* Nigeria is an Ungrateful Country
• Malabu Deal – the Abachas and Atiku connection
• Halliburton had generated so much controversy, I would have been a dumb Attorney
• General to have allowed myself to be corrupted in it
The Buhari administration has been accused by critics of being mindless, directionless and essentially being used to settle political scores with the Goodluck Jonathan administration. The approach of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in prosecuting the anti-corruption crusade has also come under criticisms of recent. It would certainly take a while to unravel some of the behind-the-scene deals that have taken place in government since 1999, but quite a number of troubling revelations are filtering through . While on the team of the Nigerian Bar Association’s Trade Mission to the Netherlands, Jude Igbanoi ran into Nigeria’s former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Bello Adoke, at a Nigerian restaurant at The Hague. Every effort to get the former AGF to talk about his sudden disappearance from Nigeria was futile. Two days later, Adoke who apparently is a regular customer at the restaurant showed up again and this time a last-minute effort to get him to talk about his time in office and sundry allegations against him paid off. Though reluctantly, but the former minister and core member of the Jonathan administration made up his mind to respond to some of the allegations on various online media. A visibly sad and angry Adoke spoke on several issues, including his role in the Halliburton and Malabu Oil controversies
Since the end of your tenure as the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, you simply disappeared from Nigeria. Nothing much has been heard from you and you haven’t been seen anywhere in Nigeria. Where have you been and what have you been doing since you left office?
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 wins the election and continues in office, I would be going back 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 be coming to an 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 specialisation 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 finishes on August 26, I will be heading back straight to Nigeria. Let me state emphatically, I am not running away from Nigeria. I have been in touch with Nigeria and I have had cause to enter Nigeria at least twice after I left Nigeria.
It’s in the news that the EFCC has invited you for questioning over allegations of corrupt practice during your tenure as AGF. Why have you not honoured that invitation?
As far back as 2013, I have had cause to write on my own, personally over the issue of the Malabu oil deal which was generating a lot of ripples stating my own side of the story. I gave them all the necessary documents to show that the transactions were transparently carried out and in the best interest of the country, given the circumstances and history of the case.
As a result of that, the then Chairman of EFCC said he saw nothing wrong with the entire transactions other than a shareholder dispute which was escalated to drag in the names of responsible Nigerians and various stakeholders at the time.
Be that as it may, 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 Special Senior 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 be seeing them on December 28. Immediately after my exams and after tidying up what I had to do, I went 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.’
Having invested so much in my education and looking at the comparative gains, I was going to get from it, I didn’t want my education to be truncated. I therefore decided to exercise caution to investigate the authenticity of this anonymous call. Less than one hour after I got the call and while I was still meditating on what I should do, an online media flashed it ‘AGF Adoke to be arrested tomorrow, detained, charged to court and committed to EFCC detention.’ That sent a trigger.
So, I decided first and foremost to put my thought process together, put my documents together and in the course of doing that, I wrote a letter to the Attorney-General that I found the invitation from the EFCC rather curious, unconventional and rather out of order, considering that the issues they said they want to investigate are issues that are documentary and are issues that I dealt with in my capacity as Attorney-General of the Federation. That if truly the issue is that of clarification, what they should have done is to write to him the sitting AGF asking him to review the entire process that led to the transaction. It is when the current AGF is not satisfied that he can call me. That if after my explanation he is still not satisfied that he can ask the EFCC to continue their investigations.
Considering the unique role the AGF plays constitutionally in the entire legal system, it would be a tragedy for him as AGF to allow the office to be treated with levity by allowing people who have held that office to be subjected to ridicule and humiliation.
Having served in government for five years, I don’t think the first thing is to confront the government, but rather to engage them by trying to make them see reason why state actors act the way they do sometimes, and the underpinning factors for some of the actions they took while in office.
So, I immediately took steps to engage the EFCC, but apparently, positions had been taken, minds had been made up, lies had been told. You know the way corrupt elements use the system to fight their perceived enemies, by first of all making sure that they invade members of our families who have access to us, to make sure that all kinds of lies and vilifications were put out to make one look bad.
