HEDA Demands Speedy Prosecution Of Babachir Lawal, Ex-NIA DG..Commends AGF For Prosecution Of Onnoghen

Yemisi Izuora 

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda Resource Centre (HEDA), has commended the office of the Honourable Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice for the timeous and prompt nature of the prosecution of the Honorable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen over the non-declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

This is just as the Resource Center in a letter sent to the office of the AGF said similar swiftness applied in the speedy prosecution of Justice Onnoghen should be utilized in effecting the prosecution of several pending corruption related cases investigated by the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.

According to HEDA chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, who signed the letter, an urgent and immediate prosecution of the principal suspects in the Babachir Lawal and Ambassador Oke alleged corruption scandal should commence with immediate effect.

“First and foremost, we most humbly applaud and commend the timeous and prompt nature with which the office of the Honourable Attorney General of Federation and Minister of Justice ensured the expeditious prosecution of the Honouable Chief Justice of Nigeria, Honourable Justice Walter Onnoghen over the non-declaration of assets before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“Based on the foregoing, we had wished the swiftness applied in the speedy prosecution of theHonourable Chief Justice of Nigeria was utilized and visitedin effectingthe prosecution of several pending corruption related cases investigated by the anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.

“Prominent among these cases are: The reported case of fraud allegation against the Former Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal which was reported by several newspaper and upon which Mr. Babachir Lawal was sacked from office.

“It was reported on the 30th day of October, 2017 that the Former Secretary General of the Federation, BabachirLawal was sacked by His President Muhammadu Buhari based on the recommendation of the panel headed the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN. Though, he was interrogated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and reportedly detained by the Commission. He is yet to have his days in Court.

“Another case which bears so much resemblance with the aforementioned case  was reported since 2017 wherein the former Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador AyodeleOkewas suspended in April, 2017; following the raid conducted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in April 2017 where about $43.4 million, and nearly £27,800 and some N23million Naira ($75,000) was recovered at his empty apartment at Osborne Towers in Ikoyi, Lagos. He was eventually sacked in October 30, 2017, based on the recommendations of the same three-man Panel headed by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.”

HEDA noted further that “The office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister for Justice is saddled with the powers to institute, undertake, take over, continue and discontinue criminal proceedings against any person before any court of law in Nigeria, other than a court-martial, in respect of any offence created

“We have the mandate to pursue to till infinity, accountability, transparency and integrity in governance; owing to this, we hereby request that the office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation exercises its power to prosecutethe above-mentioned individuals indicted by the Vice president’s panel, with the view to setting a standard that the law is to be upheld ultimately to setting same as a deterrent to future perpetrators.

“As part of our mandate of promoting accountability in governance and monitoring compliance of anti-corruption agencies with their mandate in ensuring fair prosecution of the fight against corruption without element of bias against only political opposition, we demand urgent and immediate prosecution of the principal suspects in the Babachir Lawal and Ambassador Oke scandal with immediate effect.

“Failure to institute the demanded legal action against suspects with one month of the receipt of this letter, our organization will be left with no option than seek judicial action to compel your office to discharge its constitutional responsibility,” the letter said.

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