By LUKMAN OLABIYI Following the withdrawal of corruption charges against the son of late military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha, Muhammed Abacha, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged the Federal Government to court.
Respondents in the suit are President Goodluck Jonathan and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Mohammed Adoke.
In the suit filed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni and Oyindamola Musa on behalf of the organisation at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, the NGO argued that Section 15 (5) of the 1999 Constitution provided that “the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power. This means that the respondents are to prevent the exploitation of Nigeria’s human and natural resources for any reasons other than for the good of the community.
“It also means that in cases of corruption, the respondents will ensure diligent and effective prosecution of suspected perpetrators.”
The reliefs being sought include a declaration that the withdrawal of N446.3billion corruption charges/suit against Muhammed Abacha is illegal and unconstitutional having regard to Section 174(3) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, which provides that the second defendant in the exercise of his power to undertake criminal proceedings shall have regard to the public interest, interest of justice and the need to prevent abuse of legal process.
An order directing the defendants to reinstate the corruption charges/suit against Muhammed Abacha forthwith
“The good faith nature of the obligations assumed by Nigeria under the UN convention does not grant discretion to the defendants to refuse to prosecute, recover stolen assets and end the impunity of perpetrators. It is submitted that there are no exceptional circumstances warranting the withdrawal of the corruption charges/suit against Muhammed Abacha by the defendants.