One thing I would say is that having served in government, one has to be very careful in the way one processes and deal with information. If one doesn’t have a filtration system, one can easily be misled to be unjust to just persons.
So that is the situation, and it’s not correct to say that I ran away from the country. I made it very clear to the EFCC that I am prepared, willing and ready, but that the time was not convenient. That on the strength and availability of documents before them, which I had supplied to them, which I had also taken steps to copy the President of the Nigerian Bar Association and other prominent Nigerians, they were in a position to evaluate and come to a fair and right conclusion without even my presence.
But unfortunately you know the way these things work. Some of the people that were invited, they will ask them; ‘So how much did you give Adoke?’ One senior colleague who was invited was even asked, ‘How much did you give Adoke?’ That is how cheap they have turned the institutions and we know their reasons.
Some of the transactions in the Malabu oil deal actually predated your tenure as AGF, why in your opinion do you think the deal is now being revisited?
Well, let me tell you that it is not being revisited. The truth is that corruption has a way of fighting back, when you refuse to be part and parcel of the system.
A police officer once said to me ‘Oga, you are too strict. You are unbendable. It is people like you that when you leave office, people will fight. Not because you are a bad man. But because you are too strict; people will think you have stepped on their toes and you may have hurt their interests.’
The fact remains that Nigeria has been an ungrateful country. If Nigerians see things in true perspective they may react differently. Unfortunately, they see things in their own image. They would ascribe to you what they would have done if they were the ones in office.
First, the Malabu 245 that they are talking about was an Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL that was granted to Malabu in 1998 by the late General Sani Abacha. A company in which his son and family claim today that they own 60 per cent of the shares. When General Sani Abacha died the OPL had been given out under the indigenisation policy of that administration. The policy was for Nigerian citizens to participate in the prospecting and exploration of oil.
As a result of that policy, the OPLs were not given out under competitive bidding. They were given out under a discretionary allocation with a discretionary signature bonus of $20m. That was all they were requested to pay.
When Malabu got this OPL they brought in Shell, as requested by law as their technical partners after paying the first tranche of $10m down payment. They had a partnership which was going fine. That was until Obasanjo came into office in 1999. There were some supposed share holders in that company, like the family of the late Abacha as they claim today. Then there was Dan Etete himself and whoever was representing his interest. Then there was one Hassan Adamu, the Wakilin Adamawa who then sold his interest in OPL 245 to Atiku Abubakar, the then Vice President of Nigeria.
Then they were going on fine until greed set into the whole paradigm of partnership. That was when they had their differences and the government was manipulated to revoke OPL 245. Having revoked it, the government went ahead and allocated the block to Shell BP which was originally a technical partner to Malabu. Malabu felt shortchanged and betrayed. They then petitioned the House of Reps Committee on Oil and Gas. The Committee held a public hearing and the outcome was that the revocation of OPL 245 from Malabu was irregular, null and void and oppressive. That it should be immediately recovered from Shell and given to Malabu.
On the strength of this resolution, Malabu sued the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Shell also sued the House of Reps Committee. There were suits and counter-suits. The matter was struck out by the court of first instance and they went on appeal. In 2006, when Obasanjo and Atiku had fallen out completely, to spite Atiku at the time, the government of Obasanjo entered into an out-of-court settlement which was later reduced as a consent judgment agreeing to return 100 per cent OPL 245 to Malabu Oil and Gas. As soon as that was done, he was given a letter signed by the then Minister of State, for Petroleum, Engineer Edmond Dakoru returning this OPL to Malabu with a provision that they can dispose of it in any manner they liked. The documents are there.
Then in 2007, after they left office, Malabu was supposed to pay the signature bonus and as they were trying to pay this bonus, the Yar’Adua government came in and all sorts of interests came in again. They were trying to take this oil block again from the man. Shell itself also tried to take the block. Eventually they all tried to enter into some kind of settlement agreement with Malabu and it didn’t work.
But one interesting thing is that within this period that this OPL 245 was allocated to Shell, they paid the signature bonus into an Escrow Account because of the pendency of litigation at the instance of Malabu challenging the allocation of the OPL to Shell. That Escrow Account was being jointly managed by Shell and the Federal Government of Nigeria. Please take note of this.
