Okigbo Report: CNPP Asks Jonathan To Sack Attorney General

Source: EMMA UCHE - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, August 15, (THEWILL) - The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, (CNPP) today asked President Goodluck Jonathan to sack the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister for Justice, Mr. Mohammed Bello Adoke over his announcement that the Okigbo Probe Report is missing. The report contained the complicity of some high government officials in the missing oil windfall fund during the military regime of General Ibrahim Babangida.

The umbrella opposition political parties in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Osita Okechukwu in Abuja, also bemoaned the ‘near total eclipse of anti-corruption war within the 100 days of the present government of President Jonathan.

The CNPP said it is most ignoble and quite reprehensible that the Attorney General would barefacedly pronounce the Okigbo report missing without regard to the implication of such statement in the polity currently.

Mr. Adoke according to Okechukwu has surreptitiously reignited the ignoble era of the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondooka, who embarked on a slothful journey of withdrawing high profile corruption cases.

"It is appalling to note that Mr. President did not query the AGF, who is now more interested in covertly withdrawing graft charges against those already standing trial in the courts; thus frustrating anti-graft agencies. Can you imagine an AGF who unprofessionally and unashamedly publicly declared the Okigbo Report missing with scant regard to its implication? This is a sad pointer to the level of commitment of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to the anti-graft war", he said.

The opposition further listed corruption related cases that have been withdrawn by Adoke; "To mention a few, just recently, there were reports that the AGF has withdrawn charges against 11 persons standing trial in the Vaswani brothers N2.5 billion import fraud case. While we are yet to understand the rationale behind that action amidst bribery allegations against some government officials, a report in ThisDay newspaper last week also indicate that the AGF has begun the process of withdrawing criminal charges against about 12 officials standing trial over the N5.2 billion National Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC fraud case.

"This is in addition to his earlier reported order to Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo to stop the prosecution of Kenny Martins over the PEF fraud case. The Halliburton, where ex-president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is fingered, is among the scam list of those to benefit from Mr. Adoke's soft-landing as the list continues to grow.

"As such, it is obvious that the Hon AGF is certainly a replica of disgraced Chief Aondoakaa and would rather bring the nation's anti-graft war to a complete stop if allowed to continue like this. This is a total deviation from the assurance given by President Jonathan to Nigerians and the international community while he was striving to find his feet in government.

"If the on-going spate of withdrawal of charges against those standing trial for corruption is not the agenda of President Jonathan administration, he should therefore sack or remove the AGF from that office before Nigeria loses the trust of the international community on this matter," he stated.

However Okechukwu CNPP "is outraged that 100 days of President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime, witnessed total stoppage of the anti-graft war, hence Mr. President looks the other way; while Adoke arrogantly uses his privileged position in government to shield and provide questionable soft landing to the corrupt in the country.

"We have however come to the painful conclusion that the chief law officer of the nation is in an unholy alliance with President Jonathan; otherwise how can he unguardedly toe the ignoble line of his predecessor, Chief Mike Aondoakaa who’s every action in office was to frustrate diligent prosecution of corruption cases, without query.

"The CNPP believes that the quick dispensation of justice in the various cases already filed or being investigated by the various anti-graft agencies should be of utmost concern and top priority of any serious and transparent government and indeed the AGF, rather than the present situation where people that should be serving jail terms have found solace and shield in the office of the AGF, said Okechukwu.

Consequently, the group challenged President Jonathan to as a matter of urgent national importance re-arm the EFCC, ICPC and other anti-graft agencies and revive the war against corruption; without which all his efforts to improve the supply of electricity, revamp the Niger Delta and halt gross unemployment will remain pipe dreams.

"We also wish to suggest that henceforth, government should do proper background check on senior members of the bar to be appointed to the exalted office of AGF to ensure that they are not people that have been defending those standing trial for corruption. Doing so would avert a situation where they turn the AGF office as an umbrella for the protection of their former clients", the CNPP statement added.