Buhari Given 14-Day Ultimatum To Prosecute Goje Or Face Citizens’ Actions
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has been given a 14-day ultimatum to either prosecute former Gombe State Governor, Danjuma Goje or face court action and public protest by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre).
A Federal High Court sitting in Jos has thrown out the corruption case where Danjuma Goje, now a Senator, is accused of fraud in a N25billion sleaze funds.
The office of the Attorney General of the Federation last Thursday has applied asking the court to halt the trial.
The former Governor of Gombe State, Goje was facing corruption charges initiated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) before the trial was later withdrawn by Nigerian authorities amidst speculations involving a political deal.
In a statement signed by the organisation’s Chairman, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, the group said the action of the FG confirms suspicion that Goje trial has been waved aside because of his decision to step as the Senate President for President Mohammadu Buhar’s prefered candidate, Senator Ahmed Lawan.
The group had last 2 weeks warned the office of the Attorney General of the Federation over its decision to take over the trial of Senator Danjuma Goje’s trial for corruption as being likely to pervert the cause of justice, the Human and Environmental Development Agenda, (HEDA) had said.
The group in a statement on Wednesday June 12 said “many Nigerians have the reason to suspect that transparency is being sacrificed on the altar of politics and horse-trading in the interest of the election of principal officers of the National Assembly.”
Former Gombe State Governor who was accused of misuse of N25b had faced investigations by the EFCC for years.
However, a new twist was introduced when the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Mallami was reported to have taken over the case from the EFCC.
When the case came up for emergency hearing before Justice Babatunde Quadri of the Federal High Court II in Jos, the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Wahab Shittu had said it was withdrawing from the case and handing it over to the office of the AGF, in response to the appearance of a counsel representing the AGF office.
The former Gombe Governor, Goje who is now a Senator elect had announced he was stepping down for Senate President aspirant, Ahmed Lawan believed to be favoured by the leadership of the ruling party and President Buhari.
According to HEDA, “There is grave concern the take over of the trial of Goje who has been accused of fraud involving huge sums of public funds will undermine justice. The decision of the AGF to take over the case from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) is raising a lot of concern. There is no justification for this decision. The EFCC is doing a great job through diligent prosecution. The sudden decision of the AGF to take over the case is suspicious. It sends wrong signals to local and international communities that vested political interests are bent on sabotaging the efforts of the EFCC and the entire gamut of anti-corruption campaign” the statement signed by HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju had noted.
HEDA said this withdrawal has no justification except to confirm the rife speculations that the case was compromised to meet “political considerations” as in previous cases taken over by the AGF office.
The leading anti-corruption group said the AGF had set “bitter precedents” that the fight against corruption is selective depending on the political camp the suspected culprits belong.”The withdrawal is in bad taste and this group will deploy all the constitutional legal means to defend public interest in this particular case”.
“The international community would be notified of this subversion of rule of law and justice by the present regime. Bilateral laws and agreement between Nigeria and other foreign nations will be explored to exposed both the government and the suspect. Constitutional provision on Nolle Prosqui is not pervert justice but protect public interest”, said the organisation’s Chairman.