A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Constitutional lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, yesterday, described, as farcical, the story that National Intelligence Agency, (NIA), Nigeria’s external secret police has claimed ownership of the large hill of $43.4m, £27,800 and N23.2m.
He said, “Let this government and its minions credit Nigerians with some modicum of sense and capacity to reason, even with their valiant attempts to cow, browbeat and intimidate all opposition elements and critical voices in their so called corruption war.
At least, not even the terror halo cast on our individual and collective psyche has dulled our analytical minds.
“The entire theatricality and Baba Sala’s Alawada Kerikeri buffoonery ought to be reserved for some circus show at the National theatre or Traffagal Square, where comedians and humour merchants entertain.
The emergent facts do not show NIA’s ownership of the money, but grand cover-up of a serving minister’s ownership of the money.
It is so, so sad that all these national diversions are simply geared towards highlighting and emphasising the omnipotence and indispensability of just one man, Ibrahim Magu, as Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“We should build strong institutions, not strong individuals.
Before Ibrahim Magu, there was a Nuhu Ribadu; there was a Mrs. Waziri: and there was an Ibrahim Lamorde. After Magu, there would still be another EFCC Executive Chairman.
All these so-called humongous recoveries of orphaned monies are simply geared towards showcasing ineffable efficiency, effectiveness and matchless proficiency.
It simply doesn’t work that way. In the USA, wherefrom we borrowed our presidentialism, the equivalent agency works silently behind the scene, only seen, but never heard, except where it becomes absolutely necessary.
“But, here in Nigeria, the EFCC engages in grotesque media trial, hifalutin and shocking disclosures of orphaned monies whose destinations after the media hype is never known.
Where are all the alleged recoveries of vast sums, attached properties, etc, made by the EFCC, kept and how much are they?
When asked this question by the Senate during screening, Magu told a shocked and bewildered Nation he did not know!”
In his own reaction, a Public lawyer, Dr. Abdul Mahmud, noted that the general duties and specific responsibilities of the NIA as stated in Section 2(2) of the National Security Agencies Act, 1986 are: (a)
The general maintenance of the security of NIGERIA OUTSIDE NIGERIA, concerning matters that are not related to military issues; and(b) such other responsibilities affecting national intelligence OUTSIDE NIGERIA as the National Defence Council or the President, as the case may be, may deem necessary.
He further noted that the covert operations “scattered around Nigeria, with a major one in Lagos” which the $50m was meant for, as reported in the media, are illegal.
“To run covert operations in Nigeria, let alone Lagos, is to encroach on the duties of the SSS as provided for in Section 3 of the Act as stated above. The truth is still blowing in the wind”, he stated.