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EFCC List: Some Alleged Suspects Who Are At Large For Various Reasons

 

Allison obanikoro

 …Once rich and powerful leaders but now in hiding
They can’t escape charges, presidential adviser, Itse Sagay, others warn

From ADE ALADE, ABUJA

UNTIL about a year ago, most of them were in charge in the real sense of the word and in Nigerian context. Their words were powerful and their signatures smacked of au­thority. With their retinue of aides, they moved around in convoys, heavily guarded by security agents. Today, all that have vanished. Sud­denly, yesterday’s men of power and influence, who issued orders to law enforcement agents are flee­ing from the same agents who were once at their beck and call. In short, they are men and women who wielded enormous powers under the administration of former Presi­dent Goodluck Jonathan but today are hiding in far away countries to avoid encounters with the Eco­nomic and Financial Crimes Com­mission, EFCC, which had leveled allegations of corruption against some of them.

Top on the list of the fleeing top­shots are former ministers, presi­dential aides and power brokers. Virtually all of them have been put­ting up arguments in self-defence, from their comfort zones in other jurisdictions. They also justify their continued stay abroad under differ­ent pretences ranging from health issues to pursuit of higher educa­tion and many more.

These men include former At­torney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Moham­med Bello Adoke, his counterparts in the Petroleum Ministry, Diezani Allison-Madueke, Defence Min­istry, Musiliu Obanikoro. Others include notable presidential aides such as former Special Adviser on Presidential Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku, former Director of Special Duties in the Office of the National Security Adviser, Col. Bello Fadile and a former Chair­man of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, Abdulrasheed Maina as well ex-militant leader and power broker, Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a Tompolo), former governor of Bauchi State and PDP National Chairman, Ad­amu Mu’azu and former governor of Jigawa State, Saminu Turaki among others.

To further justify their decision not to honour invitations already extended to them by the EFCC, most of these men on the run have accused the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari of prosecuting a selective anti-graft war and deliberately targeting top officials and friends of former President Jonathan.

Fielding questions on what government should do to these Nigerians, Chairman, Presiden­tial Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Prof. Itse Sagay disclosed that efforts are ongoing to extradite and make them face trial.

“My belief and those of the other committee members is that these people have cases to answer, and they should not be allowed to escape justice. The Federal Government should start the process of extraditing them from the countries where they are taking refuge with public loot. There should be no hiding place for these people because they have committed economic crime against the people.

“Our position is that these refu­gee looters should be brought back to Nigeria. The Federal Gov­ernment should seek their extradi­tion from wherever they are hid­ing. They have a case to answer, and they should come home to answer charges against them.

However, it is the responsibil­ity of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to seek the ex­tradition of these people and I be­lieve steps are being taken in that regard”, Prof Sagay stated.

SATURDAY SUN in this story presents the powerful men and women of yesteryears who have refused to turn themselves in to anti-graft and law enforcement agencies investigating various allegations against them. Rather than surrender themselves for probe, they have chosen to flee the country and hide in foreign lands hoping and praying that the cup will miraculously pass over them.

MOHAMMED BELLO ADOKE

Adoke is the immediate past AGF and Minister of Justice. A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, he was appointed Nigerian Attorney General and Minister of Justice on 6 April 2010, when the then Acting President Goodluck Jona­than announced his new cabinet. As the Chief Law Officer of the country, he wielded enormous powers, more especially because he had supervisory control over prominent law enforcement agen­cies such as the Independent Cor­rupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA and the EFCC, which are investigating him over graft allegations. Adoke was one of the first set of top officials in the Jonathan administration to flee the country few days after President Muhammadu Buhari took over on May 29, 2015. He has continued to say that he left the country in pursuit of further education in the Netherlands.

