Abdulazeez Ayodeji Ibrahim is one of the senior lawyers in Kwara State who has made his mark in the legal profession. In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, he bares his mind on the alleged prevailing corruption practices in the President Muhammad Buhari’s cabinet among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
What is your take on the reactions of Nigerians to the federal government’ court order to freeze bank accounts that is yet to be linked to BVN?
In the face of law, Federal Government is not wrong, we have law controlling banking industries, most especially for those that have embezzled public money. The law is in order, and anybody who has failed to identify himself with his account in the bank, the presumption will be that such person has stolen public fund. If the money in those accounts are legitimate, then the owner will not run away but rather run to the bank to do the necessary things. Why the fear when the money is legal? I believe all those accounts are fictitious and government should take ownership of them.
The present government has been accused of aiding and abetting corruption following some development that is playing out currently… (Cuts in)
From the look of things, I don’t see the present government doing what it ought to be doing, especially on the issue of fighting corruption. But as a lawyer, I must not base my opinion on mere allegations. I’ve heard people accusing government of all manners of corrupt practices but until one is confronted with real facts, that is when one can form opinion. Buhari, having failed to act within the purview of law, has not done well. When he was coming in, for what we know him for, as an upright man, we believed his promises but unfortunately, the hands of his disciples, lieutenants were soiled with all manner of allegations, particularly those he appointed. He has power to dismiss them but he has failed to do this on many occasion’s. Examples are that of Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and the National Intelligence Agency (NIS)’s boss, Ayodele Oke. The committee set up by the President to investigate the duo have filed their report and submitted it to the National Assembly, but to our amazement, we’ve not heard of any decision taken on the report, what follows now is the sack of the duo. That is too bad for him (President) and his government. Some people have been alleging that there are cabals in the presidency, all these I believe are the handworks of the so-called cabals in the presidency. Maybe they are the one suppressing him from acting rightly or confusing him over some steps he could have taken that will better the country. The situation of this country is dicey because one can predict Nigerians. Furthermore, I subscribed to those calling specifically for the dismissal of Maina and that he should be subjected to EFCC prosecution. The money traced to his single account is huge sum. There is need for the Federal Government to conduct thorough investigation on him. But I will not want to admit that there is a kind of politics game militating against his prosecution. Going by the civil service rules, the president cannot just sack, the civil service rules have procedures that can lead to sacking or dismissal of a civil servant. Those procedures must be followed, this person is only being alleged of misconduct. The disciplinary committee by the civil service rule must be set up to investigate Maina and if found guilty, proper punishment must be meted. Corruption must be fought wholeheartedly so that we can have a sane society.