Lagos lawyer and human rights activist, Chief Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offences Commission (ICPC) to charge former Aviation Minister – Stella Oduah – to court over the N255 million bullet-proof cars purchase fraud.
Specifically, the fiery lawyer asked the anti-graft agencies to take up the challenge by President Goodluck Jonathan by bringing her to book in order to convince Nigerians that they were up to the task of fighting corruption and other economic and financial crimes in the country.
The president had on Wednesday charged the anti-graft bodies to prove their strength by showing evidence of their fight against corruption in order to silence critics that they were not living up to expectations.
In a statement made available to journalists yesterday, the legal luminary also noted that in spite of the belated removal of Oduah as Aviation Minister for official corruption and abuse of office, Mr. Jonathan had made a strong case that the war against official graft had not been abandoned.
He stated: “Both anti-graft bodies should rise to the occasion by taking the President’s challenge seriously. Therefore, they should renew the war against corruption by charging the former Aviation Minister to court for corrupt practices having been indicted by a presidential panel, the House of Representatives, the Bureau of Public Procurement and the EFCC which investigated the illegal purchase of the bullet-proof cars.
“As a matter of urgency, all the cases filed against the Aviation Ministry by those who refused to pay the dirty bribes demanded from them should to be reviewed with a view to settling them out of court.”
Hailing the decision of the president to remove the former minister from office as well as the purported sack of his Chief of Staff, Mike Oghiadomhe, Falana said: “Coupled with the removal of the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe and the lawless Rivers State Police Commissioner, Mr. Joseph Mbu it is safe to assume that the administration is now determined to put an end to the culture of impunity in the country.
“In particular, the administration deserves commendation for disgracing some unpatriotic elements, who have recklessly diverted public attention from the grave allegations of misconduct, by alleging that Ms Oduah was a victim of ethnic bias or petty jealousy.
“The reaction of the federal government to the popular demand for removal of Ms Oduah from the Federal Executive Council is a welcome development. It has confirmed that the collective resolve and vigilance on the part of the Nigerian people the fight against official corruption will remain a mirage.
“In view of the fact that corruption, executive lawlessness and impunity are on the ascendancy in Nigeria, the federal government can no longer treat the menace of corruption as a matter of perception. It is reality which has to be recognized and addressed by the Goodluck Jonathan administration”, Falana said.