As at press time, Adoke has been fingered in at least three major multi-billion dollar deals. They include the $1.2 billion Ma­labo oil payment deal; $2.1 billion arms fund diversion and recently, the alleged diversion of $1.6 bil­lion local government judgment fund. An anti-graft coalition, the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) recently pe­titioned the Economic and Finan­cial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to investigate a court judgment obtained by the 774 local gov­ernment councils in the country, ordering the Federal Government to pay them $3.188billion and the diversion of $1.6 billion.

National Chairman of CSNAC, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, said the group petitioned the anti-graft agency to investigate the activities of the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Ad­oke (SAN); and others mentioned in the alleged fraud.

According to CSNAC’s petition against the judgment in the suit (No FHC/ABJ/129/2013) filed on 11 June, 2013, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, some local councils and Linas International Limited sued the Attorney-General of the Federation, Ministry of Finance and Accountant-General of the Federation over the illegal deduc­tions made by the Federal Govern­ment from the statutory allocations of the local councils. These were in respect, respectively, of the 1992 London Club Debt buy-back and the 2006 London Club Debt exit.

The plaintiffs in the originating summons said that the petition, and claimed the sum of $3.2 bil­lion payable to them from the Fed­eration Account. CSNAC observed that the suit challenged the decision of the Federal Government taken in 1992, when the action was based on the 1999 Constitution, which did not become operational until May 1999. “Besides, the case was filed to challenge the decision taken by the Federal Government 21 years earlier. With respect to the payment of Paris Club debt in 2006, the ac­tion took place seven years earlier.”

Based on some of these allega­tions, the EFCC had summoned Adoke for questioning but the for­mer minister had failed to honour the invitation.

Explaining why he fled the coun­try and had refused to return and­honour EFCC invitation, Adoke said “I find it curious and rather surprising that people say I simply disappeared from the scene. While I was in office, as far back as 2014, I made up my mind that whether or not President Goodluck Jonathan won the election and continue in office, I would return to school. This is to enable me deepen my knowledge of Public International Law. This is also because I was elected into the International Law Commission where my tenure will end in December 2016.

“So, it is not correct to say I dis­appeared from Nigeria. On June, 2, 2015, I went with my wife and chil­dren to Dubai for a short vacation and thereafter, I resumed school at the University of Laden, in The Hague where I have since com­menced an intensive Advanced LLM programme in Public Inter­national Law with specialization in International Criminal Law. So, to that extent, you are meeting me here at The Hague. This is where I live at the moment. I am undergo­ing the programme, which is for a period of one year. As soon as the programme ends on August 26, I will head back to Nigeria. Let me state emphatically, I am not run­ning away from Nigeria.”

Reacting to why he has failed to honour the EFCC summon, Adoke said he smelt persecution. His words: “the invitation from the EFCC actually came sometime in November about the time I was preparing to write my first semester exams. I got a call from my former Senior Special Assistant who said to me that the EFCC wrote to the Permanent Secretary to invite me to come and see them. That again was a bit curious because I was no longer a public officer. So, they had no basis to write to the Ministry of Justice to ask me to report to them.

“As curious as that sounded, I got in touch with my lawyer Ad­eoke Aina and asked him to write to the EFCC that I was writing my exams, commencing December 7 to 17, that I had other things to tidy up and that I would see them on December 28. Immediately after my exams and after tidying up what I had to do, I traveled through Dubai and I was preparing to honour the EFCC invitation on December 27. Then I got an anon­ymous phone call from somebody who said ‘Your Honour, I work with the EFCC, I don’t know you and you don’t know me. But I am a man who has the fear of God in me. There is a plan and a conspira­cy that is being orchestrated based on the prompting and instigation of Mohammed Sani Abacha, one Lawal Abba, working as an agent of Atiku Abubakar, to make sure that the EFCC indicts, detains, embarrasses you and prevents you from going back to your school.’

Based on this concern, it is ob­vious he may not be in a hurry to visit Nigeria anytime soon.

