An Abuja-based lawyer and rights activist, Barr., Pelumi Olajengbesi, has berated the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), for dragging Senator Isah Hamman Misau to court over his allegations of corruption and abuse of office against the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
Olajengbesi said the action by the office of the AGF with respect to Misau’s allegations against IGP Idris was not only baseless but has also compromised the ongoing anti-corruption war of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government.
In a statement issued by the activist in Abuja Friday, a copy of which was obtained by LEADERSHIP Weekend, he noted that the AGF acted in wrong manner when he chose to institute court action against Senator Misau for drawing the attention of the Nigerian public to the alleged corruption in the Nigeria Police Force and abuse of office by its Inspector-General.
“The action from the office of the AGF with respect to Senator Misau, who before now brought to the public domain cogent and mind blowing allegations of corruption in the Nigeria Police Force, the major campaign promise on which the present administration rode on into power leaves a lot to be desired and most importantly betrays public sensibilities and confidence,” he said
Olajengbesi, who described the court action as simply political persecution “which will not succeed”, noted that it was intended to sweep the allegations raised by Senator Misau against the IGP under the carpet.
He added: “A careful examination of the charge itself will reveal a liquidated attempt by the Federal government through the office of the Attorney-General to render abstract the real issues in controversy and sweep the significant investigations under the carpet.”
“The cankerworm which has since bedevilled our polity and system was said to be fought headlong by this administration.
“One would want to ask, as every reasonable and objective person will, between the reputation of the IGP and the collective wealth of 180million Nigerians which is of utmost importance to the state.
“The implication of this is that the charge is baseless and a compromise of the President Buhari’ s fight against corruption.”
He further said: “I know that it is the sole discretion and obligation of the AGF to institute and in fact prosecute any person who he reasonably believes or suspects to have violated our penal laws particularly with respect to Federal offences or those committed within the FCT, however in the exercise of that power the AGF is obliged by the constitution to place and prioritize national interest above every other factor.
“The allegations raised against the person of Kpotum should have first been investigated by an independent body other than the Police being an interested party or on the other hand the IGP Kpotum should be made to resign so as to give the other officers of the Police Force the leverage to conduct a proper and unbiased investigation.
“It is imperative and very well sacrosanct that the office of the AGF recognises the fact the war against corruption cannot be won or fought without public followership and public followership is derived not by such actions as presently taken by his Office but by a properly and well thought out decision backed with compelling evidences sourced after a thorough investigation.
“One would have thought that the proper and most acceptable thing that should have been done was the clarification of the allegations as it affects the totality of the Nigeria state.
“Is the current development a justification that there is no corruption in the Nigeria Police Force? Justice as stated in a plethora of authorities is not a one way thing, it rather is justice to the state, society and the victim. We therefore call in the interest of justice to all that the charges be forthwith discontinued and a proper investigation lodged into the allegations so raised.
“First, Section. 393(1) of the Penal Code deals with publication of false statement of facts which are made by the accused with the intention of simply injuring the character of the complainant,” he added.
The Rights activist noted that: “Before a statement of fact can be categorized as false, the onus of the relevant bodies to conduct thorough investigations to identify whether there is a scintilla of truth therein. The exception to section 393 that the statement must have a substance of truth, in which case, no offence committed.
“Unfortunately, instead of the Office of the IGP and the PSC responding to the concerns of a well-meaning senator of the Federal Republic, they chose to first defame him by calling him a deserter and now a politically motivated criminal action.
“It is instructive to stop and ask at this point, where is the report of a neutral panel setup to look into the allegations of the Senator. I make bold to state that it amount to seating logic on its head to permit the Nigeria Police to constitute a panel and look into it own corruption issues.
“No man can be a judge in his case. Its nonsensical to think the Police can probe itself, so the panel setup cannot be valid. What we are seeing is simply political persecution,” he said.