It was. J.P. Morgan that was managing it on behalf of the government and Shell. Yar’Adua could not resolve that matter before he died because of the diverse interests and other new actors trying to take the block completely as is always the situation.
President Jonathan came into office and the issue came before us and by this time, Shell had already gone to the International Centre for Settlement for Investment Disputes to lodge a complaint against Nigeria and initiated an arbitration proceeding. Incidentally, as at that time I was not the Minister of Justice. You can confirm this, I was one of the parties nominated by Nigeria in that arbitration to represent the interest of Nigerian government in the ICSID arbitration. This didn’t take off until I became the Attorney-General of the Federation.
As at the time Shell had already de-risked the oil block and had found oil in commercial quantity in OPL 245. So, when the Federal Government came again with a promise to give them another oil block they said ‘No, we have invested over $500m to de-risk this one and we found oil. It is not acceptable to us.’
Shell then went to arbitration claiming over $2b from the government of Nigeria. They have always refused to point out this to the Nigerian public and to discerning minds. This has always been underplayed in the entire settlement of the Malabu deal, which to me is the most significant aspect of the deal which the Jonathan administration would be commended for.
Now, we affirmed the re-allocation of this block to Malabu and of course Shell is a dominant player in the market. The oil market is market of cartels and they enter transactions worldwide. They entered a caveat worldwide that nobody should enter into any transaction on Malabu on that block. So, it became a very big problem for Malabu to raise, procure or even pay the $210m signature bonus for the block which Obasanjo’s government had insisted on instead of the previous $20 million discretionary payment.
So, ENI approached Shell, because they stated their interest in the oil block and said ‘why don’t we jointly acquire the interest in this OPL 245 and have this matter resolved.’ They were represented by their consultant who was no less a person than a one-time Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN. An urbane and a fine gentleman, he came, Shell came and because they had lost confidence in one another, they were not prepared to deal with each other.
This was why they came before the Federal Government to mediate and resolve the issue once and for all. The Federal Government decided to take advantage of the situation to enable it wriggle itself out of the arbitration and the claim against it by Shell. Note that all the agencies of Federal Government, FIRS, NNPC, Directorate of Petroleum Resources were represented in the resolution agreement. If you want to confirm this, write under the Freedom of Information, FOI, Act to the House of Reps asking for a copy of the investigation and findings on that matter. You will see the remarks and testimonies of the people from FIRS, DPR and all the other relevant agencies of government that participated in the resolution.
Then Shell said ‘We already have this $210m in the Escrow Account, since these conditions have been met, we are going to pay the additional money in the agreement between them and Malabu into this joint account, so that upon obtaining their licence, the Federal Government should take their own signature bonus and release the balance to Malabu and that was exactly what happened.
So, what the Federal Government did was to look at it and said ‘No!’ and I commend President Obasanjo for that. He said we are giving you back the OPL 245, but we are not giving you at the discretionary rate of $20 million’ the government gave Shell at the internationally competitive rate of $210m, which was done by Shell. The letter of re-allocation was given back to Malabu. We ensured that it was paid. These people had already de-risked and done all due diligence, put the block into use, royalties and taxes were being paid. So, for any person to sit down and say that we shortchanged Nigeria is most unfortunate and most unkind to us. It is unpardonable.
The second leg of this problem is that immediately after all these negotiations and monies were to be paid to Malabu, Mohammed Abacha surfaced from nowhere and wrote us that they had interest in OPL 245. That they own 60 per cent of the share. We told them ‘We don’t know you. You didn’t participate throughout the negotiations, which lasted for 12 years. There was no time you ever signified interest. If I had known that you even had any interest in OPL 245, I would have taken that interest because you are already in violation of Decree 53 which you entered into with the government of General Abdulsalam, to disclose truthfully all your assets. Why didn’t you disclose this asset to them? So you are fundamentally in breach of Decree 53!’
They then wrote threatening that they will embarrass the government if they are not paid. The documents are all well kept and anybody can see and verify them.
