Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, has blamed Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court for granting a perpetual injunction to a former Governor of Rivers State, Chief Peter Odili, which has scuttled the ex-governor’s prosecution.
Peter Odili Itse Sagay(SAN)
Buba’s order made it impossible for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and any other government anti-corruption agency from prosecuting or arresting Odili, who was accused of allegedly embezzling about N100bn of Rivers State money during his eight-year tenure as governor.
According to the Punch, Sagay further stated that the case could be reopened, adding that measures were being put in place to ensure that such an order was never granted again.
Read the Senior Advocate of Nigeria statement:
“What is happening now is unconstitutional; that judgment was unconstitutional. The judge who gave that perpetual injunction did what was unconstitutional.
“In effect, he was saying that the police should not do their work. He was removing the prosecutorial powers of the police and the prosecution in Nigeria.
“It is illegal and Supreme Court judgments have said so. So, the whole thing we should do now is to restore legality so that if you are charged, you should be able to come to court and defend yourself instead of asking that you should not be investigated.
“That (Odili’s injunction) is totally illegal and unconstitutional and not acceptable.”
“The important thing is not to give up because if you give up, the whole system will collapse.
“Personally, I have said any judge that gives an order of perpetual injunction against investigation, interrogation and arrest, should be regarded as having committed a serious act of wrongdoing, which should merit disciplinary action by the NJC. That is my proposal and I am going to push it that it should be regarded as an action that should attract discipline.
“I can assure you that under the new system that we are all running, there is no case that will be allowed to remain permanently under injunction. They will have to go through the process and be declared guilty or not guilty; in case of suspended cases, where a person is neither guilty nor innocent will no longer be allowed to exist.
“This case can be reopened, definitely.”