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Nigeria under global scrutiny over Kyari, Ozekhome warns

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Mike Ozekhome

A constitutional lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Mike Ozekhome, yesterday, warned that Nigeria is under global scrutiny over the way it will handle the case of alleged gratification by suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), Abba Kyari.

Ozekhome, who spoke on Channel Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) indictment of Kyari, said the systemic rot in Nigeria was endemic.

His words: “Police officers are part and parcel of the rot in the larger society. I agree that the Police Service Commission (PSC) can discipline erring police personnel under section 6 of the PSC Act. They can hire, train, post, discipline and fire officers, but their job ends there.

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“And because of that, they have the power to suspend Kyari for now to and allow the police to investigate him. Under section 214 and 215 of the constitution, only the Inspector General of Police (IGP) is not subject to discipline of the PSC.

“But if they establish that Abba Kyari actually committed crime, all they need to do is to hand him over to the Attorney General of the Federation, who has the power under section 174 of the Constitution and the Extradition Act to deal with the matter.

“As an extra-judicial body, the PSC, which is not recognised in court of law under section 6, sub-section 6 of the constitution cannot punish or convict a person for criminal offence.”

He argued that if that happens, it would have erred, because it is not a court of law to find accused persons guilty. Suspects should be handed over to the relevant law enforcement agencies for prosecution, and if the person is found guilty, he could be dismissed based on the court judgment.

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“Kyari has been accused of an offence, the FBI has made its own investigation and made the matter public, but the allegations have to be subjected to the Nigeria judicial process through the AGF and the accused person given a fair hearing under the laws of Nigeria.

“I have been a fervent advocate of due process. The world is watching to see how the Nigeria government will handle the matter. The role of the AGF is critical, as he has 85 per cent responsibility, because this is not the case of Nnamdi Kanu, who was ‘kidnapped’ in Kenya and brought to Nigeria.

On his part, Executive Director of Corruption Observatory, Richard Ivie, said: “It is clear that corruption is rife in all levels of government in Nigeria and as such the system needs to be be strengthened to restore confidence in the nation’s judiciary.”

“But you know, when you fight corruption, corruption fights back and so, that may well be the case of Abba Kyari, who has been trying to fight kidnapping, banditry and other crimes in the country,” he said.

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