The President of Rights Monitoring Group, a coalition of 45 civil society groups, Comrade Olufemi Aduwo, has called on President Buhari to sack Mr. Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla from office and remove him as a member of all government bodies with immediate effect before he commits more damage and further tarnished the image of the government.
Recall that the Hon. Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, has directed Obla to “henceforth desist from carrying out any operation in his capacity as Head of Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property. The AG clearly stated that the actions of Obla ran in contrary to the enabling convention that established the panel. The most disturbing development is not only that Obla still parades himself and act as the Chairman of the panel but he has equally embarked on desperate measures to reinvent himself after he got his fingers burnt on the reinstatement of Maina; insults and venoms he dished out against judges. His activities are clearly at variance with anti – corruption policy direction of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption and also undermining the operational existence of both the Code of Conduct Bureau which is a creation of the constitution, EFCC and ICPC created by an act of the National Assembly. Before and after his initial appointment as Special Adviser on Prosecutorial Matters, Obla has proven himself as someone with
unquenchable appetite for grandstanding, obstinacy, belligerence, controversy, arrogance and bellicosity. His uneven antagonism and addiction to lack of decorum in public space is legendary. He always exhibits a high temperament and confrontational posture with every one that dares tell him the truth making him very allergic to advice, such person should not be encouraged to occupy any position in democratic setting.
We have it on impeccable authority that the perception about him is that he tried to apply the strategy of naked interference with processes in the prosecution of cases being investigated by the statutory anti-corruption agencies but was resisted and the Presidential Advisory Committee led by Prof. Itse Sagay in the struggle to assert independence and professionalism in handing of all the cases either being investigated or prosecuted. Unfortunately, Obla failed to differentiate between the powers of Presidential Adviser on Prosecution in the Office of the Attorney General, Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property and naked interference in the operations of other statutory agencies.
His unwarranted penchant for subterranean schemes is becoming over kill to the extent that cases already diligently investigated and concluded due to inability to establish prima facie are now selectively being resurrected in order to establish a guilty verdict at all cost on some of the accused persons. We have found it germane to draw public attention to the emerging trends under the agenda of political opponents using the Obla’s panel to settle scores with an eye on the 2019 elections. If not an agenda of political witch-hunting; political undertone; and sinister motive, why the double standard of resurrecting some cases and at the same time burying others, we are concerned that in spite of Obla’s stance and conduct, many camels have passed through the needle’s eye bearing the Orwellian tag of “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others”.
It is shameful, scandalous, unethical and abuse of power for Obla to allow himself to be perceived as the one covering up one grievous misdeed by protecting some people, while on the other hand intimidating anti- corruption agencies in the discharge of their duties by the same Obla that insulted Judges, used unprintable language and derogatory words against them in relation to their official conduct. This is, indeed, the height of insincerity, hypocrisy and double standards calculated to beguile the Presidency and Nigerians. Why confer immunity on some people while in another case crossing the red line from prosecution to persecution? Particularly, in cases that were no link, let alone a sufficient link between the accused and the so-called offences.
Rather than use his office to ensure speedy trial of kidnappers, armed bandits and real corrupt persons, he is busy resorting to confrontation and suffocation of statutory anti- corruption agencies. Unfortunately, Obla always choose to stir up unwarranted and unnecessary controversy. In one breath, talking about prosecution of offenders, in another, using uncanny ways of not seeing the people around him with questionable wealth suspected to be the money bags urging him to contest for a Senatorial seat during the forth-coming 2019 election. Happily, by our laws, offenders are presumed innocent until a prima facie case has been established against the accused persons and the courts upon which they are tried, weight the evidences, before exacting punishment and sentence. It is not a kangaroo process that one would foresee premeditated trial and conviction
I commend the Nigerian Judiciary officers for their steadfastness, consistency and sense of being ministers in the temple of justice and their resolve at strengthening justice and democratic values in the discharge of their official functions. We implore that if any accused person standing trial is persecuted under the guise of being prosecuted, they should in the interest of justice continue to deliver justice and free the innocent individuals being prosecuted unjustly. We urge Obla to realize that human beings are all meant to be part of history and therefore the decision is entirely at his own discretion to leave either positive or negative foot prints, just like the case of Chief Mike Kaase Aondoakaa, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice witnessed by Nigerians. One day the tenure of Obla will be subjected to intense scrutiny including the jurisprudential analysis of all the cases of individuals he prosecuted or persecuted.