CORRUPTION: A FAMILY AFFAIR?

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THERE MUST NOT BE A SACRED COW!

Submitted: May 06, 2008

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Submitted: May 06, 2008

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 EFCC MUST PROSECUTE IYABO OBASANJO

...THERE MUST NOT BE A SACRED COW!

BY: HAMMED SHAKIRAT OLUWATOMIWO

The issue of corruption in Nigeria should not be treated with disdain. The latest one is the claim that Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, the daughter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a serving Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is missing.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFFC, made the weighty allegation. Its alleged futile attempts to arrest Iyabo has led to series of media exchanges, none of which has produced Iyabo in court, or answered the simple question of her whereabouts.

Iyabo cannot be missing. None of her relations has raised any alarms about her. If there were doubts about her location, the family should express concerns.

The EFCC cannot arrest Iyabo. It is admitting failure. The times she evaded arrests confirm that there are moles in the EFCC.  Why would the EFCC complain to the public about its failure to execute a simple task of arresting a suspect for interrogation?

Ordinary Nigerians should be relieved of this matter. The law is on EFCC’s side to arrest people, to interrogate them, to charge them to court, on certain issues. The only exceptions are those with immunity.

From 2006 when the EFCC expended public funds trying to arrest people with immunity, it was relentless in these efforts.  It went to court in bids to sidetrack the immunity of some public office holders, and felt bad that it failed in the unconstitutional moves.

Precedents are available of how the EFCC has used its powers. It investigated the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, it had a long list of governors it investigated, yet they had immunity. Former Senate President Adolphus Wabara was charged to court on allegations of accepting bribe from the Ministry of Education – the EFCC handled the case.


What is so special about Iyabo? We consider her innocent until otherwise proved. Why would the Senate provide all sorts of subterfuges  to cover the embarrassment that Iyabo has become to the law and the Senate. Nigerians are watching this unfolding melodramatic affront on our laws.

There was a time it was a criminal offence to harbour anyone fleeing from the law. With the Iyabo saga, is it no longer an offence to provide refuge for suspects? Each day she dodges the law and cries in the media about issues that she has with a law that the father, as President was the main author, she diminishes the Constitution that bears her oath of office. She swore to obey all laws of the federation.

Iyabo is making things a bit difficult for herself, possibly with the connivance of the EFCC. She has to make herself available to the EFCC, which says she needs to clear herself on this issue. Why are other Committee members not on the run?

However, it is up to the EFCC to fish out Iyabo and charge her to court. Otherwise, it has no further rights to arrest other Nigerians, no matter their offences, or continue the prosecution of others involved in the alleged N300 million Ministry of Health fraud.


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