Emmanuel Onwubiko: 2023: Will EFCC stop South-East

Law is order, and excellent law is good order”.-Aristotle If there is any understanding that is so infamous that you do not require commonsense to decipher is the possibility that police under the command and control of the executive arm of government can be controlled and deployed as political attack dog against viewed challengers of the president or governor.This much was made manifest recently when I published on my social media page an exclusive info a serving federal cabinet member of the President Muhamadu Buhari informed me and a couple of pals about how Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is utilized to target perceived challengers of the president.This details elicited similar responses from my audiences who all chorused that it is not a secret that EFCC is the guard dog of the President.I will talk about in broad details some significant circumstances in the past and present times that illustrate the extensive accusation that the President and his trusted patriots from the Moslem North are using the EFCC as political guard dog for witch hunt.I will however point out three instances in which it is now being feared that the EFCC is placed to stop enthusiastic and viable Igbo political leaders from looking for to succeed President Buhari in 2023. The clearest evidence that indicate the aforementioned plot by EFCC to knock off the South East from the estimations of possible successor of president Buhari is the case of the former governor of Abia State and the current Senate’s Chief whip Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.This gentleman has actually been dragged through all the court system in Nigeria by EFCC over claims believed to be phantom in which the aim is to get conviction by hook or scoundrel and politically disable one of the most energetic and nationally accepted political tactician of the twenty-first century– senator Orji Uzor Kalu.This much demanded conviction will instantly disallow him from running in 2023 given that the constitution bars deceitful convicts from ever holding public office until ten years or, so after the court’s conviction.In their very dangerous speed to found guilty Orji Uzor Kalu and render him politically unuseful especially in the year 2023 presidential election, the EFCC and the then judge of the Federal High Court shot themselves on the leg when the judge who got promoted to the court of Appeal whilst the case of EFCC against Senator was still pending, refuse to assume his correct status as a Court of Appeal’s Justice but chose to obtain a fiat to continue as both Federal High Court judge and a justice of court of Appeal at the same time. This makes the conviction of Orki Uzor Kalu malicious since in reasoning nothing can be and not be or rather you can’t be a judge in the high court and at the exact same time a Justice at the Appeal court.The judge then maliciously convicted Orji Uzor Kalu and had him thrown into prisons for several years, went back to resume at the Appeal Court simply as the EFCC fought against every effort Orji Kalu made to obtain bail pending his appeal against his conviction.The case got to the Supreme Court and as God predestined it Senator Orji Uzor Kalu who had invested 6 months in prison, got launched when the peak court invalidated his conviction.To show that there is a political agendum, the EFCC filed a fresh trial at the Federal High Court.Sensing a clear symptom of destructive prosecution which can rightly be described a persecution, the Federal High Court under another judge with no contradictory status, quashed the trial for the second time over same matter of the Senate’s Chief whip, therefore leading the way for his eventual release from 6 months of prohibited incarceration.The action of this newest Federal High
Court’s judge who dismissed the retrial of Senator Orji Uzor Kalu perfectly shows what Augustine of Hippo (354-430 CE) said thus: “If justice be removed, what are governments however excellent bands of burglars?”And so reprieve came the way of a previous guv of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, as the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, barred the Federal Government from
retrying him, based on the N7.1 billion money laundering charge the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, earlier preferred against him.The court, in the judgement that was delivered by trial Justice Inyang Ekwo, depended on a decision the Supreme Court provided on May 8, 2020
, to stop additional procedures in the criminal case the EFCC set up against Kalu and his company, Slok Nigeria Limited.Justice Ekwo worried that the peak court had in its judgement, specifically purchased the retrial of Kalu’s co-defendant, Mr. Jones Udeogu, who was a previous Director of Finance in Abia State.He kept in mind that while Udeogu was the Appellant in the said appeal that was chosen by the Supreme Court, Kalu and his company, were just cited as Respondents in the matter.Justice Ekwo held that it would be legally incorrect for Kalu and his firm to be subjected to fresh trial, when the apex court did not make such order while deciding Udeogu’s appeal.He stated the proof prior to him showed that the Supreme Court only ordered the return of Udeogu’s case-file for retrial, with no mention of either Kalu or his firm.
“Can this court broaden the order of the Supreme Court by purchasing the retrial of the Defendants in this case “, Justice Ekwo queried, keeping that inline with judicial hierarchy, it would be legally wrong for his court to work out jurisdiction not given to it by the Constitution.Moreso, he held that the Supreme Court could not have actually ordered Kalu’s retrial