DIEZANI ALLISON-MADUEKE

Diezani K. Alison-Madueke was born into a royal family in oil rich Bayelsa State. She hit the lime­light in 2007 when she was first appointed a minister. Since then, her initial ‘K’ which stands for her middle name can conveniently pass for controversy. Named Ni­geria’s minister of transportation on 26 July 2007, She was moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008, and in April 2010 was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources and thereafter, the first female President of OPEC. She was elected at the 166th OPEC Ordinary meeting in Vienna on 27 November 2014.

With her close relationship with former President Jonathan, she be­came the most powerful minister in the administration. She equally had the economic life wire of the nation in her hands, rolling in bil­lions of oil dollars. This accounts for why she is the subject of mul­tiple multi-billion dollars fraud investigations not only in Nige­ria, even in the United Kingdom, where she is currently treating cancer.

In October last year, Diezani was arrested in London along with some others by the UK National Crime Agency. Few hours after her arrest in London, EFCC oper­atives raided her Abuja home, lo­cated in the Asokoro district of the federal capital city, and sealed the property, after they recovered ex­pensive jewelries and other items from the building. Since then, the EFCC have been going after some of her associates especially oil ty­coons believed to have fronted for her. One of them is the managing director, Atlantic NLNG drill­ing company, Jide Omokore who was recently arraigned in court. Allison-Madueke was actually named as one of the defendants on the charge sheet until about two weeks ago when her name and that of another suspect, Kolawale Akane were removed because they are still at large. Besides, the Nigerian government has already commenced the legal process for a worldwide seizure of the assets of two of her allies, Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko, running into sev­eral billions of dollars.

Though she has not returned to Nigeria to face the numerous graft allegations against her, she has nevertheless been speaking up to defend herself against her alleged stigmatization as a corrupt official. While reacting to a story by an in­ternational television channel that she procured her Abuja mansion allegedly valued at $18million and jewelries worth $2m from monies she stole while in office, she said she was only being portrayed in bad light to prepare the ground for her persecution.

In a statement, the ex-minister accused the Qatar-based media organization and the EFCC of un­professionalism. She alleged that the story was meant to tarnish her reputation and amounted to giving “a dog a bad name in order to hang it.”

“My attention has been drawn to a report by Al Jazeera, which was released on Monday as a testament to the effectiveness of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in its war against corruption,” she wrote.

“In the video report, which has been widely circulated in the so­cial media, there are claims about me owning a property in Abuja allegedly worth $18 million. The report, which represents every­thing ridiculous and despicable about professional media practice and global best practices in the war against corruption, is the latest at­tempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it.”

She wondered why she was be­ing painted as a “common crimi­nal” in the media despite not being convicted her for any crime.

She added that the display of the jewelries was made to feed on the notion that all wealthy Nigerians are corrupt. “This will not be the first time calculated attempts have been made to demonize and dam­age my reputation in the public space. Many times, my detrac­tors had gotten away with these irresponsible smear campaigns because they have become ac­customed to my characteristic approach of silence in the face of these callous attacks.

“The latest in the string of pro­paganda attacks launched against my person since I left government as Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister is this Al Jazeera report, which with­out any court conviction anywhere in the world attempts to dress Die­zani Alison Madueke in the garb of a common criminal.

“This, to say the least, is the height of journalistic brigandage and a sheer mockery of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war before the eyes of the world who are watch­ing and asking if the war against corruption is a circus show where suspects are prosecuted and sen­tenced on the pages of newspapers and video blogs without anything as remotely in the semblance of a trial in the courts of law,” the for­mer minister said.

She wondered when owning properties and jewelries became a crime in the country.

Reeling out a list of her academ­ic qualifications and professional career, she said she worked hard over the years to live an affluent life.

“When did it become a crime to own a property in Nigeria? When did it become a crime for a woman of my status to have in her possession, jewelry? Jew­elry, which women all across the world, including the woman sell­ing tomatoes in Bodija market have in abundance in their closets? In which court of law, anywhere in the world was I prosecuted by the EFCC and found guilty of cor­ruption? With all sense of modesty, I say this only for posterity and for the records. I have strived within my means and the blessings of God to live a decent and accomplished life.”

