The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has despatched an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, urging him to verify the prosecution of former governors indicted for corruption.
SERAP referred to as on Buhari to make use of his “just right place of work and management place to direct the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami, SAN to directly take over and expeditiously prosecute grand corruption instances involving all indicted former state governors and to prosecute indicted serving governors on the expiration in their tenure as governors”.
A observation by way of the organisation made to be had to newsmen on Sunday, famous that “the trial of several former state governors accused of corruption and money laundering have continued to linger in different high courts in the country. Some of the grand corruption cases involving former governors started in 2007 are yet to properly commence.”
A letter dated October 5, 2018 and signed by way of Timothy Adewale, SERAP’s Deputy Director, learn: “We are worried that the ongoing prolong within the prosecution of former governors suspected of committing acts of grand corruption to logical conclusion has despatched a detrimental message that the governors are untouchable. The prolong could also be contributing to belief amongst Nigerians that multiple of those influential and robust previous governors are being safe by way of the ability and political arrange.
“Instructing the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, to take over and without delay and expeditiously prosecute all instances of grand corruption involving former governors, can be totally in keeping with his tasks beneath the Constitution, and give a contribution to upholding the majesty of regulation and vindicating the rule of thumb of regulation.
“Should the Attorney General now not take over the instances of corruption towards all previous corrupt governors as asked, SERAP would, as a result of the general public passion concerned, and to be sure that no additional time is lost within the of entirety of those instances, believe suitable legal motion to compel the government to discharge their constitutional tasks, in keeping with the fundamental guideline of the rule of thumb of regulation, the idea that of equality and the reason for justice.
“The proceeding prolong within the prosecution of former governors imagined to have dedicated acts of corruption is a major factor contributing to impunity of the ones attractive in grand corruption, thereby posing a significant risk to probity in public lifestyles, the rule of thumb of regulation and admire for human rights. The prolong within the prosecution of former governors who not experience constitutional immunity additionally means that they’re above the regulation.
“Nigerians deserve to see the prosecution of all indicted former governors to logical conclusion if your government is to demonstrate the credibility of its commitment to combat grand corruption, and eliminate any impression of bias or lack of fairness in the fight against corruption. Everyone accused of corruption should be brought to justice in accordance with the law and irrespective of the height at which those involved are placed in the power and political set up.”
Noting that the prolong in prosecuting culpable former governors can be counter-productive, the gang additionally said that it amounted to a breach of the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution.
The observation persisted: “The delay also has serious implications for human rights because the lack of effective prosecution of grand corruption cases involving former governors has created the tendency among many serving governors to engage in corruption, which would ultimately have deleterious effects on the enjoyment of human rights including the rights to healthcare, water, quality education and regular electricity supply.”
“SERAP believes that everybody towards whom there’s cheap suspicion of committing a criminal offense of corruption must be handled similarly and in a similar fashion beneath the regulation scenario with a view in ensure that right kind implementation of the rule of thumb of regulation. This is the will of equality assured within the Nigerian Constitution.
“The proper to equality in a scenario just like the corruption instances involving former governors is that of the Nigerian polity and now not simply of a couple of folks. The Attorney General is constitutionally empowered to take over and expeditiously prosecuted the instances towards former governors to verify justice and put in force the idea that of equality.
“The proceeding prolong within the prosecution of former governors accused of corruption quantities to a basic breach of Nigeria’s Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and the UN Convention towards to which Nigeria is a state birthday party.
“Many of the 31 previous governors accused of corruption are escaping justice, one of the most instances courting again to 2003. “The Attorney General is a defender of public passion and has the powers beneath Section 174(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), to institute and adopt legal court cases towards someone suspected to be liable for acts of corruption.
“The prolong can not be justified. Unless there’s right kind prosecution of indicted former governors, the trouble made to research their instances would now not endure fruition. Cases of corruption towards high-ranking public officers, in particular all indicted former governors will have to be carried out and finished expeditiously if the federal government is to retain public self belief within the impartiality of its fight towards corruption.
“Any taking up and prosecution of the grand corruption instances involving former governors will have to now not dilute adherence to the necessities of an excellent trial and the fundamental rules of our constitutional jurisprudence including the presumption of innocence of the accused except discovered responsible on the finish of the trial.
“SERAP additionally notes that Governors keep watch over about 47 in step with cent of accruals to the Federation Account – each its personal percentage and that of the native governments. Also, the Attorney General once began that “It is the placement of the current management that those suspected governors will have to be prosecuted in keeping with the anti-corruption time table of the federal government.
“Ending corruption by state governors would contribute to respect for human rights including ensuring adequate medical and health facilities for all persons in the country; which would help to protect the health of the people and ensure that they receive medical attention when they are sick.”