THE federal government is going tough on the late General Sani Abacha family. On Thursday, April 10, the government filed a fresh nine-count criminal charge against Mohammed Abacha, eldest son of the late military dictator, accusing him of unlawfully receiving about N446.3billion allegedly stolen from government’s coffers between 1995 and 1998 and concealed same.
In the charge, the government alleged that Mohammed “dishonestly received stolen property and voluntarily assisted in concealing money.” The charge, according to government, replaced an earlier 121 criminal counts in which Mohammed was sued alongside Atiku Bagudu, one of his alleged accomplices. According to the charge, Mohammed allegedly received £141,100,000 and $384,353,000 in cash and travellers cheques.
Daniel Enwelum, a private prosecutor, has been hired by the government to prosecute the case. Mohammed was not in court when the case came up, but Enwelum assured Justice Mamman Kolo of the high court, Federal Capital Territory, that he had been served and wondered why he did not present himself for arraignment. As requested by Enwelum, Justice Kolo allowed the amended charge. He also granted an order discharging Bagudu from the charge and adjourned the hearing till April 29 for Mohammed Abacha’s arraignment.
Anyaoku Wants Presidential System Discarded
EMEKA Anyaoku, former secretary-general of Commonwealth, believes the current presidential system being operated in Nigeria as expensive and wasteful. He, therefore, called for a return to regional system of government where the country would be ran along six geo-political zones.
Anyaoku who spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, at the fourth edition of Emeka Anyaoku Lecture series on “Good Governance,” argued that the presidential system would not allow for genuine growth, healthy competition, development and peace of the constituent parts. He said: “I am worried and continued to be worried about Nigeria especially with the election coming in 2015. I agree with people urging our young ones to go out, register and vote to bring about the change we need but I must confess that the present structure of governance in this country is not one that will make for peace and stability of this country.
“It will not produce any improvement. We should look at the structure of this country. We were a lot better when we had a federation of four regions. We live at a time of serious national crisis. I believe our country is in a very serious crisis and I hope so that the current national conference will provide us with golden possibly unrepeated opportunity to discuss and arrive at a national consensus on how to get our country back to the right path.”
In her contribution, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, a member of the House of Representatives, said only true federalism would save the country from her sundry challenges particularly corruption. Dabiri, who was the guest speaker at the event, blamed the current nation’s woes on “leadership failure at the federal level,” and urged Nigerians particularly the youths to be part of the change being sought in the country. She said: “We must practice federalism, there is no debate about it is the major challenge in Nigeria and you know what we think a certain section of the country does not want it. If you go to state like Zamfara, if you see what they have in terms of mineral resources, if they control their own resources, they would have been the richest state in Nigeria today. We have to practice real federalism which we are not doing. Our problem really is not about structure or no structure, it is about implementing what we have, is about political will and I think the major thing we must tackle now is corruption.”
When Security Becomes Paramount
IBRAHIM Shekarau, former governor of Kano State wants everything to be done to bring about security of lives and property before holding elections in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno. Speaking with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, on Thursday, April 10, Shekarau said security should be guaranteed before elections could be held in the states. The former governor who defected from the All Progressives Congress, to join the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said: “You see as a democrat, I always insist that let there be elections to allow people to decide their fate, but this does not necessarily mean we conduct elections under a volatile situations. If there are threats to lives, who are you going to govern; even if you win the election? So it is not safe and I don’t see anybody spitting fire on it. The truth is that let the governors, the federal government and all concerned join hands and assess the situation. What will the federal government gain or INEC gain if they don’t conduct elections in any state? But if it is in the interest of the public, the lives and security of the people are far more important than any election that you can think of.”
Meanwhile, governors of the three states under emergency rule in the Northeast opposed yesterday the attempt to extend the controversial measure. The second strand of the emergency rule is expected to end on April 19. Besides rejecting the extension of emergency rule, the governors also want the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to learn from the recent general elections in Afghanistan and conduct polls in their states next year irrespective of the situation. The governors argued that shelving elections in the three states would amount to succumbing to or conceding victory to the deadly Boko Hram sect that has killed and displaced thousands of people from the states.
They asked INEC to work with the Federal Government to provide adequate security for a free and fair poll in the affected states. The governors – Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe) and Kashim Shettima (Borno) – gave the advice in a joint statement released through their spokesmen, including Ahmad Sajoh for Nyako, Abdullahi Bego for Gaidam and Isa Gusau for Shettima.
— Apr. 21, 2014 @ 01:00 GMT