, because he never ever looked for such relief.”The court can not grant relief to a celebration who did not seek exact same prior to it. The 1st Defendant (Kalu)neither sought nor obtained retrial. No such order was made.”A law court need to stop where the statute dropped in the workout of its jurisdiction. This court, by the pronouncement of the Supreme Court, is task bound to proceed with retrial of the 2nd Respondent(Udeogu). “The court is not a proper place for issue of sentiment, however the law”, Justice Ekwo added.He held that there was benefit in the suit Kalu filed to challenge the legal propriety of his scheduled re-arraignment by the EFCC.Besides, Justice Ekwo dismissed EFCC’s counter-affidavit EFCC against Kalu’s fit on the property that it was” pre-emptive, speculative, opinionated
“, and against section 115 (1)and(2)of Evidence Act, 2011. He held that Kalu’s case was founded on the legal principle of” autrefois found guilty “, which restricts his retrial for the exact same offense he was formerly tried for and founded guilty.
“The case of the Appellant should succeed on its merit and has so been successful. The judgement of the Supreme Court is last and can not be relitigated”, Justice Ekwo added.He held that permitting EFCC to retry Kalu and his company would amount to infraction of section
36(9)and (10)of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, along with area 283 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, 2015. Specifically, the court released an order, “restricting the Federal
Republic of Nigeria through the EFCC, her agents, officers, servants, privies and any other individual or bodies deriving authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria
from retrying the Applicant on Charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/ 56/07 F. R. N. VS. Orji Uzor Kalu & 2 Ors. or any other charge based on the exact same facts-the stated Applicant having actually been attempted, convicted and sentenced by the Judgement or this Honourable Court dated the 5th day of December, 2019, under the hand of Hon. Justice M. B. Idris, JCA.As well as,”An order prohibiting the Federal Republic of Nigeria through the EFCC, her representatives, her officers, servants, privies and any other individual or bodies obtaining authority from the Federal Republic of Nigeria from retrying the Applicant on charge No. FHC/ABJ/CR/ 56/07 F. R. N. VS. Orji Uzor Kalu & 2 Ors. or any other charge based upon the same truths de novo, there being no extant Judgement or Ruling of a proficient court in Nigeria mandating same”. The court nevertheless fixed January 11, 12 and 13 for retrial of Kalu’s co-defendant, Udeogu.Meanwhile, EFCC, through attorney, Mr. Oluwaleke Atolagbe, promised to appeal the judgement which it described as a miscarriage of justice.EFCC proceeded to appeal the termination of its witch hunt plot against one of the South East’s the majority of trustworthy potential presidential candidates in 2023-Senator Orji Uzor Kalu.Now let us look at the two other laughable actions of the EFCC which are likely to be associated with a formidably planned political campaign to reject the South & East of the prospect of ending up being the successor to president Buhari next year.The first is the case of the former governor of Imo State Mr. Rochas Okorocha who left office over half a years earlier but EFCC did not file or develop charges against him till the same day that this man declared his intent to contest for the workplace of president in 2023 twenty hours ago.The concern to ask is why will the EFCC wait till Rochas Okorocha declared to go to prosper Muhammadu Buhari prior to it struck by filing charges before the Federal High Court?There was an effort to utilize the media by the EFCC’S propaganda maker to politically destroy Senator Anyim Pius Anyim
who is among the only Nigerian conscious have held 2 key federal positions as Senate president at a time and at another epoch, he ended up being the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.But the attempt to use the media against Senator Anyim stopped working flat on its face because as it is said, a clear conscience fears no accusation. Chief Anyim Pius Anyim who is likewise a versatile practicing lawyer and political leader, took his time to provide ground breaking explanation on why he went to the EFCC when words filtered into his ears that someone mentioned his name in a matter which he went to the anti-graft commission to clarify.But the current arrest of among the most singing campaigners for South East presidency of Nigeria in 2023 chief Osita Okechukwu is another guideline to the supposed plot by EFCC to stop the South East from clinching the office of Nigeria president next year May 29th 2023. Already, info has linked Okechukwu’s arrest to amongst others his political differences with the details minister Lai Mohammed the political boy of Bola Ahmed Tinubu who nurses ambition to succeed Buhari.Fresh facts have emerged from an inadequately hatched propaganda maker of perhaps the minister of information on why the Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria( VON), Osita Okechukwu, landed in the web of among the anti-graft firms in the nation, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC). Okechukwu, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC )and an ally of President Muhammadu Buhari given that the days of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change(CPC), was detained by the EFCC on Saturday. The VON manager, who was still with the anti-graft company when filing this report, is being quizzed by the fracture investigators of the commission over a case of conspiracy, abuse of office, and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N1.3 billion. VON, one of the federal companies under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, was mainly developed with the mandate of relaying Nigeria’s perspectives, and to forecast Nigeria
‘s positive image to the worldwide community in addition to making the country’s voice heard on the African continent. Quickly after President Buhari’s emergence in 2015, Okechukwu, a prominent politician and among the stakeholders of APC from the South East region of the nation, was designated to man the agency.

