Femi Makinde is a lawyer who pitched his tent in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital. In this interview, the legal juggernaut who doubles as cleric shares his view with KAYODE ADEOTI on the failure of Nigeria anti-graft agencies to achieve convictions over many of the high profile cases prosecuted among other germane issues. Excerpts:
Cattle ranching, cattle colony what do you think will best address the herdsmen attack that has claimed thousands of lives in some parts of the country?
As far as I’m concerned, it is not the responsibility of government to create cattle colony or cattle ranch for anybody. Buying and selling of cattle is for commercial purpose and any person interested in the business should get all these necessary prerequisites to run it. In advanced countries of the world, there is no issue of their government buying lands, creating it as colony for particular set of people to be using for commercial purpose.
(Cuts in…) Are you saying government should force individuals who are in the business to buy lands…?
That is what we are supposed to have adopted in our country, in order to halt the situation of anyone taking cattle from one place to the other on our streets, the method is parochial. Looking at our society today, even the so-called Government Reserved Area, there are herdsmen all around grazing their cattle, sometimes vehicles will pack by the road side in order to make way for them. For how long are we going to continue with this if we cannot enforce necessary step? Though it might be hard at the beginning but we will all enjoy it at the end.
Some Nigerians have condemned the Federal Government for confiscating property belonging to the former minister of Petroleum, Diezani Madueke over corruption allegations without prosecution… Can you put a face to the issue?
Those that are responsible for such criminal prosecution are not talking; to me, no step has been taken so far. They know where this woman is, somewhere in the Britain, it is very easy, I believe we can have an arrangement with the British government whereby anyone residing in their land who have a case to answer here could be sent to the country for proper trial. We should not also forget that this same woman is equally undergoing trial there. Once she’s done, our government can request the British government to repatriate her to Nigeria by the way of extraditions. The issue of trying her in absentia should not arise. If she is forfeiting her property, what about the co-accused persons? If she is been arraigned in absentia with other people, the same order of forfeiture should be applicable to all parties involved in the case. I think the Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice should take step in ensuring she is in the country early enough…so that she can attend to all the allegations against her.
Our anti-grafts agencies especially EFCC is being faulted for only prosecuting but failing to secure convictions for most of the high profile cases it has charged to court…? Can you explain this?
We should not forget that these people who are working at the EFFC are part of the society, and it appears that in Nigeria, there is no organ or agency functioning properly or independently. If for one reason or the other, they cannot get conviction, it has to be linked to the Nigeria factor. Those that they believe are corrupt and have one case or the other to answer, these people will not just keep quiet; they reach out to see how they can escape and to worsen the matter, those charged with duties to arrest and prosecute which may eventually lead to conviction are not set.