Laleye Dipo in Minna
Some legal practitioners and other concerned people have asked the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to suspend from office the acting Executive Director of the National Cereals Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi in Niger State, Dr. Samuel Agboire.
Agboire is currently being prosecuted by the ICPC at a Federal High Court in Minna for allegedly violating the provisions of the Federal Character Commission Act, especially as it concerns the “illegal recruitment of 34 staff into the organisation” and had previously written to the Minister of Agriculture seeking the suspension of the official as “is the normal practice”.
In a petitionÂ signed on their behalf by Oluwole Oluranti esq of Olu- Oluwole and Co, Solicitors and Advocates and Notary Public captioned: “A plea for standard treatment of accused in corruption cases – the case for NCRI Badeggi in focus” and sent to the ICPC chairman, they saidÂ that if Agboire continued to remain in office while the trial is ongoing “he could continue to interfere with witnesses and thereby jeopardise justice”.
The petitioners claimed that Agboire’s case was more serious because “he has other petitions against him before the EFCC, the Nigeria Police and the National Assembly bordering on victimisation, maladministration, intimidation of staff and whistleblowers as well as witnesses unjust transfers of staff”.
They claimed in the petition that their request for the suspension of Agboire “is in accord with the known practices in most anti-corruption cases, and is manifestly to forestall the capacity of the accused to harass and intimidate witnesses who are likely to be employees of the institution where the accused works/heads and also to prevent the possibility of tampering with evidence”.
“This we note must have been the reasons behind immediate suspension of some top government officials from office who are currently facing corruption proceedings in court,” they said.
The petitioners also want the ICPC to use its Corruption Monitoring and Evaluation Department “to get to the root causes of non compliance with your earlier directive for the suspension of Dr Samuel Agboire as acting Executive Director”.
Agboire was recently detained but later released on bail by the Federal High Court sitting in Minna which also adjourned the case to November for hearing.