Report according to Post Nigeria suggests that there are strong indications that the Federal Government may have concluded plans to invite former President, Goodluck Jonathan, to come and answer some of the issues raised by the former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, in his latest confession, over the controversial arms deal scandal.
Obanikoro’s return to Nigeria from the United States of America, USA, to ‘willingly’ surrender to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has further indicted Jonathan, and the Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose, in the arms deal scandal.
Obanikoro, who was a Minister during the administration of Jonathan, was accused of being involved in the infamous arms scam, as N4.75 billion slush funds, was reportedly traced to his bank account.
His visit to the EFCC, was considered a surprise, as he had earlier vowed not to return to Nigeria, and also dared President Muhammadu Buhari, to extradite him from the US.
According to the statement made to the EFCC, Obanikoro said N4.745 billion was wired to a company named Sylva Mcnamara, within a period of seven months, in 2014. He revealed that N2.23 billion was transferred to Fayose, out of the slush funds, which were endorsed by Jonathan.
“The EFCC will seek for the permission of President Buhari, to invite his predecessor, Jonathan, to come and clarify some of these allegations. We need to put the matter to rest. We pray that Buhari will concede to our request,” a high profile source in the EFCC said
Reacting, Professor Fidelis Oditah, SAN, said, “Does he (Jonathan) have immunity? Is he not a Nigerian? Everybody is equal before the law. He should be questioned. Many leaders in Africa have gone to jail for corruption. We should avail ourselves the opportunity to combat corruption, by showing people they won’t get off scot-free, when they leave office, having plundered the State.”
He added: “There is nothing political about it. If I steal money, won’t I be investigated? Won’t the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission invite me? Is that political? Why should politicians be provided with a life-long immunity from being probed? If he (Jonathan) is probed, some people will say the past President’s can of worm is opened. That is the problem we have in this country. We must make it clear to everyone, that no one is above the law. At some point, you must be held accountable for your stewardship. I don’t think quizzing Jonathan, has anything to do with politics. It is about cleaning the system, and enforcing our laws.”
Also Speaking, Femi Aina (a Lawyer), corroborated what Fidelis said: “the onus is on the EFCC, to go where evidence takes them, as an investigating agency. However, care should be taken, because it is normal for an accused person to blame someone else for their criminal conduct.
”The responsibility for the security vote, lies with the former President (Goodluck Jonathan), as the Commander-in-Chief; as such, there is nothing wrong if he is invited to provide clarification on some of the issues raised by (Musiliu) Obanikoro, and other cabinet members.
“The EFCC needs to move promptly, to interview the former President, to tell Nigerians the exact order or instruction that he gave to a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, or Obanikoro, so that the matters could move to court as soon as possible, because any further delay would erode public confidence, if it is not already eroded.”
On the contrary, Dr. Konyinsola Ajayi, SAN, stated:
“I don’t think former President Goodluck Jonathan, should be probed by the EFCC, because there is no reason for that yet. If any of his Ministers have been found culpable of corruption, then they should be probed and prosecuted by the EFCC. But since there is nothing linking Jonathan, I will not agree that he should be probed.”
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