The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders CACOL, has backed the steps being taken by the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption to reopen the case of former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili. The Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Itse Sagay recently disclosed to media that the corruption case involving N100bn for which the former Governor got the judgment of Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court for granting him a perpetual injunction to him from prosecution.
Comrade Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) in backing the decision of the Committee to reopen the case said, “Nigeria is a country that has a constitution and that is the ground norm which all Nigerians must abide by. Granting anyone perpetual injunction against prosecution even when there are tangible evidences that show that crimes have been committed is definitely antithetical to constitutionalism and moral justice.”
“Peter Odili got a perpetual injunction which forever froze his case till now. The EFCC began moves to swoop on Rivers state officials in late 2006 when it issued a report of investigation into the state’s finances in which it said over N100 billion was diverted during Odili’s two terms. The report contained allegations of large-scale fraud, conspiracy, conversion of public funds, foreign exchange malpractice, money laundering, stealing and abuse of oath of office against the former governor. To stave off impeding prosecution of officials, the then Rivers state Attorney General went to court and got a perpetual injunction in March 2007 restraining the EFCC from investigating the state government which was very wrong.” said Mr. Debo Adeniran.
“A year later, months after he had left office in May 2007, Odili himself went to court and asked to be made to benefit from the injunction and the court granted his prayers, making him perpetually immune from arrest, investigation or prosecution. The perpetual injunction awarded to Peter Odili effectively made him a ‘legal fugitive’. This is another case of unconstitutional ‘immunity’ we are waiting for to be quashed. I believe many evidences would by now be nowhere and some witnesses either gone or died. Serious fight against corruption must start with the judiciary especially our judges.” Mr. Adeniran stated.
Speaking further, he said “the double standards of our justice delivery system is not acceptable, Judges should stop the act of giving ridiculous injunctions in favour of high profile looters but pass stiff judgments on common Nigerians, which is one of the reason why corruption is so endemic among the leaders. Looters know that if they could the Judges compromised, justice will always sway in their favour.”
“Beyond reopening the case, we are calling for Justice Ibrahim Buba to be investigated for granting Odili a “perpetual injunction”, the National Judicial Council, NJC should play its role in this regard. Even the Supreme Court has declared that the perpetual injunction is illegal, so if Buba fails to justify such ruling, he should be prosecuted for his action. The judiciary must be really be cleansed if the fight against corruption is to have any impetus.” concluded CACOL Chairman.
Media Coordinator, CACOL
October 4, 2016