Northern Youths Kick Against Farouk Lawan’s Arraignment without Femi Otedola
A group of Northern youths has condemned the move by the office of Attorney General of the Federation to single out Farouk Lawan for prosecution over a bribery scandal while leaving out his partner in the crime, Mr Femi Otedola.
Reacting to the trial of Hon Farouk Lawan by the Federal Government, Alhaji Shettima Yerima, President of Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF in a statement issued at the weekend in Lagos, accused the Presidency of connivance and bias in the handling of Otedola/Farouk saga.
The Arewa Chieftain said by isolating Farouk Lawan for prosecution and tacitly dumping the House of Reps fuel subsidy probe resolution, the Presidency appeared desperate to tilt both the subsidy scam and bribery scandal in favour of its protégé; Mr Femi Otedola
Alhaji Shettima Yerima however accused Otedola of also trying to influence the course of justice by maliciously sponsoring some notable activists to compel the Federal Government to charge his counterpart; Mr Farouk Lawan to court over the bribery saga involving both of them
He said under the law the Nigerian Presidency has no justification to leave out Mr Otedola from the ongoing prosecution of the bribery allegation because according to him both givers and takers of bribes are conventionally culpable of bribery offence
“What is the intention of the contrived bribery by Otedola in the first place? Our structures have been inundated with reports of the subtle conspiracy between the presidency and Mr Otedola to undermine the House committee probe on fuel subsidy scam which found Otedola and his cohorts culpable
We however, wish to warn the Federal Government not to compromise equity and justice in this matter. What is good for the gander is good geese. Femi Otedola must also be brought to justice for admitting masterminding bribery and for his alleged culpability in the fuel subsidy scam”
Condemning what the group perceived as a ploy to discredit and jettison the House Report on the Fuel subsidy scam on account of the masterminded bribery plot, the group urged the Federal Government to immediately commence action on the lawmakers’ resolution in order not to provoke its mass intervention in concert with other civil society groups.
It would be recalled that the Hon. Farouk Lawan, who is the former Chairman of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee on fuel subsidy probe, was today alongside the the clerk of the panel remanded in Kuje prison, Abuja by an FCT High Court pending when their bail applications will be considered on February 8 .This was the outcome of their arraignment in court by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) on a seven count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy, bribery and corruption contrary to the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.
Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi, had yesterday granted leave to the ICPC to prosecute the duo on criminal charges under Section 185(b) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC).They pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Prosecution Counsel Adegboyega Awomolo (SAN) had told the court that investigations have been concluded with the list of witnesses filed while he is ready to proceed with the trial.
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