Rights Monitoring Group, a coalition of 45 civil society groups, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to as a matter of urgency relieve his Special Adviser on Public Prosecution, Okoi Obono-obla, of all his duties for abuse of office and other acts of impunity.
In a statement signed by the group’s President, Mr. Olufemi Aduwo and sent to THISDAY on Tuesday, the group alleged that rather than using his office to ensure speedy trial of kidnappers, armed bandits and real corrupt persons, he is busy resorting to confrontation and suffocation of statutory anti- corruption agencies.
The statement read in part: “Recall that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, had directed Obla to â€œhenceforth desist from carrying out any operation in his capacity as Head of Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property. The AG clearly stated that the actions of Obla was contrary to the enabling convention that established the panel.
“The most disturbing development is not only that Obla still parades himself and act as the Chairman of the panel but he has equally embarked on desperate measures to reinvent himself after he got his fingers burnt on the reinstatement of Maina; insults and venoms he dished out against judges.
” His activities are clearly at variance with anti – corruption policy direction of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption and also undermining the operational existence of both the Code of Conduct Bureau which is a creation of the constitution, EFCC and ICPC created by an act of the National Assembly.
” Before and after his initial appointment as Special Adviser on Prosecutorial Matters, Obla had proven himself as someone with unquenchable appetite for grandstanding, obstinacy, controversy, arrogance and bellicosity. He always exhibits a high temperament and confrontational posture with every one that dares tell him the truth making him very allergic to advice, such a person is not supposed to occupy any position in democratic setting.
” It is shameful, scandalous, unethical and abuse of power for Obla to allow himself to be perceived as the one covering up grievous misdeed by protecting some people, while on the other hand intimidating anti- corruption agencies in the discharge of their duties by the same Obla that insulted Judges, used unprintable language and derogatory words against them in relation to their official conduct.
” This is, indeed, the height of insincerity, hypocrisy and double standards calculated to beguile the Presidency and Nigerians. Why confer immunity on some people while in another case crossing the red line from prosecution to persecution? Particularly, in cases that were no link, let alone a sufficient link between the accused and the so-called offences.
“Obla always choose to stir up unwarranted and unnecessary controversy. In one breath, talking about prosecution of offenders, in another, using uncanny ways of not seeing the people around him with questionable wealth suspected to be the money bags urging him to contest for a Senatorial seat during the forth-coming 2019 election.
” Happily, by our laws, offenders are presumed innocent until a prima facie case has been established against the accused persons and the courts upon which they are tried, weight the evidences, before exacting punishment and sentence. It is not a kangaroo process that one would foresee premeditated trial and conviction”.
Aduwo commended the Nigerian Judiciary officers for their steadfastness, consistency in the temple of justice and their resolve at strengthening justice and democratic values in the discharge of their official functions.
“We implore that if any accused person standing trial is persecuted under the guise of being prosecuted, they should in the interest of justice continue to deliver justice and free the innocent individuals being prosecuted unjustly. We urge Obla to realize that human beings are all meant to be part of history and therefore the decision is entirely at his own discretion to leave either positive or negative foot prints, just like the case of Chief Mike Kaase Aondoakaa, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice. One day the tenure of Obla will be subjected to intense scrutiny including the jurisprudential analysis of all the cases of individuals he prosecuted or persecuted.”