They got some NGOs to embark on media campaigns, giving the impression that Nigeria was shortchanged. Whereas the real truth is that they were the ones playing tricks. It’s a gang of criminals, using the system to fight state actors, trying to bring them down. It’s like what you see in Colombia and all these countries in lawless environments.
Also, the money involved is not $2 billion. It’s is $1.1b and it is not the money meant for Nigeria. What Nigeria was entitled to was $210m signature bonus, royalties to be paid and the taxes from it. I stand today to confirm to you that I have done nothing in Malabu that I am ashamed of and I can defend that anywhere. As a result of that settlement, Shell withdrew the arbitration against the Federal Government of Nigeria, including all the liabilities and every other claim against the government.
I don’t deserve to be crucified on Malabu.
What about your role in Halliburton scandal?
Don’t even go far! The EFCC is simply being mischievous over so many issues, especially resulting from my call before the National Assembly in 2011, during my screening and confirmation hearing where I called for the merger of the EFCC and ICPC. They were not happy with me over that suggestion. Secondly, by the powers conferred in my office by the Act, I initiated and drew up rules and regulations for the EFCC trying to assert my powers and oversight functions over the commission. For this, they sponsored the likes of Dino Melaye to go and carry placards like area boys all over the place to smear us. These are some of the things responsible for the strenuous attempts today to destroy me and vilify me using some groups of notorious online media that everybody knows work for them. This is why they have engaged in this media trial.
Also, because I sponsored a bill in the National Assembly to make the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, an independent organ of the EFCC. I also sponsored a bill, which they surreptitiously killed, to say that you cannot be recovering assets and be managing the same assets you have recovered. That it does not create room for transparency. I proposed an independent organ of government that will manage the assets recovered by the EFCC. This was a model that was recommended to me by our American development partners.
We proposed that assets recovered are not dissipated and that there should be a mechanism to ensure that they are not recycled as products of corruption. We needed to have defined functions for these organs of government, if we are truly and genuinely determined to fight corruption.
So, for the fight against corruption to succeed, there must be institutional purity. The impurities in the system must be cleansed. In the process of trying to sanitise the system I became a victim.
That they will not come up publicly to say. But I have heard them abuse me and said all sorts of things about me. But I said in my capacity as Attorney-general, I said I would not condone the practice of media trials. You can’t arrest people, detain them and while they are in detention you start procuring evidence. So, I gave them rules of engagement.
I had a bitter quarrel with the then chairman of the EFCC. She was later to commend me after she was removed and she found out that I had no hand in her removal. I was even out of the country when her appointment was terminated.
In the case of Halliburton, shortly after we resumed office, the then EFCC Chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri came to me and said that she found some Americans and she had gotten them to write me a letter. That Nigeria can collect a lot of money from all these companies that were involved in the Halliburton saga, but that the people said they will be entitled to 33 per cent or 1/3 of whatever they recovered upfront. At the same time, they said they would be the ones to take decisions and that whatever decisions they took would be binding on me and that I couldn’t override them.
Then I said ‘give me a day or two to think about this.’ As I was reviewing this in my mind. I then remembered the Pfizer case, when the Federal Government instituted a case against Pfizer in Kano and initiated criminal proceedings which resulted in an out-of-court settlement. No lawyer was paid by the government. Amongst the government lawyers was Chief J.B. Daudu, SAN, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, who is now the Vice President of Nigeria and a host of other Nigerian lawyers, including Mariam Uwais. When the settlement was consummated, they were not paid by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Their fees were paid to them by Pfizer through Mr. Tunde Irukera.
I approached the EFCC Chairman and asked her to nominate a lawyer and she nominated Chief Godwin Obla who was not then a SAN. So, I told her, apart from Godwin Obla, I want an institutional person to participate in these proceedings. That was how she nominated Akomoye. How did she come about Akomoye? No sooner had we filed a criminal proceeding, we decided to go piecemeal. This was because the sum of $5 million passed through Julius Berger. So she nominated Rowland Ewubare who was the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission. We also took into cognizance the extensive knowledge of Ewubare who had practised extensively in America. So, we co-opted him into the team at no fees and for no commission. This was for him to guide the team and to make sure that the human rights of these people were respected.
