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Why Iím after Ibori

Posted by By IKENNA EMEWU on 2007/12/16 | Views: 640 |

Why Iím after Ibori

Before the arrest and now arraignment of former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori by the EFCC on Thursday, there had been intrigues on whether he should face the law or not.

-Allens Agbaka, lawyer that got order for his arrest

Before the arrest and now arraignment of former Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori by the EFCC on Thursday, there had been intrigues on whether he should face the law or not.

The game got heightened when the EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu boasted that if he gets all the details about this ex-chief executive, he would become the guest of the crime-busting agency.

With this assurance, lawyer and human rights activist, Allens Agbaka, applied to the Federal High Court in Lagos for an order of mandamus to compel EFCC to arrest and prosecute Ibori. That gamble scaled the hurdles as the court granted the order as prayed. That was early this week.
Saturday Sun interviewed Agbaka, an indigene of Delta state but whose practice is based in Lagos, on his position on what the former Delta governor is going through.

Agbaka, a scion of the Gani Fawehinmi school of radical lawyers, takes the credit for the arrest and boasted that his action was a clincher that set the former governor into his present predicament.

Yes, I did it
It was an affirmative action and a wise move that yielded results. I must say, without mincing words, that the order I got to compel EFCC to arrest and prosecute Ibori did the magic. I know EFCC would have still been playing games and deep into hide and seek about Iboriís arrest, but I sensed there was no hiding place for any accused person, especially someone who has been so reasonably accused.

With the benefit of hindsight, I know we did it about Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos State governor when Chief Fawehinmi applied for an order to compel the police to investigate his certificates.
That did not work then because he was covered by immunity under section 308 of the 1999 Constitution. Ibori also enjoyed that immunity then. But in this case, it seems there was the reluctance by the EFCC on the guise that there was no expediency about it. But since Ribadu had boasted that he would act immediately there is the need to do that, I decided to take the chance.

I also remember that EFCC had, last year, indicted 31 state governors while still in office. But the cloak of immunity could not pave the way for their prosecution. I was disappointed when Ribadu later isolated about five former governors for prosecution. I felt it was not proper to leave Ibori out of it when he had already been indicted by EFCC among the 31. Therefore, I wanted EFCC to act decisively and went for the order. I thank God that the court saw reason for the application because I have the locus and the court had jurisdiction to entertain it.

EFCCís albatross
This case is like the sword of Damocles on the EFCC. Nobody after a court order would deny me the right to enforce compliance and I am just happy the agency acted expeditiously and now Ibori can clear himself on how he ran the state and managed its treasury.
We believe there was massive looting and that should not be left untreated.

For instance, I have facts that this year, before Ibori left office, he budgeted N189,959,900,151 for the first quarter, that is between January and April. The details of the budget listed that the money was appropriated for donations, gifts, entertainment, hospitality, passages and lastly, security. The Ďsecurityí there is somehow vague and may have been included for the sake of it. On the whole, one can easily deduce that the budget was a costly frivolity whose implementation must be investigated. After that the present administration budgeted another N32b-plus for another spending spree. The people in power in whose hands our fate is committed should not just be allowed to carry on like they are not accountable to anyone.

My interest: why I am after Ibori
I have every ground to take the step to ensure Ibori is prosecuted. I am a citizen of Delta State, a human rights activist and a lawyer who should be concerned about order in the society.
The problem of militancy in the Niger Delta affects me and I am sure the problem is heightened by the denial the people suffer in the hands of bad leaders. If nothing is done, the commotion will soon engulf all of us, and as an affected person, it would stop me practicing my profession, and finally the result of the public fund diversion will haunt all of us.

No personal grievance
I must state that I donít even know who James Ibori is. I have never met him all my life. I sued my former governor because he owed me a duty of good leadership while in office. Moreover, Ribadu had been sounding tough that he would do this and that, so I actually wanted to box him into a corner and watch him act as he boasts. Since EFCC had indicted Ibori, the natural thing that should follow should be his investigation. But my action is like a saving grace for Ibori because if at last he is exonerated by the court of any wrong doing, then, he will go home free and out of any threats by anybody.

No cause for alarm
Donít ask me if I am afraid for my life. I know I am fighting a just cause, and therefore there is no need to be afraid over anything. But in another way, I am a creation of God, with an obligation to serve the society. So killing me means removing an essential aspect of God. Killing me or hurting my life over this cause is another breach of the law and I know whoever does that will face the law. Because of all these I have ruled out anything pertaining to fear.

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