Attorney General's Promise To Review Okigbo Report Leaves IBB Stranded

Source: OUR REPORTER - thewillnigeria.com
PHOTO: NIGERIA'S FORMER MILITARY LEADER, IBRAHIM BABANGIDA.
PHOTO: NIGERIA'S FORMER MILITARY LEADER, IBRAHIM BABANGIDA.
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San Francisco, May 20, (THEWILL) – The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, SAN has assured that a committee would be inaugurated to review all allegations brought against former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida by SERAP, a coalition of civil rights groups in Nigeria.

Gen. Ibrahim Babangida is accused of stealing and mismanaging $12.4 billion US dollars accrued from the crude oil sales during his tenure.

The Dr. Pius Okigbo Report that the group based its petition on indicted the former leader of mismanaging funds accrued to the nation during the first gulf war.

In a letter to the group acknowledging receipt of a signed copy of the Okigbo Report, dated 12th May 2010 with reference number HAGF/PG/2010/Vol1, Adoke said, "I acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 5th May 2010.

"I appreciate your effort in making available a signed copy of the Dr. Pius Okigbo Panel Report, and as appropriate, I shall set up a Committee that will confirm the authenticity of the said report and also review the allegations and recommendations contained therein with a view to ascertaining whether these allegations can sustain a criminal charge.

"While we shall keep you informed of our effort in this regard, I would like to thank you for your concerted effort in sustaining the fight against corruption in our society.," the letter said.

While reacting to Adoke’s letter, the Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Adetokunbo Mumuni, in a statement said, "While we prepare a detailed response to the letter by the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, we would like to welcome the clear commitment of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to prosecute the former military president on the basis of the strong and compelling evidence contained in the Okigbo Report.

"This would also provide effective remedy for the countless victims of high level official corruption in the country. We urge the Honourable Attorney General to involve the civil society and the United Nations in the work of the committee to ensure that justice is not only done but seen to be done. We stand ready to offer full support and assistance to the authorities in the prosecution of suspected perpetrators of the $12.4bn scam."

SERAP had first written Adoke on May 05, 2010, urging him to prosecute Babangida based on the findings of the Okigbo Report but the AG had requested a signed copy of the Okigbo Report thereafter and assured he would take on Babangida if the Report findings indicted the discredited for military leader.

But Babangida in a swift and panicky reaction through his spokesman, Kassim Afegbua said Adoke’s response to the petition was 'unambiguous'.

"What the Attorney General said in his response to the petition is unambiguous; that the government will try to ascertain whether that is the true copy of the Okigbo Report. The whole concept of civil society organizations bringing signed copy(ies) of a Federal Government Report to government raises a lot of curiosity and mischief on the part of the civil societies.

"I have not seen a situation where a government will set up a panel, only for report to be given to it (government) by unknown bodies.

"Despite all the clear cut attempts to rubbish the good name of General Babangida by this gang of sinuous fawns who want to play the 'angelic' role as civil societies, I am yet to find anywhere in the whole wide world where these organizations have rendered account of their own grants from foreign countries in the years of their existence.

"This is our challenge to all of them," Afegbua dared.