The reason we brought in J.B. Daudu was that, he was the President of the NBA at that time. We reasoned that it was important for them to know as a critical segment of the society and the legal profession what was going on at the time. So, it wasn’t as if we just sat down and just brought in people.
As soon as we commenced trial, the then National Security Adviser to the President said that Julius Berger was a company that was maintaining the seat of power. That they play a very critical role in Nigeria’s economy and that we should enter into a settlement. This took place in the office of the National Security Adviser and he nominated Kayode Are to preside over the meeting. Julius Berger was represented by no less a person than Alhaji Abdullahi, SAN, a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
We got to that meeting and Ewubare guided us very well, he told us that in America, if you are in this kind of situation you disgorge three times the amount. That is the threshold. I told him that three times is not acceptable to me because the quantum is small, that we should use the quantum of five times the value.
It was at that point that the sum of $25m was arrived at, and it was a lot of money at the time. Ewubare guided us properly because he is an expert in the American system. So, I stated that the Federal Government had expended over a million dollars in investigating the case and that they must reimburse it. So, they agreed to reimburse the government that one million dollars.
I then proposed that like the Pfizer case, they should be responsible for the solicitors’ fees. So, the Federal Government was paid the sum of $26m in an account supplied by the Ministry of Finance and the office of the Accountant-General and it was paid through the Central Bank of Nigeria. Now, the EFCC is claiming that the lawyers were paid $26m. How? How the Federal Government used that money is not the business of the Attorney-General?
I have heard people say that Halliburton paid so much in America and that we took pittance and I just laughed. First, what was the penalty and sanction in Nigeria as at the time we had the Halliburton case? The maximum a company would have paid at that time was N1m. Just a million Naira. The minimum was N250,000.
We had to devise an ingenious approach and said ‘What has happened in the Halliburton case amounts to reputational damage to the country. But we agreed that we were not going to go by criminal sanction, but by a curtail of approach. That the money they were paying was for the reputational damage to Nigeria. That they have classified Nigeria as a corrupt country and meanwhile they are the ones corrupting our leaders.
People forget that Halliburton was a registered public company in America, regulated by SEC and that they are subject to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the US. None of these laws were operational in Nigeria.
This was the threshold that was used. Now, when they talk about Halliburton, why are they not talking about Intels? Didn’t EFCC come with Intels? Was Intels not involved in this? They came and negotiated Intels in my office. The EFCC negotiated Intels in my office and Akomoye was there. He travelled with us all over the world. He was part of all these negotiations.
Halliburton had generated so much controversy and I would have been a dumb Attorney-General to have allowed myself to be corrupted in it.
The other issue which has also come up in public discuss is that of the $15m which was said to have been recovered from the former Delta State Governor, Chief James Ibori…
It is still in the possession of the EFCC. Don’t even go far. That money caused so much arguments between me and them. This is because I told them that the money should be returned to the coffers of the Federal Government and they told me that because of the ongoing appeal, they would hold on to the money pending the outcome of the appeal. But I had clearly given the instructions that the money should be given to the Federal Government. Whether they complied with that or not, I don’t know.
But I know that one of the lawyers working with them was not happy with my directive. He came after the Delta State Government laid claim and the court ruled that Delta State was only entitled to 10 per cent of the money.
So what has happened to the $15m Ibori’s money, the EFCC is in a better position to explain. It predates my coming into office, but I do know that I gave clear instructions that the money be returned to the Federal Government.
You’ve been alleged to have illegally acquired properties in Dubai and Abuja. Isn’t that true?
That is certainly not true. I own a three bedroom flat at Princess Towers in Dubai. I acquired that property as far back as 2008, long before I became Attorney-General of the Federation. That property was acquired and I was paying for it by installment. I finished paying for it and I declared it in my assets.
Also, I was given two land allocations by Bala Mohammed the then FCT Minister. The one that Dino Melaye was making noise about, yes I was given a land and I sold it. I have another land that was allocated to me, 5,000 square metres in Guzape. That land is still there and the certificate is in my name.
So, if they have any other property that was traced to me, I will willingly forfeit it to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
It has also been said that as the AGF during 2015 electioneering, you had the duty to investigate and possibly take action against General Buhari for alleged criminal offences including certificate forgery. Why didn’t you?