His visit was referred to as a benefit for his guts, loyalty and steadfastness to Buhari and the CPC, which later on combined with APC in 2014. Particularly, Okechukwu was designated on May 24, 2016, and he has actually been handling the affairs of the company till today. He was, nevertheless, welcomed by the EFCC to answer some questions regarding the finances of the agency. According to a petition acquired by Daily Trust, some of the sins allegedly committed by Okechukwu, who got to the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in Abuja at about 1.32 pm on Saturday to honour the invitation extended to him and to react to a few of the allegations against him are captured below: Disregard for info minister: there is a reported cold war in between the minister of info and culture, Lai Mohammed, and the

VON employer over the award of some agreements in the agency he superintends. It was said that the embattled federal firm employer concerned himself as Buhari’s man who will always have his method as far as the award of agreements in the firm was worried. He was alleged to have actually formed the routine of bypassing the minister on the problems that associate with his agency.

Breach of Procurement Act-Okechukwu was alleged to have actually breached the Procurement Act by granting some agreements to his relations without due option to the law. Specifically, he was stated to have actually granted a contract for the building of an ICT data centre at the newly acquired VON office to his nephew, Emeka, of ECR Technology Service Limited at the sum of N47 million. Apart from that, the task was not finished regardless of being paid fully however was accredited completed by the firm. The agreement was granted on the 2nd of May, 2017 even before the EFCC turned over the newly obtained residential or commercial property to the firm. N1bn ICT facilities fund ‘squandered’ -It was also declared that about N1 billion reserved as a fund for Communication, technology, and info( ICT )for the firm, was expended without the board’s approval and it was apparently misused under Okechukwu’s management in between 2017 and 2020.”The quantity of money spent on ICT in VON, if it was carefully

used, might have turned VON into a first-rate ICT centre in Nigeria,”the petition partially read.

The site of the firm, which is anticipated to release in a minimum of 8 languages in order to reach its target audience, was said to have limited itself to relaying or releasing in English Language only. Another politically made allegation is Contract splitting in which two various contracts amounting to N15 million and N43 million respectively were awarded to the very same business,

ECR Technology Service Limited for the supply of 50 and 150 digital audio recorders in supposed case of agreement splitting. In the very same vein, an agreement on the supply of software application for the agency worth N21 million was awarded to Okechukwu’s

nephew’s buddy who owns Eppin Forest Engineering Limited, however presumably provided software application for less than N5 million. Anofher absurd charge is bypassing FEC for approval of OB Van replacement in which it is alleged that Outside Broadcast van worth N150 million was to go to the Federal Executive Council for approval however it was said that was refrained from doing, rather he proceeded to the Bureau of Public Procurement for approval to buy CODEX makers for the very same purpose that costs N50 million. It was stated(who stated?)that the remaining N100 million might not be represented. The tissue of propaganda in Daily Trust reports that the tenure of the embattled VON DG ended in May last year and he apparently acquired a renewal and maneuvered for another term of five years without the understanding of the info minister. The minister has actually refused to issue a statement on his renewal to date, with Okechukwu remaining foot in the company. Following this development, worried personnel of the Voice of Nigeria (VON )have actually been getting in touch with Minister Mohammed to avoid the imminent breakdown of order in the organisation following a vacuum produced after the expiration of the tenure of Mr. Osita Okechikwu on the 23rd May 2021. On Monday, May 24, 2021, Osita was faced by personnel to present a letter of reappointment, which he did not on

that day before leaving the office. Last year, the concerned staff requested the info minister to step in and give a quick direction for piloting the affairs of VON pending approval of substantive DG while asking Mr. Osita to steer stay clear of VON to avoid any shame from a currently tensed staff of the Corporation. These personnel revolt might likely to be prompted by the man who

does not desire anything to empower somebody like Osita Okechukwu who is campaigning for Igbo presidency.It is apparent that EFCC for a long time has actually been utilized by the president to go after his opponents and it is rumoured that members of the presidential cabal who are mainly those pulling the strings in EFCC do not want the South East as the president in 2023 for whatever reason.It is nevertheless not today that EFCC has actually been called out to stop been used for project of witch hunt.Last year previous Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, advised the

brand-new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (INEC ), Abdulrasheed Bawa not to succumb to pressure to utilize the anti-graft agency to witch-hunt opposition political leaders so as not to call into question its credibility.His assertion was available in the wake of the Court of Appeal’s acquittal of High Chief

