Nwoko knocks Buhari, EFCC over comment on judiciary
The Akwa Ibom State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Uwemedimo Nwoko, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over comment on Nigeria’s judiciary and legal profession.
Referring to comment made by the president on January 31, 2016 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to the effect that the judiciary remains his “main headache” on the fight against corruption, the chief law officer of Akwa Ibom, who has antecedent spanning over two decades of consistency in engaging government at all levels on issues regarding rights and constitutionalism, tongue-lashed the presidency and the anti-graft agency at the 2016/2017 opening of the legal year in Akwa Ibom, which took place in Uyo, the state capital, last week.
According to Nwoko, the bar and the bench have fallen heavily under the evil of attacks by all and sundry in our polity. He said: “The bar and the bench have been considered as constituting clogs in the wheels of progress of the country particularly now that the country is said to be focused on fighting corruption.”
Nwoko also condemned the comment reportedly made by the EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, saying that the Abubakar Mahmoud-led NBA is “a bar populated or directed by people perceived to be rogues and vultures”.
Uwujaren was reacting to the inaugural address made by the NBA in Port Harcourt, that the mandate and operations of the EFCC as “an investigative and prosecutorial agency should be reviewed”. Mahmoud had called for limiting the powers of EFCC to investigation, saying “the decision to prosecute and the conduct of the prosecution must be an independent, highly resourced prosecution agency and that the EFCC and the prosecution agency must be secured from political interference in their activities”.
“The danger inherent in this sad comment about the judiciary has held out to the international community by the Nigerian president is that where the judiciary is held out in the international space as a promoter of corruption, the country as a whole would be written off by the international community,” Nwoko stated.
He insisted that in a constitutional democracy such as ours, it is the judiciary that holds the pivot of growth and sustainability, quering that where the arm of government that traditionally stabilizes the polity is held out to be corrupt, what then is the image of the country in the entire world?
He charged the legal profession, “to champion the course of good governance and progress in our country” irrespective of the extent of attack that may be unleashed on the Bar.