With her fears over alleged plot to persecute her, even if she recovers fully from cancer today, it is pretty tough to guess if she will ever return to Nigeria to face trial.

MUSILIU OLATUNDE OBANIKORO

Obanikoro (popularly known as Koro) has a rich political career. He served as Senator for Lagos State from 2003–2007, and was later appointed High Commissioner to Ghana. He served as the Minister of State for Defence under the Jona­than administration. He was Presi­dent Jonathan’s point man in Lagos and indeed the South West during the 2015 general elections. He al­legedly coordinated security opera­tions and movement of billions of funds for election purposes. He left the country soon after President Bu­hari took over under the guise of go­ing for further studies in the US. He has since completed the programme but has refused to return home like others.

Though he has since relocated to the United States where he holds honorary citizenship of Glenarden, Maryland and Little Rock, Arkan­sas. He has been under investiga­tions along with his two sons; Ba­bajide and Gbolahan over alleged graft charges. The two sons are also currently outside the country. The trio is wanted by the EFCC after it traced N4.75bn to a company, Syl­van McNamara Limited, in which Obanikoro’s sons allegedly have interest. The former minister has also been accused of moving over N1.2bn in cash to Akure, Ondo state to fund the governorship election of Mr Ayo Fayose in Ekiti in 2014.

This led the EFCC operatives to storm Obanikoro’s house, lo­cated at Layi Ajayi Bembe Street in Parkview Estate, Ikoyi, where they recovered documents and vehicles last month. Both Gbolahan and Babajide Obanikoro, sources dis­closed, as directors of the company, were also signatories to its account until 2014 when one Olalekan Ogunseye was made the sole signa­tory to the account. EFCC sources disclosed that the payments to the company from the office of the NSA, Sambo Dasuki, were made without any contract.

Though he has vowed not to hon­our his invitation for questioning by the EFCC, daring the Nigerian gov­ernment to seek his extradition from the US, the ex-minister has howev­er been defending him from time to time. Denying all allegations made against him by the EFCC, Oban­ikoro has alleged that the agency has manufactured evidence in order to nail him. The one-time Lagos gu­bernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a state­ment by his media aide, Mr. Jona­than Eze, recently, while reacting to a report on his involvement in the N.4.7bn allegedly transferred from the imprest account of the Office of the National Security Adviser into his sons’ company account, Sylvan McNamara, said the government was getting too desperate to nail him.

The statement partly read, “Recall that when the EFCC il­legally raided my houses in La­gos, they went away with various documents which included blank signed letter headed papers as testified in the Affidavit sworn in the Court.

“It has however come to my notice that the EFCC has alleg­edly written an acknowledge­ment on one of the documents purportedly used as evidence that I collected the equivalent sum of $1m in cash from a Bureau de Change and signed for it.

“This is another lie from the pit of hell. How can anybody change money from a Bureau De Change and sign for it? I still insist that throughout my stints as Minis­ter, I never collected any money from any Bureau De Change and as such, I urge the public to ig­nore the EFCC who are trying to skew investigations in its favour.

“The EFCC has obviously be­trayed public trust by its latest sinister plan of manufacturing re­ceipt in my name. Instead of gen­uinely carrying out its mandate, it has been grossly overshadowed by political wiles.”

It is not in doubt that Senator Obanikoro will not willingly re­turn to Nigeria for further probe and possibly prosecution because he has not minced words that he will not.

ADAMU MU’AZU

Muazu is a former governor of Bauchi State, and a past national chairman of the PDP. Mu’azu resigned from his position in May 2015, following pressures on him by the party stakeholders to va­cate his office, as a result of the party’s dismal performance in the March 28, 2015 presidential elec­tion.

