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Lawyer knocks government over fight against graft

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A renowned lawyer and diplomat, Dr. Babafemi Badejo has criticised the federal government’s fight against corruption, saying the fight against corruption must go beyond the punitive approach to succeed. 

He believes that dependence on the prosecutorial approach to fighting corruption has not yielded deterrence in Nigeria. 

Badejo, a former Head of Political Affairs, United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur, Sudan, was of the view that the Buhari administration lacks the political will to fight corruption despite claims to the contrary.

He spoke during an international conference sponsored by the Pan African Strategic Research Group (Panafstrag) and Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja on July 12-14, 2019 to commemorate the Second African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Year. 

Noting some low level prosecutions; recovery of some domestic loot and Abacha stolen funds, the latter in spite of the Buhari Administration; the implementation of some anti-graft technological instruments like the Treasury Single Account etc., and the announcement of a National Anti-corruption Strategy, Badejo decried what he called selective justice, pointing out that none of the Nigerians mentioned in the Panama and Paradise Papers have been prosecuted, unlike their counterparts in many other countries.  
   
He said: “The perception (though constantly denied), is clearly out there that prosecution through the EFCC is only for Nigerians who are either weak or are in opposing parties and/or critical of the government in power.
   
“The EFCC itself is being de-institutionalised by the actions of the Buhari administration.”
   
Badejo listed instances of high profile cases that have been suspended, abandoned or altogether jettisoned because those involved joined the ruling party or are close to the government.

They include those of former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu, Senator Iyiola Omisore and Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, all of whom were charged with multi-billion naira fraud.
   
“President Buhari condones some of those alleged to be corrupt and his recent use of Nolle Prosequi in the case of Senator Danjuma Goje further undermines his perception as a Nigerian of integrity.
   
“The individual will engage in corruption if the incentives to do so outweigh the disincentives,” he said.

Badejo faulted the President on his nepotistic disposition, saying that most of his appointments are not based on merit or even the so-called Federal Character.


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