By Kayode Sesan
Femi Falana, a famous Lagos lawyer, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption strategy, suggesting that former President Jonathan fought corruption in more civilized ways than Buhari.
The Lagos lawyer in a Channels TV programme said that: “contrary to the general belief that former President closed his eyes to corruption, President Goodluck Jonathan did so much in the fight against corruption including the sack of three of his ministers for alleged graft.”
Falana went on to give a critique of Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts after the end of the Abacha era under which President Buhari served as PTF Chairman. According to him, “Since the Sani Abacha period, every government has tried one way or the other to fight corruption.
“The Abacha junta that enacted the advance fee fraud and failed bank decree dealt with certain banks’ executives.
“The Abdulsalami Abubakar’s junta investigated General Sani Abacha’s junta and not less than one billion dollars was recovered in terms of money and other assets.
“The General Ababakar era enacted the forfeiture decree.
“Even President Jonathan fought corruption in his own way, you will be surprised,” Mr Falana stated.
He explained that last year, when the government had to withdraw the charges against Mr Mohammed Abacha after 14 years, the office of the Attorney General issued a statement to the fact that the withdrawal was occasioned by the fact that $970 million from the Abacha loot has been recovered by the Jonathan government.
“Under that government, $458 million was also forfeited by the United States government which has not been repatriated yet.
“Through some plea bargain, that is what they call it, the Jonathan government made about $120 million.
“Every government in Nigeria investigates the past, usually the previous government.
“For the past 16 years, the PDP and the Abubakar Junta recovered about $3.2 billion from the Abacha loot. It is the most successful loot recovery in the world,” he explained.
For the fight against corruption in Nigeria to record meaningful achievement, the Lawyer suggested that the government should provided an enabling environment for people to expose corruption and give the anti-graft agencies the autonomy, recognised by law, to prosecute those indicted for corruption.
Some Nigerians have also accused some court judges of corruption, but the lawyer dismissed the assumptions, saying that there are incorruptible judges in Nigeria, giving instances where Nigerian judges had ensured that funds fraudulently collected from a bank in Brazil was recovered.
“What Nigeria needs is the current practice of having special divisions of the regular courts and ensure that they are manned by judges who understand what corruption is all about.”