Checks revealed that the former PDP national chairman shuttles between his residence in Dubai and a London hospital for treat­ment of an undisclosed ailment.

As the EFCC continues to un­ravel names of PDP stalwarts who benefitted from alleged di­version of $2.1 billion arms fund into the party’s presidential campaign, Mu’azu has been men­tioned in the alleged disbursement by former governor of old Anam­bra state, Jim Nwobodo.

While denying that he collected money from the embattled former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, Nwobodo in several me­dia reports said he only received N100 million, alongside 15 lead­ers of PDP in the South East at the residence of Muazu. He is how­ever yet to return home to answer charges.

KINGSLEY KUKU

Kuku was a Special Adviser to former President Jonathan on Niger Delta Affairs and the Chair­man of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. He was one of those who left the country soon after President Buhari took over. He has however, insisted that he only travelled to the US on medical grounds.

The EFCC had in July last year summoned Kuku, for question­ing over alleged embezzlement and fraudulent diversion of funds running into hundreds of millions of Naira in the amnesty office. Though the EFCC has been un­yielding in providing details of the allegations against the former presidential aide, there have been concerns that the amnesty pro­gramme of the last administration was fraught with corruption.

When Mr. Kuku was given July 28, 2015, to appear before the EFCC, he requested that he be allowed to honour the invitation on September 30. A letter by Mr. Kuku’s lawyers to the EFCC said the former presidential aide was undergoing surgery on one of his knees.

“Our client is currently in the United States of America to, keep appointment with his doctors at the Andrew Sports, medicine and ‘Orthopedic Centre LLC for sur­gery on one of his knees.

“He is expected back in Nigeria at the end of September, 2015 af­ter the surgery and recuperation,” the letter, dated July 24, stated. The lawyers assured that Mr. Kuku would report to the EFCC as a “law abiding citizen” by 10.am on September 30. Rather than did as he promised, he has continued to seek protection from the courts and has since been at large.

In one of his recent denials of fraud allegations against him, Kuku denied ever disbursing over N1 trillion in the two weeks pre­ceding the last presidential elec­tion. A recent media report said that the wife of the former presi­dent, Patience Jonathan may soon be invited by the EFCC to explain her role in the sourcing and dis­bursement of the funds spent by the Presidency. The fund, esti­mated at over a trillion naira, was reportedly routed and disbursed through the Amnesty Office to some notable politicians in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Kuku, who was the chairman of the Amnesty Programme, said the alleged investigation by the anti-graft agency into the funds was another calculated attempt to smear his name.

Speaking through his media aide, Yemi Akintomide in Akure, Kuku said with the new move, it was clear enough that the EFCC was too much in a hurry to nail him on corruption charges through media trials, even when he has not appeared before the agency’s investigators.

His words “I continue to won­der why the anti-graft agency would resort to unholy media campaigns and trials to nail me on corruption charges purportedly brought against me through yet-to-be investigated petitions said to be written against my person and former office.

“If not driven by great misgiv­ings, how could they come up with such grievous and wicked report about my person; but para­phrasing my identity, which clear­ly reveal the deliberate attempt by EFCC to link me with the so-called election funds.

“The EFCC in its new trade, has thrown up another huge fig­ure of one trillion naira election funds just to play on the sensibil­ity of Nigerians, which in reality is just a figment of imagination of the anti-graft agency. How in God’s name can an anti-graft agency want Nigerians to believe its newly unveiled huge fraud of N1 trillion in the hand of a single Nigerian when in actual fact, the whole budget for 2015 was a little above N4 trillion. So, where did the N1 trillion come from two months into the new fiscal year?

“Or how would you explain the statement credited to opera­tives of EFCC that my failure to return to the country has slowed down investigations of how the funds were sourced and disbursed because I allegedly disbursed the bulk of the money, which was not part of the funds allocated to Am­nesty office.

