Human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome has criticised the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government over publication of looters’ list.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had a week ago released the list.
Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, told Sun that the people whose names are on the list have been in court and that the Federal Government has not been able to prove their cases.
He said, “In any case, many of these people whose names were contained in the list already have their cases in court.
“These are people that the same government filed charges against and they have not been able to prove any of the charges, some of them going to three years now.
“It is the same government through the EFCC, ICPC or police that is always asking for adjournment. So, what they are trying to do by doing this is to acquiesce the judiciary by painting the people corrupt so that the judge will say, ‘well, the executive has already said the people are corrupt so let us find a way to jail them at all costs.’
“So, it shows that they have maximum disrespect for the rule of law and for the judicial process, which they themselves indicated has commenced. But we are going to take some actions against Lai Mohammed and the Federal Government.
“Some of them will be contempt proceedings and some will be defamation action, because until a court of law proves a person guilty, you can never call him a looter as they have done to many Nigerians.
“Everything they have done is what we call red herring, a diversionary tactics to divert the attention of suffering Nigerians from the woeful failure of this government.
“This government has failed on all indices; it’s a government that has made deep corruption its cradle rather than anti-corruption. This is the most corrupt government in Nigeria since the Lugardian amalgamation on January 1, 1914. This government has encouraged insecurity; a government that sponsors the kidnap of its own citizens just to make a point of being able to get the same citizens released but after the payment of ransom; a government that does not obey court orders and the rule of law; a government that approves the expenditure of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), the same ECA which one of their promoters had gone to court against about four years ago and it was declared illegal. But the government is approving the expenditure of $1 billion from it supposedly to fight Boko Haram, which they said they had defeated since December 2015, without any appropriation by the National Assembly.
“Under Sections 58 and 59 of the Constitution, only the National Assembly can appropriate the expenditure of money paid into the federation account under Section 162 of the constitution.
“So, what the government is telling us is that they want to spend an average of N1 billion everyday for the next one year, which is $1 billion to fight Boko Haram that they said they had defeated.
“This is a government that has failed on everything including the economy, where Nigeria’s economy today is in shamble. Both the World Bank and the IMF have rated the economy as nose-diving and the Transparency International has rated Nigeria as being one of the most corrupt countries in the world today.”
“They did not name the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, who was indicted by a panel set up by the president himself and headed by the vice president.
“They could not see anything wrong with all the other scandals like the Mainagate, Barugate and the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) gate. That is why the list they released is a laughable one that nobody in the country has believed.
“Go online and you will see that everybody is laughing at the government because they have not removed the log from their eyes.”