Magnus Eze, Enugu
An Igbo think tank, Nzuko Umunna, has asked the Federal government to explain the rush in prosecuting the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, when already investigated cases of corruption involving high-ranking public officers were yet to be touched.
The group named the cases of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and Chairman, Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla as long overdue for prosecution.
A statement by the Coordinator of Nzuko Umunna, Mr Ngozi Odumuko, and Secretary-General, Mr Paschal Mbanefo, obtained in Enugu, said the planned arraignment of the Chief Justice of Nigeria left much to be desired, even as they noted that one of the cardinal principles of the rule of law is that no-one is above the law.
“While the petition which triggered the charges was received by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) on January 9, 2019, the charge was promptly drafted the next day – a record 24 hours.
“It is recalled that the case of alleged corrupt practices against former Secretary to the Federal Government, Mr. Babachir Lawal, is still pending with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) several months after he was indicted by a panel chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo.
“The same is true of the case indictment of the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution and Chairman, Special Presidential Investigative Panel for the Recovery of Public Property, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla by several entities – including the National Assembly – over alleged forgery of his West African School Certificate.
“While Obono-Obla remains untouched, the former Secretary to the Federal Government is even a prominent member of the Buhari campaign team. This again raises serious concerns on whether the planned trial of the Chief Justice of Nigeria does not foster issues of double standards,” Nzuko Umunna stated.