“During the period, as an aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, my schedule of duty has nothing to do with the person or office of wife to the President or any leader of the ruling PDP. It is limited to managing the welfare package for over 30,000 ex-agitators from the nine states of Niger-Delta as stip­ulated in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP.)”

Kuku reiterated his readiness to return home as soon as his doctors give him a clean bill of health as he recuperates from a major knee surgery in the USA. He promised to honour the invitation of the EFCC as soon as he returned to the Country.

Though he made the promise to return to answer charges against him for the umpteenth time, it is very much unlikely that he will fulfill that promise any time soon, at least not during the Buhari ad­ministration.

GOVERNMENT EKPEMUPOLO (Tompolo)

Government Ekpemupolo is a former militant commander of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND). For years, Ekpemupolo joined forces with various guerrilla groups in the Niger Delta, which were all agitating against the insensitivity of the Federal Government and the international oil companies to­wards the exploitation and degra­dation of the region. Ekpemupo­lo’s wealth- derived mainly from oil bunkering, played a major role in funding both MEND and also his own fighters. He however, embraced amnesty on October 4th 2009, in order to allow for peace in the area for the govern­ment and the oil companies to carry out development projects in the region as promised.

Though not a public office holder under the Jonathan admin­istration, he however, wielded enormous powers and influence as one of the power brokers in that regime.

According to the EFCC which has since declared him wanted, the 47-year-old Tompolo is want­ed in a case of conspiracy, illegal diversion of the sum of N34, 000,000,000 (Thirty Four Bil­lion Naira) and N11, 900,000,000 (Eleven Billion, Nine Hundred Million Naira) totaling N47.9 billion belonging to the Nige­rian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.

Tompolo who hails from Oke­renkoko, Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West LGA of Delta State is believed to be the master­mind of the renewed militancy in the oil rich region following his refusal to honour EFCC invita­tions and court summons. A Fed­eral High Court sitting in Lagos had issued two bench warrants, for Tompolo’s arrest.

Beside the graft charges pend­ing against him, Tompolo is also top on the wanted list of security agents battling a new militant group in the creeks, Niger Delta Avengers over suspicion that the new group is his brainchild. He has however, denied any links with the group. He has equally denied involvement in the alleged N34 billion frauds in NIMASA. The denial was contained in one of his many recent open letters to President Buhari.

He said, “The truth of the mat­ter is that I do not know anything about the 34 billion naira EFCC is talking about. First, it was 13-bil­lion naira (N13bn) issue, now it is 34 billion naira (N34bn). I am not a signatory to any of the compa­nies mentioned in the said N34bn case, so I do not know where this one is coming from.”

Though there have been specu­lations about his whereabouts, whether he is still hiding in the creeks or he’s fled the country, it is almost certain that he is not going to surrender and face trial willingly. As such, he remains one of the men of yester years who are now on the run from the new sheriff in town.

ABDULRASHEED ABDULLAHI MAINA

Maina is a former Chairman of Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), who remains on the list of persons wanted by the Eco­nomic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for of­fences bordering on procurement fraud and obtaining by false pre­tence.

According to the information uploaded on the EFCC website, Maina is allegedly complicit in the over N2 billion Pensions Biometric Scam in the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation. He remains at large, after charges were filed against his alleged accomplices includ­ing a former Head of Service of the Federation, Steve Orosanye.

Speaking from hiding through his lawyer, Olajide Olaoye this week, Maina disputed the fact that he is wanted by the EFCC for any crime. However, as at press time, his picture and details are still on EFCC website as one of its wanted suspects.

According to his counsel’s statement, “Abdulrasheed Maina is not wanted by the EFCC or any anti-graft agency in the country. We went to court to challenge the impunity with the conducts and practice of the EFCC, which we won. Secondly, and very impor­tant too, the reference to Maina being joined in any suit with the ex-head of service, Mr. Steve Orosanye, who he has so much respect for, is a calculated attempt to hide the truth. On the Orosanye suit, Mr. Maina has repeatedly said he is ready to defend himself given the enabling environment.”

