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Ibori, Odili: 60 Niger Delta Groups Spoil For War

Ibori, Odili: 60 Niger Delta Groups Spoil For War

Hit FG Over EFCC
by Akanimo Sampson,
Port Harcourt

OVER 60 civil society organisations in Nigeria's oil and gas region, under the platform of the Niger Delta Civil society Coalition, NDCSC, are currently spoiling for war over an alleged ''kid-glove'' handling of the cases of the past governors of the region suspected to have looted public funds. Some of the well known cases are those of Chief James Ibori, and Dr. Peter Odili, all immediate past governors of Delta and Rivers states respectively.

The coalition Chairman, Anyakwee Nsirimovu, said in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Friday, ''NDCSC wishes to express its outrage at the attempts by sections of those with
constitutional responsibility for the administration of justice in the country in using the slogan of rule of law to inflict injustice on the generality of Nigerians through weakening efforts by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to bring guilty
treasury looters to justice''.

''We note with dismay that whilst the EFCC, in spite of obvious odds, has courageously championed an unprecedented drive to bring looters of our treasury to justice, the Minister of justice and Attorney General of Nigeria has paradoxically helped looters to avoid justice by frustrating and scuttling EFCC efforts using a selective application of rule of law
as a subterfuge. NDCSC believes that rule of law must not only be applied to protect those involved in corruption, but also to ensure that such people are brought to book'', they added.

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In this respect, the coalition said they are particularly concerned about the reported role played by the Attorney General in the on going London court case involving one of the
past governors of the Niger Delta states alleged to have amassed wealth capable providing excellent health care and education for most of the Niger Delta states. ''This approach negates the Federal Government’s position on zero tolerance for corruption. It not only
diminishes and embarrasses us as a people but cast the nation in bad light in the civilized world besides rubbishing Nigeria’s efforts against corruption. Facts abound that instead of the immediate past officials ruling us, they callously ruined us through bad governance while they corruptly enriched themselves. Impunity was the name of their rule'', NDCSC said.

''To compound the trend started by Attorney General'', they went on, ''we are equally outraged by the spate of exparte injunctions that have in effect elevated certain
persons accused of corruption to a position above the law. We find it unjustifiable that whilst even by the constitutional immunity granted serving Governors they could be investigated but not prosecuted whilst serving, injunctions are now being granted at random barring investigations of these governors after they have left office''.

As a group, NDCSC says it believes that corruption poses a major challenge to good governance and the attainment of enduring peace in the Niger Delta and those charged with the administration of justice must also be seen to be acutely involved in the fight against corruption, adding, we want to believe that the Attorney General and those judges involved are aware of the co-relation between corruption and destitution and violence in the Niger

For the coalition, ''protecting the corrupt is certainly against public good and especially detrimental to the interest of the Niger Delta. The Nigerian government must therefore reassure us by rebuilding our confidence in the government as we feel she is not doing enough to keep our confidence''.

According to them, ''since his appointment, his utterances and actions has not left most people in doubt about his determination to destroy EFCC and the anti-corruption war.
Currently, tension is building in the Niger Delta region as the people are unanimous that those who have worsened our woes should be brought to justice.

We therefore, call on the relevant agencies to take steps to stem the tide of hindering the fight against corruption. Not only should the national Judicial Council take appropriate judicial sanctions against the obvious misuse of injunctions in the regard, but considering the corrupt antecedents of the beneficiaries of these injunctions, ICPC should commence appropriate investigations. We equally feel that the Attorney General having lost considerable public in the corruption war should, at best, be reassigned''.


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