors Without Walls, IWW, Wailing Women International, WWI, Full Gospel Business Fellowship, Nigerian Fellowship of Christian Students, NIFES, and University Joint Campus Christian Fellowship, UJCM.

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