Contrary to the desire of most Nigerians for the swift prosecution of the individuals and firms indicted in the House of Representatives fuel subsidy probe report, which outlined a N1.7tn scam in oil subsidy payments, the Federal Government has announced that the the findings of the report will not be implemented, until anti-corruption agencies have fully investigated the issues raised by the report.
There have been widespread calls, particularly from civil society, for the government to take immediate action on the report and the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) has planned nationwide protests to pressure the governemnt.
However, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, said the House of Representatives fuel subsidy probe was â€śmainly fact-finding" and asked the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) to abandon its proposed nationwide protests. In a statement, he said, â€śThe attention of the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has been drawn to recent calls by some groups and well-meaning Nigerians for the prosecution of those allegedly indicted in the Report of the House of Representatives AdHoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Regime.
â€śIt is pertinent to reiterate governmentâ€™s position as aptly captured by Mr. Presidentâ€™s initial reaction to the report of the fuel subsidy probe to the effect that any person found wanting will be prosecuted, irrespective of the personâ€™s standing in the society.
â€śNigerians must, however, appreciate that in discharging this onerous responsibility, government must be guided by the dictates of the rule of law and due process as required of any democratically elected and responsible government.
â€śIn this regard, the need to ensure that thorough investigations are carried out by relevant law enforcement agencies cannot be overemphasised.
â€śThis is more so, as the exercise carried out by the House of Representatives is mainly fact-finding.
â€śI also wish to point out that the report of the ad hoc committee and the resolutions adopted by the House of Representatives have yet to be transmitted to the executive arm of government. Nevertheless, when the report and accompanying resolutions are received, the relevant law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies will commence the tedious process of sieving through the report, with a view to assembling all the essential ingredients required to sustain criminal charges that may be filed as a result of such investigations.
â€śI, therefore, call on Nigerians who are understandably concerned about the revelations arising from the Fuel Subsidy Probe to be patient and exercise restraint while these difficult, but essential processes are carried out by appropriate agencies.
â€śAs the Attorney General of the Federation, I swore to uphold the Constitution and I am, therefore, not oblivious of the constitutional responsibility placed on my shoulders to ensure that those who contravene our laws are held accountable through the legal process.
â€śHowever, experience has shown that whenever our law enforcement agencies are stampeded to arraign suspects, the end result is usually the discharge of such suspects by the courts, ostensibly, for want of evidence. Nigerians must, therefore, allow our law enforcement agencies to conduct painstaking investigations that will ultimately satisfy the standard of proof required in criminal cases.â€ť
â€śThe foregoing notwithstanding, we must accept that the allegations contained in the Subsidy Probe Report deserve serious action on the part of all those with oversight responsibility over the agencies and persons concerned.
â€śAware of this responsibility, Mr. President had as far back as 2010 ordered a forensic audit of the accounts of the NNPC with a view to sanitizing the oil sector.
â€śSince then, other processes have been put in place to enhance accountability and transparency levels in the oil sector even before the commencement of fuel subsidy probe. I, therefore, humbly urge Nigerians to have faith in the processes being undertaken and to patiently wait for the outcome of the investigations and subsequent prosecutions that may flow from the fuel subsidy probe conducted by the House of Representatives and the on-going probe by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
â€śIn this respect, I wish to observe that the ultimatum being given by some groups and the threat to embark on demonstrations and strike actions will only compound the problem and divert attention as well as the energy that would otherwise have been channelled into productive use by law enforcement agencies.â€ť
"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
Dimkpa Kpomeyie Kingsley Port Harcourt, Nigeria June 26, 2012
The House of Reps should do the thoroughly investigation and allow the appropriate law enforcement agency/agencies to prosecute those found wanting. So that it would serve as lesson for others that were having intentions to indulge in defruading the nation.
Maryc Lagos, Nigeria May 08, 2012
U r right guy
OMOTAYO, J. A. Lagos, NIGERIA May 05, 2012
The AGF should be sent to the psychiatrist hospital for mental dysfunctioning. Why? First, he did not know the meanings of investigation and fact finding. To his, the House Committee only carried out "fact finding" while the agencies of government "investigate". Gramatically, both words mean the same thing. The only difference is that "fact finding" is a phrasal verb while "investigate" is a verb in its perfect tense. Second, the AGF has never read the Constitution and cannot vouch on its far reaching effects.
That the Constitution provides that the State (meaning the Federal Govt) shall abolish corruption and that every suspect has a right to defend himself before a competent judge implies fair play. The civil society and SNG have only asked for this fair play. Nobody has said that they should be jailed or executed without trial in a competent court. Third, our EFCC and the judiciary had all the time, money, personnel and energy to investigate, prosecute and sentence our Mr. James Ibori here in Nigeria. Even with a 138 count charges levelled against him, the judiciary discharged and acquitted him on all.
But the Metropolitan Police in London only made 10 charges against him before the Southwalk Court. Over there, the same man pleaded guilty to all the charges and has been sentenced accordingly. The import is that time availability is not the issue but competent prosecutors and incorruptible judiciary. There are many issues to write upon but for time and space. The foregoing may have exposed the mediocrity occupying the post of AGF. There are countless numbers of such mediocrities in Mr. Jonathan's administration parading themselves as experts. God save Nigeria.
louis delhi, India May 04, 2012
Ye ye government. what re you investigating? delay tactics so that those involved will find their way out