Sylva: Is A Silver Lining In Sight? By Umar Hassan
Posted On Jun 3, 2015
President Muhammadu Buhari is most definitely the most loved Nigerian politician in recent times.Very few people can last more than 5 minutes opposing him in an argument with his supporters.Besides his remarkable achievements in the times he was called upon to serve this Nation which come in handy for them,they are quick to adduce evidence of his tough stance on corruption.
As the saying goes-Facts Speak for themselves.
A couple of days ago, not a few eyebrows were raised when Festus Keyamo SAN,withdrew as EFCC Counsel from the prosecution of the Former Governor of Bayelsa State,Timipre Slyva’s 2Billion Naira fraud case at the Federal High Court.Moreso for citing ‘certain developments’ for doing such.
Most reports claimed it was to provide a soft landing for Sylva who was Chairman of President Buhari’s May 29th Transition Committee.
The DPP, a delegate of the AGF through his representative, O.J Nnadi SAN on June 1st 2015,withdrew charges against Mr Sylva with the EFCC citing the need to consolidate charges with those in another matter against him as its ground.
This raises some questions.Only the AGF can withdraw a charge in such a case by virtue of his power under Section 174(1c) of the Constitution thus,only Adoke Mohammed SAN, the outgoing AGF could have issued those directives.Presumably,he did this before leaving office.Could the withdrawal of charges against the President’s Transition Committee Chairman be a deal among other deals struck with the previous administration?
One can’t simply dismiss the allegations of seeking a Soft landing for Mr Sylva with a wave of the hand if one considers the fact that our Criminal Procedural laws allow the alteration or amendment of a Charge Sheet to include new charges.The timing of the commission of the offences in both set of charges automatically pulls down any barrier to simply amending the Charge Sheet.All that needed to be done was to terminate one of the cases and seek an adjournment to Amend and enable Mr Sylva’s lawyers prepare in view of the alteration.Is somebody really desperate to provide Sylva a soft landing?
Could this be one of such cases of ‘Let My People Forget’ we have come to see a lot of times?
Buhari represents the ‘last hope’ for a lot of Nigerians.He represents the change we so badly need;A shift from appointing Service Chiefs without Senate ratification as specified in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,holding ‘Coup-like’ impeachments and the many ‘norms’ up there which trickle down to paying the ‘Customary Police Roger’ at Check points and for bail at Stations.
It would shatter many if he turns out to be a disappointment.
A lot of people expect heads to roll for the wanton impunity in which the GEJ administration bled us dry and it would be a shame if they are shielded.We can’t effectively curb corruption without prosecuting cases to the end and handing out punishment where due to deter the crooks in our midst.
Like any well-meaning Nigerian out there,I hope this administration will ensure Cases are prosecuted as best they should.’Soft landings’ in whatever forms they may appear-Plea Bargain and Shabby prosecution will only result in a ‘treadmill’ fight against Corruption.A fight which will lead us nowhere because we are running on the same spot.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.
Twitter : @alaye26