Once More We Call For Real Rule Of Law On The $2.1 Billion Arms Procurement Alleged Scam

By Emmanuel Onwubiko

We have continued to read revelations directly or indirectly emanating from the current prosecution of certain erstwhile top officials in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and we once more express our belief that the most constructive prosecutorial methodology to follow to get to the roots of the entire matter is for the relevant law enforcement authorities to follow the precepts, tenets and principles of rule of law and avoid playing to the gallery. The court of law must not be impeded or intimidated through back hand tactics to reach a predetermined verdict based on the choreographed propaganda being played up using the media by EFCC.

Under our laws especially the constitution which is the supreme law section 6 states that only the courts have the judicial powers of the federation and section 36(5) states as follow;

Every person who is charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty:

provided that nothing in this section shall invalidate any law by reason only that the law imposes upon any such person the burden of proving particular facts.

Specifically, talking about the acceptance by Mr. President that he indeed got a replacement of his damaged SUV with an armored SUV from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA), right thinking Nigerians should ask the following questions:

· The entitlement to former Heads of state of their cars and or other privileges is that the role of the NSA and why is the SGF or finance ministry not the agency to so handle that and why was the privileges extended from the expenditures of NSA office which coordinates counter terrorism activities? Why cite a military decree to justify the acceptance of the SUV and did the military decree now adopted by the presidency to justify the acceptance of the SUV make provision for the NSA as the right, legal and acceptable agency or office to dispense that function?

· What about the circumstances of the entire scenario of giving and acceptance of the SUV and did those who made the military decree long before the coming of the current democratic dispensation aware or did they possess prophetic gifts to know that a time like this will come when terrorists will begin attacking Nigerians and that a law like the Terrorism prevention Act of 2013 will then be created to now make for the office of NSA to assume the role of the dispenser of the presidential privileges to all former Heads of state?

These are questions begging for answer and the way the whole scenario of the alleged $2.1 USD billion scam is developing, it is possible that those being charged now may not get fair trial since there is already an atmosphere or climate of mutual suspicions/brickbats/verbal warfare between the Head of the executive Arm of government, who controls the office of EFCC that is the prosecutor and the Nigerian citizens accused and charged for these alleged offences. We hereby call for the United NATIONS Human Rights Council and African Union to send monitors to monitor the prosecution so there would be fairness.

We run the imminent danger of falling into the category discussed by the Editors of the book Fragile Peace; State Failure, Violence And Development In Crisis Region whereby they used Guatemala as a perfect example of a precarious democracy thus:

“Guatemala already meets the minimal formal criteria for a democracy with regard to free and fair elections (Dahl 1971). But insofar as the democratization of a society implies not only the establishment of an electoral democracy but the actual transformation of power relationships in society, the process is far from completed. The weakness of democratic actors, the ineffectiveness of political parties and the continued adherence to a code of authoritarian values and practices have in effect caused a stagnation of the democratization process and a loss of direction. The institutional and legal framework of the country follows basic democratic criteria, but the political culture that social and political actors bring with them to the system remains largely influenced by authoritarian outlook. The result is dyfunctionality, ambiguity and recurrent political crisis. In other words, we have the hardware of democracy, but operate it with the software of authoritarianism.”