▪ Describes termination of Goje’s trial as exhibition of executive rascality and lawlessness:
Pro-democracy group and non- governmental organisation- Human Rights Writers Association of Nogeria (HURIWA) has decried the deliberate jailing of youngsters accused of petty advanced fees fraud cases by the current administration whereas big time politically exposed persons accused of diverting billions of Naira of public funds are granted soft-landing for political bargaining chips.
HURIWA warned of the dangers of criminally profiing youngsters by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission even when big time rogues are walking the corridors of political powers only because they are bargaining chips of the present administration’
HURIWA has therefore condemned the unconstitutional termination of the multibillion Naira alleged theft case involving former Gombe State Governor Danjuma Goje only few days after he was allegedly blackmailed to step down for the official candidate of the administration for the Senate Presidency position.
The Rights group stated that the decision of the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice to assume jurisdiction over the matter and to take over the prosecution from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with the clandestine decision to terminate the matter amounted to abuse of power and the highest display of the active connivance of the Federal Government to perpetrate corrupt practices, tolerate abuse of power by those who are willing to be used as political pawns in the chessboard of political contestations.
This, HURIWA added, has violated the kernel of constitutional norms which obliges government to end abuse of power and fight corruption.
“First and foremost, the exercise of the powers of nolli prosequi by the Federal Attorney General and minister of Justice must be grounded on the demand of public interest. The termination or even subtle suspension of the prosecution of the former governor of Gombe State is a flagrant disregard of the constitutional safeguards and has absolutely rubbished any claim of a genuine fight against corruption by the current administration. Who was in office as Attorney General to have validly exercised the power last week’s Thursday when Nigeria has no Attorney General of the Federation?
“”HURIWA recalled that Goje has stood trial along with a former Executive Chairman of the state’s Universal Basic Education Board, Aliyu El-Nafaty; and S.M. Dokoro for an alleged N5bn fraud. A fourth defendant, the ex-governor’s cousin, Sabo Tumu, who is now late was removed from the charge sheet. But as a result of political negotiations to cajole Goje not to run for the office of Senate President against the anointed candidate of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration Ahmed Lawan, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation with no occupant took over the case filed against the former governor from the EFCC on June 7, shortly after he (Goje) agreed to step down for Ahmed Lawan in the race for the position of the Senate President. And in his ruling, the judge said pursuant to Section 174(1) particularly sub-section (b) and coupled with Section 108 (2) of 2015, “the application by the AGF to withdraw the charges is hereby granted.” “The accused persons are hereby discharged,” the judge held.
HURIWA said it condemns the current demonization of young Nigerians engaged in petty crimes of advanced fees fraud who could have been tried making use of the non custodial sentencing provisions with the underlying objectives of retraining them to abandon the wrong ways and become better citizens but there is a highly organized policy to criminally rubbish majority of young Nigerians to render them constitutionally useless and irrelevant to mount serious political challenge to wrestle political power from these old brigades who are deeply entrenched in the practices of highly organized economic crimes and the misuse of public funds to maintain their hold on political powers by all means.