There is nothing more criminal to interpret the law in a way to enable you steal another man’s property.
Nigeria Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has demonstrated or showcased a character that required us to investigate the oath of allegiance he pledged.
If it is to promote justice in Nigeria or for reason best known to him if he’s commissioned to manipulate the law to take advantage of criminal act to promote criminality.
Obviously, since he became the Minister of Justice, criminality in Nigeria have continued to spread and wax stronger and stronger unabated.
From Boko Haram to herders-farmers killings, banditry, all manners of kidnapping unlike before, criminal Fulani advancement of raping, kidnapping, mass killing of people from North now down South, ritual killings, political instability, economic war between North and South and so many more but few to mention.
On Tuesday, the United Kingdom government announced plan to return £4.2 million stolen by the Former Delta State Governor, James Onanefe Ibori.
The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami also on Tuesday at the MoU signing ceremony with the UK government said President Muhammadu Buhari has directed all recovered illicit financial inflow to be used to finance federal government projects, specifically the construction of the Second Niger Bridge, Kano-Abuja road and Lagos-Ibadan road.
This drew the attention of the civil society organization, Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ to organise urgent press conference and demanded the money be returned to Delta state and not Federal Government.
ANEEJ also demanded the two governments to disclose publicly the real amount recovered from James Onanefe Ibori.
Abubakar Malami thereafter in an interview during Politics Today programme on Channels Television Tuesday said the federal government is expecting £100 million from the United Kingdom being stolen assets by James Onanefe Ibori.
He added that the about to be repatriated £4.2 million is part of the £100 million expected and remaining amount is still under judicial processes and trial.
He said the recovered money belongs to the federal government because it was federal law that was breached and not Delta state law.
Delta State government through the state commissioner of Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu has since reacted, describing the development for federal government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari to take what belongs to Delta state as an act of wickedness.
Femi Falana condemned the action of the Minister of Justice for saying it was federal law that was breached hence the federal government owes the money.
Femi Falana explained with references where federal government prosecuted and recovered funds stolen from Bayelsa and Plateau States were repatriated and returned to the state governments. Adding federal government never took the money because it was federal law that was breached.
Femi Falana emphasized that the Ibori loot should be given to Delta State and the action of the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and President Muhammadu Buhari to take what belong to Delta State is unconstitutional and specifically it is in variance with section 162 of the 1999.
Though many Nigerians argued the money should be forfeited to the Federal government as a way of punishment to the people of Delta State whom some of them never accepted that James Onanefe Ibori stole and they welcomed Ibori in an heroic way when he was released from prison in the United Kingdom.
Another school of thought dismissed the foregoing assertion on the basis that corruption is a criminal conspiracy that do involve so many people as accomplice.
The group of Nigerians maintained that the function of government specifically federal government in the case under review is to help people of Delta State recover their money no matter the conspiracy of the fewer or powerful members of the state.
This, the group said it’s the reason why criminal case is a case between the state and the offender. Adding, if criminal case is left for the victim, the offender may evade justice by well orchestrated conspiracy.
Another group of Nigerians cited the October 25, 2013 High Court Judgement that ordered Central Bank of Nigeria to forfeit the $15 million to federal government, being money the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC alleged was bribe money James Onanefe Ibori intended to stop the commission former chairman, Nuhu Ribadu from investigating and prosecuting him in 2007.
The Nigerians maintained that same is applicable to the £4.2 million Ibori loot United Kingdom government is set to repatriate.
For the avoidance of doubt, Justice Gabriel Kolawole was probably very objective and professional in his ruling that the $15 million being forfeited to federal government.
Reason be, EFCC could not provide evidence to show that the money belong to Ibori. Ibori vehemently denied ownership of the money. Delta state government could also not provide evidence to show that the $15 million money EFCC alleged it picked up from the residence of the former Presidential aide to Olusegun Obasanjo and the then Director of Operations of EFCC and former Chairman of the anti graft commission, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde belong to James Onanefe Ibori.
In line with the foregoing, the court could not validate the ownership of the mysterious money hence it declared the money as “No man’s cash”.
The court thereafter considered the money as national asset that should be treated as miscellaneous income or revenue to Federal government for the nation’s development.
Difference between the $15 million and the current £4.2 million is that the court could not validate the ownership of the former but the later was legally validated to be money illicitly owned by James Onanefe Ibori. Being proceed of corruption while he was the Governor of Delta State between 1999 and 2007.
Delta State as a component that made up Federal government, its right of ownership is the federal law that was breached.
There is no law or aspect of the 1999 constitution that empowered anyone or federal government by reason of protecting its citizens right or promoting criminal justice allows the federal government or anyone take what belongs to another knowingly and unknowingly.
Abubakar Malami should accept the fact that this is a clear case of administrative robbery.
Kindly support our vision of building a community of one million pen soldiers whose successes will be judged based on positive development in the society