We have watched with keen interest the unfolding drama of Nigeria’s anti-corruption war. We have read with dismay the brazen lawlessness displayed by the two major political parties in Nigeria, precisely the APC and the PDP, in publishing what they called the “Looters list”, a listing of members of the two parties who allegedly had actively participated in sabotaging Nigerian economy by looting its treasury to amass great economic fortunes at the expense of the poor, thereby undermining the Nigerian economy and the wellbeing of the Nigerian people.
While we do not dispute the truth or lack thereof in those publications, we consider the publications as law-less in that it amounts to contempt of the judiciary to publicly criminalize individuals for an alleged offence which they are already challenging or being prosecuted in court. It is only the courts that have powers to declare a person guilty or innocent on matters of crime and until that judicial decision is made, it is the responsibility of government to protect the dignity and safety of the accused citizen.
With the exception of cases already in court, the CACLD views the “looter’s list” of both parties just as the CACLD would view an institutional citizen reporting to the police that a crime has been committed and that he knows where the criminal is. Hence, the CACLD considers as very weighty these allegations of treasury looting by the two political parties and therefore call on the law enforcement agencies to investigate forth-with, WITHOUT EXCEPTION all the persons so listed by the two political parties. Armed with evidences of treasury looting, the alleged looters should be brought before the judge to answer for their alleged crimes.
It is our considered opinion that crime management is crucial for the advancement of society. Hence, we decry a situation where both the political party leaderships and governments of Nigeria are being run by individuals who in the opinion of both political parties are criminals and enemies of state. In view of the authoritative sources of these treasury “looters list”, we recommend strongly that the party leaders and those in government service so implicated by the looters list from both the APC and PDP should step aside from their positions to allow unbiased investigation into their alleged criminal conducts.
Finally, we must caution the Nigerian Government to look inwards to see whether the investigative and law enforcement machineries of state are working effectively. A situation where the government has not been able to successfully prosecute any of these alleged criminals for nearly three years renders meaningless the so touted war against corruption. When corruption cases are inconclusive or indefinite, not only that the government is being indicted, there is both social and economic dislocation that arises from it. The end result is further starvation of the economy of essential social funding, a condition that worsens the degree of poverty and frustration among the citizenry.
As an organization committed to Human Rights and Good Governance, the CACLD International will continue to protect the rights and freedoms of all under the Law.