Sometime last year, I wrote an article where I accused the judiciary of aiding and abetting the high-arched corruption in the country. Both the lawyers and the judges do not seem to understand that in the avowed fight against corruption, that we must rise above the technical legalese which they always cling to in frustrating the prosecution of accused persons. They throw all kinds of spanners into the works to stall the conviction of accused persons. That is why the cases are neither dismissed nor is any progress made on them. They just hang there, year after year, an act that only emboldens corrupt persons.
And given the fact that corruption occurs at a speed of 150km/ph, we tend to quickly lose sight of several cases, as too often, newer and even more daring ones come to overshadow older cases. That is why the judiciary has become the mortuary of corruption cases (permit the morbidity).
In this piece, I seek to draw attention, in no particular order, to some celebrated corruption cases that simply sank into the depth of the judicial system.
Starting from the more recent, I am worried that more than six months after the revelations of the Abdulrasheed Maina case hit the waves, wherein he was accused of embezzling N23.3 billion, we are neither here nor there on the case. It was reported that he fled the country. And that seems to be the last of the case. Money gone, suspect gone. Nigeria crawls on.
Much before his case was that of Kenny Martins and three others: Ibrahim Dumuje, Tony Icheka and Cosmas Okpara who were accused of embezzling N50 Billion Police Equipment Fund (PEF)- .Mr. Martins and his group were charged to court by the EFCC, but after a few detentions, the case is well rested in the judicial morgue. Money gone, suspects free, Nigeria crawls on.
Very recently too, another pension scam broke. This time, with the Director of Pension Accounts, Alhaji Sani Teidi Shaibu, accused of embezzling N5 Billion. He has just been granted bail, by an Abuja High Court. It will not be expected that his case will be treated differently. So in a few months, the case would have been firmly bottled up and quarantined in the bunker below.
Pray, where is Yakubu Yusuf who admitted stealing N23.3 Billion and got a paltry fine of N750,000 fine in place of two years imprisonment?
We cannot forget the case of Alhaji Farouk Lawan, who demanded and received a bribe of $620,000 from oil marketer, Femi Otedola allegedly to absolve his company (AP) from indictment in his committee’s report in the wake of the subsidy scam crisis. This case is even more ludicrous. Lawan admitted receiving the bribe. Otedola confirmed offering the bribe (on purpose). So what else is the lengthy adjudication for? Accepting offering the bribe (in whatever name it is called) is tantamount to pleading guilty. So what else is stalling sentencing if not for unnecessary legal studs aimed at frustrating conviction?
Yet worse, is the case of the oil marketers who were accused of fleecing the treasury to the tunes of Billions of U.S dollars, with their rougish claims during the subsidy scam regime. What has happened to the accused subsidy fraudsters? Since 2011, till date, what has happened? Was it not said then that because the sons of some sacred cows and proxies of top people in government were involved in the scam, that the trial will be mere histrionics? Is that not being proven?
Is it any wonder that we keep improving on our downward rating by Transparency International (TI) on the fight against corruption? Who says Abacha’s was a corrupt regime?
SO WHO KILLED KUDIRAT ABIOLA?
Penultimate Friday, the Appeal Court sitting in Lagos, discharged and acquitted Major Hamza Al-Mustapha, on the grounds that there were no evidences to nail him in the murder of Mrs Kudirat Abiola, wife of late Chief MKO Abiola. It was a truth-plaited judgment that held many people in stitches, just as it triggered an eerie excitement and jubilation in the camp of those absolved of the crime. The celebrations that greeted the judgement in the camp of Al-Mustpha is better understood, when you recall that just last January, a Lagos High Court had found Mustapha and Lateef Sofolahan guilty of the crime, and pronounced them guilty with the penalty of death by hanging. But that Friday morning, all that changed.
After 14 years of incarceration and convoluted litigation, Mustapha, who was the face of the alleged crime, breathed the air of freedom.
The judgment clearly demonstrates the fact that the law is indeed an ass. We do not have the instruments and details to question the ruling of the learned judges of the Appeal Court. But we certainly can ask the question of who then killed Kudirat?
The public had thought it was rather a straight forward case. Kudirat was shot that morning of June 4, 1996. She was rushed to Eko Hospital, but the bullets shot into her temple ensured she won’t survive. She died. It was a season of anomie. The State was suspected of ordering several murders. People were being attacked left, right and centre. Nigeria, at the time, suddenly turned to one huge killing field. Alex Ibru, now late, had been shot. He survived, but lost a finger and an eye. Before him, one Sola Omosola, a Lagos airport Manager had been blown up to pieces in his car, around NAHCO, Lagos. Bagallda Kaltho, journalist was also blown up in his hotel room in Kaduna. Even Brig Gen Buba Marwa (rtd), then Military Administrator of Lagos State escaped two bomb attacks targeted at him.
Earlier, Pa Abraham Adesanya (now late) had also barely escaped a volley of bullets in Lagos Island when his Mercedes Benz car hosted nine bullet holes one morning. But the old man was spared. Indeed, the Gestapo machine was revving at high pitch. Everybody knew where the bullets were coming from, but nobody could talk with authority.
