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CHARGE FAROUK LAWAN, OTEDOLA FOR ALLEGED BRIBERY- HURIWA TASKS AGF

By Emmanuel Onwubiko
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HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS' ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] has tasked the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke [SAN] to immediatelly commence prosecution of the member of the Federal House of Representatives and former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on the N1.4Trillion alleged fuel subsidy scam Mr. Farouk Lawan for alleged acceptance of $620,000 as bribe to clear the Lagos businessman Mr. Femi Otedola of alleged involvement of his firms in the fuel subsidy scam last year. The Pro-Democracy civil society group also asked the Federal Attorney General to also charge the Lagos based business mogul for allegedly offering the said bribe to the discredited Chairman of the defunct Ad-Hoc commiittee on fuel subsidy scam-Mr. Lawan.

In a statement jointly authorized by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Director of Media Affairs Miss. Zainab Yusuf, the HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS' ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA [HURIWA] said it was a huge embarassment that an alleged bribery of such monumental proportion involving high profile legislator and a frontline business executive was exposed and the principal characters indicted for the said alleged bribe-for-clearance even went to the extent of making public statement accepting their extent of involvement in the scam but yet the Federal Government through the office of the Federal Attorney General and the hierarchy of the Nigeria Police Force have for close to one year failed to institute prosecution against these persons to serve as deterrent to other would- be alleged bribe -givers and bribe- takers. HURIWA said the action of the Federal Government to unduly delay the prosecution of persons indicted for bribery has unduly exposed Nigeria as a nation whose government fundamentally condone and promote corruption and economic crimes.

HURIWA further asked the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mr. Bello Mohammed Adoke [SAN] to transparently issue public statement explaining to Nigerians and the international community why the Nigerian Government is shielding the high profile Nigerians including the national legislator and the Clerk of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc committee on fuel subsidy scandal who were implicated in the highly celebrated bribery scam just as the Rights group wants the Federal Attorney General to clarify whether the investigative report conducted on the alleged bribery scam in which the police authority allegedly made prima facie case of alleged bribery against the Federal House of Represntatives member Mr. Farouk Lawan was actually presented to his office since August last year without the office of the Federal Attorney General taking immediate legal action to bring the perpetrators to trial before the competent court of law.

According to HURIWA; "We use this medium to ask the Federal Attorney General to clarify the report by a national media that the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters had since August last Year presented a copy of the police investigation on the alleged bribery scam involving Mr. Farouk Lawan and the alleged bribe giver Mr. Femi Otedola and indeed drafted charges against the House of Representatives member for modification and immediate action by the office of the Federal Attorney General but for close to six months neither has the office of the Federal Attorney General commenced prosecution of the duo nor made public statement on why it has taken so long without any legal action instituted against these persons named in the bribery scandal that brought international opprobrium to the international image of Nigeria".

The Rights group stated thus; "Constitutionally, it is the primary duty of the Government to eradicate all corrupt practices and therefore it is shocking that even though these prominent Nigerians were named and shamed for the alleged bribe offer and acceptance but for nearly a year neither has the police traced the bribe money nor have the alleged culprits being brought before the competent court of law for prosecution in line with the due process of the law. The Fedral Government must end this vicious circle of well -coordinated cover up of corruption involving high profile Nigerians. We must take the issue of fight against corruption and bribery seriously before corruption strangulate and destroy Nigeria."