Charge Oduah to court now, Falana challenges EFCC, ICPC

Stella Oduah
Stella Oduah

Mr. Falana praises President Jonathan for waking up from slumber to fight corruption

A Lagos lawyer and activist, Femi Falana, has asked the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to accept the challenge thrown at them by President Goodluck Jonathan by charging former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, to court for corruption.

He also said the Jonathan administration deserved commendation for disgracing some unpatriotic persons who recklessly diverted public attention from grave allegations of misconduct by alleging that Mrs. Oduah was a victim of ethnic bias or petty jealousy.

The president sacked the minister from office on Wednesday apparently over corruption-related allegations. Three of her colleagues – Godsday Orubebe (Niger Delta Affairs), Caleb Olubolade (Police Affairs) and Yerima Ngama (Minister of State for Finance) – were also sacked from the cabinet.

Mrs. Oduah was found guilty by the House of Representatives Committee on Aviation as well as a presidential panel for breaching Nigerian laws in the purchase of two bullet-proof cars for N255 million.

In a statement Thursday, Mr. Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, said although Mrs. Oduah’s removal for official corruption was belated, the Federal Government has by her sack demonstrated that the war against official graft had not been abandoned.
He said the reaction of the government to the popular demand for the removal of the minister from the Federal Executive Council was a welcome development.
Mr. Falana said the development confirmed the fact that without the collective resolve and vigilance by Nigerians, the fight against official corruption would remain a mirage.
He said, “In view of the fact that corruption, executive lawlessness and impunity are on the ascendancy in Nigeria the Federal Government can no longer treat the menace of corruption as a matter of perception.
“It is reality which has to be recognized and addressed by the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.”
The lawyer also said with the removal of Mr. Ogiadomhe and the redeployment of the former Rivers State Police Commissioner, Joseph Mbu, it was safe to assume that the federal administration was now determined to put an end to the culture of impunity in the country.
Mr. Falana said it was interesting that Mr. Jonathan had challenged both the EFCC and the ICPC to convince Nigerians that they were prepared to fight corruption and other economic and financial crimes.
He, therefore, challenged both anti-graft bodies to take the president’s challenge seriously by charging Ms. Oduah to court for corruption.
Mr. Falana also said as a matter of urgency all the cases filed against the Aviation Ministry by those who refused to pay the dirty bribes demanded from them should be reviewed with a view to settling them out of court.


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