That explains why it was a celebrated denoument when Barnabas Jabila alias Sgt Rogers and one Katako regaled Nigerians, with graphic details of how the killer squad called Strike Force (of which they were members), with Mustapha as Director of operations, attacked and killed several people, including the same Kudirat. I am told that Sgt Rogers later recanted his evidence, claiming the earlier testimonies were made under duress. Hmmmm…. If the squad did not kill Kudirat, who then did they strike?
No doubt, much water had passed under the bridge… and the bridge is broken. I have been wondering why the case ended up the way it did. Was the prosecution weak and wonky? Were the witnesses intimidated or threatened and so withdrew? Law is not exactly science. So on what basis did the High Court find Mustapha and co guilty and sentenced them to death by hanging? Will Kudirat ever get justice, even in death? Her husband was denied the presidency he won, even her life and her husband’s were eventually cut short. Who killed them? The questions are many and the answers are uncertain. But what is certain is that Kudirat did not commit suicide, therefore the question remains: so who Killed Kudirat?
PDP: A House Divided Against Itself
I hear that Mr President had to overrule his party chairman on the plans to hold a mini convention.
Oh yes. He did. As the overall leader of the party, he had to intervene to save the party from itself given the crisis and rivalry between the old man called Bamanga Tukur and the not-so young man called Jerry Gana
And do you think that will really save the party from the imminent showdown?
Sure, so far as the President has spoken, all others will learn to fall in line.
You believe that Tukur will not sabotage the Gana committee? Do you trust that old man? He knows how to get back at his traducers.
Always remember that PDP issues are family matters. They always get resolved, just before nightfall.
That is what they always claim. The entire umbrella is leaking and even in shreds, and you people will be deluding yourselves with this mantra of “family affair”. But I can assure you that the family is scattering. Many who cannot get shelter under the troubled umblerra, sorry, Umbrella, are running out, searching for alternatives. Yet you hold on to the silly political cliché of “family affair”. You will soon realise how divided this family has become.
Look, don’t ever forget it is all about the struggle for power and resources. It is never received on the platter of gold. So the agitations are expected and they always get resolved at the end of the day.
You do not understand the magnitude of the discord of the crisis. In Adamawa State, the national Chairman is up in arms against the state governor, Murtala Nyako. In Delta, the other old man called E.K Clarke is battling Godsday Orubebe on how to control a wing of the party. In Edo, the Ogbemudia camp does not see eye-to-eye with the Anenih faction; in Ekiti State, the Ayo Fayose camp is racking apart the party and they are tearing each other down. In Rivers State, the battle royale keeps changing phases as the G U Ake faction tugs at the imposed surrogate Obua faction. In the rest of the South West, the PDP machine is howling with pains and a cry for help.
What is more, even at the national level, Gana is ready to teach the old school Chairman, a few tricks and lessons on digital politics. And the old Tukur is grumbling and restrategising for a revenge stroke. Just everywhere, the PDP posits as a House divided against itself. How can it stand?
What you fail to know is that being the party in power, the contention will be much higher than peripheral parties where nothing is actually happening. Let me tell you that the PDP is the brain box of Nigeria’s politics. So that explains why it is the centre of the good, the bad and the ugly.
Hmm, Many people say all they see is the bad and the ugly.
Those are uncharitable people. Tell them to go wear Bola Tinubu’s glasses and they will see clearer the good deed of the party.
You mean even Tinubu is seeing the good works of the PDP?
Fill in the gaps.
(rising tone) Which gap am I filling up? In fact, it is Tinubu and co that are echoing the bad and ugly specters of the PDP. Like most Nigerians, they wonder that for 14 years of PDP rule, the problem of electricity remains an intractable enigma, as if it is rocket science to fix electricity. And that is when the issue has gulped a large chunk of the nation’s resources. It all ends up in grammar session, plenty of explanations and power point efficiency only, while the rest of Nigerians wallow in darkness. Is that the good you want us to see?
You are choosing to describe the bottle as half empty and not half full.
Look, I don’t care what you think, all I can tell you is that the ruling party is generating all the tension in the land. It is heating up the polity with its failure to abide by the rule of law, and adopt the ethos of internal democracy. There is too much arbitrariness in the party. The operational code of the PDP is typically Nigerian. And it explains why Nigeria is as it is
I will remind you of the prophetic declaration of Chief Vincent Ogbulafor few years ago, when he announced that the PDP will rule Nigeria for 60 years. Be sure it was a valid prophecy.
He said that because he was right in the dining hall of the party at the time. Go and ask him now if he will say the same thing. In any case, the truth is that PDP did not inherit Nigeria from the military. And it cannot therefore exercise ownership of the country with such reckless flourish as we see everyday. Their fall will be the rise of an alternative. And that is not far from the mark.
You prophet of doom! We reject that proclamation IJN. You will see. We own the system. And the system know its owner. They will not run parallel.