From that, it is obvious that Maina will remain on the run un­til he finds an “enabling environ­ment.”

IBRAHIM SAMINU TURAKI

Turaki is a former governor of Jigawa State and has been on the wanted list of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) since 2011 when he was re-arraigned on a 36-count charge at the Federal High Court, Dutse, Jigawa State over an alleged case of criminal conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and misap­propriation of public funds to the tune of N36 billion.

During the last court hearing of the charge against him on No­vember 13, 2014, Turaki was ab­sent despite a subsisting warrant for his arrest. In May 2016, EFCC operatives stormed the Abuja home of the former senator at 16 Dennis Osadebe Street, Asokoro Abuja, based on intelligence.

The raid was not successful in the operatives’ attempt to ar­rest the former governor, as only members of his family were found at home. When the former governor will surrender himself for trial is as uncertain as his pres­ent whereabouts.

BELLO FADILE

Fadile is a retired Colonel of the Nigeria Army. He was a close confidant of former National Se­curity Adviser, Sambo Dasuki and a Director of Special Duties in the office of the National Secu­rity Adviser, ONSA when Dasuki held sway as NSA.

Messrs Dasuki and Fadile were placed under house arrest by the Department of State Security, DSS in July 2015 after which Da­suki was arrested in connection with alleged $2.1 billion arms fund fraud and has since then remanded in detention following his arraignment in court on fraud charges. Fadile has however, es­caped from the country, with indi­cations he may be in the US.

DSS agents were said to have raided Fadile’s home in Abuja, from where they took away a com­puter hard drive from his personal computer. Though none of the se­curity agencies has declared him wanted or any specific fraud al­legation made against him, he has since remained at large possibly for fear of arrest.

Their escape, a symptom of Nigeria’s weak justice system – Legal experts

The decision of some top of­ficials of the past administration to stay abroad while corruption allegations leveled against them by Nigerian security agencies has been described as a symptom of a weak justice system.

This was the submission of three legal luminaries, Prof Fidelis Odita and Mr Fola Arthur-Worrey who spoke at a public lecture titled “Access to Quality Justice in Nige­ria”, organized by the United Ac­tion for Change (UAC).

According to Odita, one of the problems with the Nigerian justice system is not the access but the “exit from justice.”

He explained that cases take as long as 10 years for common civil procedure to be resolved, adding that other factors hindering justice in the country are; inadequate in­strumental capacity, respect for rule of law, funding, obscurity in the definition of allocation and jurisdiction, reliable and effective appeal system and the speed at which dispute is settled.

Also, Arthur-Worrey who is a former Lagos state Solicitor-Gen­eral, said the escape from Nige­ria by some former ministers and presidential aides is a flaw in the justice system. “If a man that has been duly charged fled the jurisdic­tion of the court or country, there are things you can check, the first is if he will voluntarily report, if not, then you look if the country has an extradition treaty with the country where the man is hiding, if there is extradition treaty then you go to court. It is only the Attorney Gen­eral of the Federation that has the power to file for extradition. It does take long time and a lot of efforts.

“I am not aware that any court can provide protection through an injunction for anybody that is be­ing investigated for corruption. If I apply for an injunction and I was being granted, you have to look into why. If you are talking about injunction that prosecutorial au­thority is restrained from prosecut­ing certain people, I find that as an abuse of judicial power,” he stated.

Like Arthur-Worrey , an associ­ate Professor of Law at the Univer­sity of Lagos, Dr Abiola Sanni said that the former ministers hiding abroad are enjoying weak justice system

“Ideally, if the institution is strong and vibrant, it will be very difficult for people to run away from justice. If the person escapes from the jurisdiction of the law, the law can leverage on interna­tional framework in order to make the person answer the law. The process is slow but it is sure”, he stated.                         The Sun

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