Given the anti-corruption commitment of the present regime, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has requested the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami SAN, to “urgently take steps to take over and prosecute all 31 former governors suspected of official corruption while in office.”
In an open letter to the AGF, SERAP said the action has become “necessary to send a strong signal that the President Muhammadu Buhari government will not tolerate high level official corruption no matter who is involved, and to secure public confidence and trust in the office of the Attorney General.”
In a letter dated 20 November 2015 and signed by SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the group said: “This request is brought to give practical effect to the exercise of the powers of the Attorney-General under Section 174(1) (b) of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). The request is also entirely consistent with your widely publicised commitment to audit and pursue high level corruption cases and end the impunity of perpetrators in the country.
“SERAP would like to draw your attention to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Report presented to the National Assembly in 2006 by the former Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Nuhu Ribadu. The Report, which was accepted and adopted by the National Assembly, documented the cases and indictments against 31 former governors.”
“SERAP urges you to seek and obtain a copy of the Report from the National Assembly, and to use this as a basis to pursue prosecution of the governors. Pursuing these cases would help to enhance public confidence and trust in the office of Attorney General, as previous occupiers of the office seemed to be disinterested in prosecuting or facilitating prosecution of high level cases of official corruption.
“SERAP believes that there is already a strong prima-facie case and sufficient information for you to exercise your constitutional authority and ensure that suspected perpetrators of high level official corruption are brought to justice fairly and to recover and repatriate stolen public wealth.”
According to the civil society body, “there is at the moment no greater public interest than an urgent and diligent prosecution of the cases of indicted 31 former governors. Because corruption is well entrenched in Nigeria, fighting it requires not only a minimum level of political will and an adequate and sensible strategy, but also involves being ready and able to confront powerful interest groups that clearly benefit from the status quo and will resist any such initiatives.”
“The full and effective prosecution of the former governors is a test case for the Buhari government’s commitment to fight corruption and end impunity of perpetrators in the country. By effectively prosecuting the indicted former governors, you would not only be exercising your constitutional mandate and authority but also protecting the sanctity and values entrenched in the 1999 Constitution. The allegations against the former governors are grave and prohibited by law.”