Selective trial: Oshiomhole, Ozekhome disagree on EFCC’s operations

Former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The immediate past Governor of Edo State, Governor Adams Oshiomhole, and a human rights lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), on Monday disagreed on whether or not the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is selective in its fight against corruption.

Oshiomhole, who argued that the commission was not selective, started by saying that the job of the Chairman of the EFCC was tougher than those of the President and state governors.

He, therefore, called on Nigerians to support the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, in the fight against corruption.

Oshiomhole made the call at the first National Anti-Corruption Stakeholders’ Summit at the EFCC Academy in Abuja on Monday as the guest speaker. The theme of the event was, ‘Building national anti-corruption consensus in a multi-agency environment’.

While looking at Magu, he said, “From what I have seen sir, you have the most difficult and challenging job in this country today; more challenging than the job of a governor, the job of a President, the job of a Senate President or any other person because those ones are clearly defined and the values are there but this one is really problematic.”

Oshiomhole dismissed claims that the current anti-graft war had been selective, saying, “In the past we were made to believe that you could not probe the armed forces because of security reasons because they could overthrow; so, army accounts were never touched. But we are beginning to see changes. Today, even former service chiefs are being made to account for fighting the money that was meant for insurgency but diverted and kept in pit latrines.

“I can see both people in opposition and government being made to give account. Something is changing but I see people who say corruption should not be fought in this manner. They say there is too much newspaper trial.”

But Ozekhome, disagreed with Oshiomhole. He described the Magu-led commission as selective in its campaign against corruption.

Ozekhome however started by describing Magu as a “great man.”

The senior advocate, who had last week, challenged Magu’s legitimacy as the acting Chairman of the EFCC following his rejection by the Senate,  said, “When I received the invitation to come for this summit, I was quite intrigued. I said to myself that Magu’s EFCC which had just seized my money from a court ordered unfrozen account is involving me. I said this man has a very large heart and I must attend it.”

Ozekhome, however, questioned the methods being employed by the commission in the fight against corruption.

He also accused the commission of being selective in its fight against corruption and dared the EFCC to arrest just one of Buhari’s men to convince Nigerians that it was not being selective.

The senior advocate said, “In this anti-corruption war, there is a need to make an example of just one person in government; just one. I am aware of many petitions against people in the present government. I will not mention names, everybody knows them.

“Magu, just pick up one of them and arraign him. It will speak volume and it will give you mileages. The issue of selectivity in the war against corruption will no longer be there and it will show that no one is above the law.”

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Source: punch