It would have been irresponsible of me to even order an investigation. I would have been failing in my duty as AGF if I had done so, because that would have been most unfair.
Let me also tell you that when I came into office in 2010, there was also the raging controversy about the $12.7b oil windfall. Babangida was being accused by many Nigerians over this. When I got the request to prosecute General Babangida, I thought the boys had something up their sleeves. I immediately called for the file and they sent me a document which I found out was a photocopy and not certified. I set up a committee under the chairmanship of the Solicitor-General of the Federation and asked that they should find out whether or not there exist the original of this document.
Despite the fact that I set up this committee, I asked that the Secretary to the Federal Government to confirm if there was an original copy of the document. He later reported back that there was no original copy of the so-called Okigbo Panel Report.
In spite of this, I took the pains myself to read the document which was not legally tenable. But I still wanted to convince myself about the fact. I found out that the Okigbo Committee was set up to reorganise, and not even to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria. It was in the process of reorganising that they came out to advise that the government should stop using Dedicate Account because it doesn’t give room for transparent accountability.
There was no White Paper on this. There was no Executive Council meeting or the Armed Forces Ruling Council resolution on the matter and nothing was done.
In fact, it was when we came to office that President Jonathan directed that Dedicated Accounts being operated by the Federal Government be closed. At the end of the day, I wrote back to the civil societies that; look, ‘I am unable to prosecute anybody because of these deficiencies from my findings. They called me all kinds of names. In fact somebody went to tell president Jonathan that IBB was my uncle and that was why I refused to prosecute him.
When in 2010, the former Governor of Osun State initiated criminal proceedings against Rauf Aregbesola, in a criminal matter that the Federal Government had jurisdiction, without my fiat and without my knowledge, I withdrew the matter. He came to me and demanded that I give his lawyer fiat to prosecute Aregbesola. I refused and told him ‘I can’t give you fiat to prosecute your political enemies.’
He went to President Goodluck Jonathan and told him that ‘your Attorney-General is an ACN member.’ When the President called me and asked that I give the fiat to Oyinlola’s lawyer, I told him ‘Mr. President I will do no such thing. I will rather resign from office.’ He told me one thing that made him earn my respect the more. He said ‘If you feel so strong about it, please don’t do it.’ I will forever cherish and remember that.
Now, on General Buhari, when the issue of certificates came up, a funny lawyer wrote me a letter requesting me to issue him a fiat to prosecute General Buhari. I wrote back to him to say ‘I am unable to consider your request, for the simple reason that it has not met the threshold of law and it would amount to travesty of justice for me to encourage illegality and the abuse of the rights of any person.’
Three days later, a sitting governor, after placed a call to me and said ‘Mr. Attorney-General I would like to see you. Are you in the office?’ I told him ‘I am in the office, but I will come and see him wherever he was.’
I met with this governor and he perambulated round the whole issue and finally said there is this lawyer who had requested a fiat to prosecute Buhari and you refused to give him. I told him, I certainly wouldn’t give such a fiat because I wouldn’t want to embarrass the government I serve. I told him that the requirements of the Constitution is that one must have either a minimum of secondary school certificate or its equivalent. The Constitution doesn’t say you should produce, neither did INEC demand the certificate. So on what basis would Buhari have been accused of forgery.
Assuming that was the case, where was the police report investigating this forgery? I said; ‘have you approached the school this man attended and confirmed whether or not he attended the schools?’ It would have been a wrong exercise of power for me to have issued a fiat to prosecute Buhari.
Above all, this man had contested the presidency of Nigeria three times. Apart from that, this man was a one-time Head of State. Put all these together, even if he doesn’t have the certificate, this is a man who had attended some of the finest military institutions around the world, including the United States of America. He rose to the position of a General. I wouldn’t be a party to that. For this singular reason I was labeled Buhari’s spy in Jonathan’s government and all sorts of allegations against me.
So, that is why I didn’t arrest or prosecute Buhari. I didn’t do him a favour. There was no case against him. I hold him in high esteem, a one time Head of State and by the grace of God the President of Nigeria today.