Raymond Dokpesi, the founder of Ray Power and AIT over money laundering charges.Atiku expressed his “pleasure and solidarity”with the PDP chieftain over the Court’s decision in connection with

the supposed N2.1 billion money laundering charges brought against him by EFCC related to the arms agreements under previous National Security Adviser Sambo Dasuki.A statement from the former Vice President’s media workplace on Friday signed by Paul Ibe said he was elated with the result of the trial due to the fact that it exposed the truth about the lopsided nature of the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration.According to Atiku,”the entire anti-corruption trials appear to be concentrated on opposition political leaders, therefore calling into question the trustworthiness of the anti-graft firm.”The former Vice President recalled that throughout the 2019 presidential election, the EFCC focused its time and resources on harassing and arraigning aides of opposition political leaders, while it was indifferent to how members of the ruling party were financing their campaigns.The former presidential prospect of the PDP kept in mind that even members of the international community are now pertaining to terms with the truth that the anti-corruption crusade is not objective, which the federal government is now utilizing the anti-corruption policy to contrive charges against those they wish to utilize to advance certain political objectives.Atiku said he was impressed with the visit of Abdul Rasheed Bawa as EFCC chairman, however recommended him to learn from
the mistakes of his predecessors.The Wazirin Adamawa advised Bawa that his success will undoubtedly be figured out by Nigerians and not by the government of the day and the ruling party.
“As a young man of great intellect and confidence, I’m positive that you are up to the task. You need to be all set to restore the splendor of the EFCC by altering its public understanding as a political tool of the government in power. Let your conscience and history judge you.
But you can only do so if you resist external control. May Allah guide you aright,” Atiku even more told Bawa.The Benue State guv Samuel Ortom who is not particularly liked by President Buhari due to the fact that of his outspokenness on the incessant armed Fulani terrorism, had implicated EFCC of being
used.For circumstances, on August 7, 2018, two weeks after defecting from the APC to the Peoples Democratic Party, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom accused the EFCC of freezing the state’s bank accounts.Prior to this development, hardly five days after his defection, the anti-graft agency had implicated the governor of fraud to the tune of N22bn.The EFCC mentioned that the governor, in between June 2015 and March 2018, ordered the withdrawal of N21.3 bn from four of the state’s bank accounts.Out of the sum, about N19bn was stated to be meant for the payment of six security agencies that had been deployed in the state to address the incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers.However, the EFCC claimed that less than N3bn of the money was paid to the security companies, while the rest could not be accounted for.Responding, Ortom had asked a series of questions,”Why am I being examined by the EFCC? My records exist. So far, I am the only guv in Nigeria whose security vote is being investigated by the EFCC.”How could you single me out of 36( guvs)for
examination? It(security vote )is not something that any government will start to divulge. Why should Benue State’s case be various– if not persecution?EFCC has continued to deny this allegation but keeps doing things that open them as much as allegations of political witch hunt. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2018, discussed that it is an establishment mandated to combat corruption in the country and never ever a tool utilized for witch-hunt as hypothesized by some people.The zonal Head of the Commission in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Abdulkarim Chukkol, stated this in Uyo while responding
to allegation that the firm was being used by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to witch-hunt rival parties in the state.He said the firm dealt with realities stating because its offices were opened in the state, it has actually secured eight convictions and over 256 others throughout the country throughout the years.”We have been in the state for about a year and four months now. A lot of activities have gone on in the state and we secured 8 convictions from Akwa Ibom State and 256 across the country.”We have lots of cases that are lining up for examination before we litigate. I can ensure you in the coming years we are going to protect more convictions,”Chukkol said.The zonal head said that corruption war must not be left for the commission and government alone, stressing that the war must be battled by all Nigerians.According to him, “Combating corruption is the responsibility of all us. The function of this day is to create awareness on the dangers of corruption. All Nigerians must prepared, each and everyone has a role to play.”He said EFCC would continue to work with CSOs and ngos to create awareness and remove corruption from our country.The realities of EFCC’S witch-hunt against Igbo political leaders is disturbing and this must be dropped in all ways legal. EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO, A POLITICAL AND MEDIA STRATEGIST was National commissioner of the NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION OF NIGERIA.