In this interview with KAYODE ADEOTI, the Ilorin-based Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Adebayo Oba Adelodun speaks on the low level of investigation in the Nigeria judiciary system, the legality and reasonableness of N1bn demanded by the former President Goodluck Jonathan to testify in a suit in court among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
Much has been said on the issue of BVN and the decision of the Federal Government to freeze accounts that do not have BVN, following agitations against it by members of the public, would you suggest revert of the order?
Any step taken by the government must be complied with unless or until it is challenged in court of law. It is however the court that can declare it unlawful, illegal or improper. The directive that demands everyone to go to bank and have verification number is meant to help in tracing the inflows and outflows of individuals funds in banks and it is a policy formulated by government. To the best of my knowledge, no court has ruled it to be illegal or unlawful. So, it has become a policy that must be obeyed, it is in the interest of everyone in the country.
Having petitioned the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ibrahim Malami SAN, to invite her to Nigeria to face prosecution of the corruption allegation levelled against her, one could deduce that the former minister of Petroleum, Diezani Mudueke is afraid that she could be convicted if tried in the UK,…thereby feels she could beat the Nigeria legal system if tried here. What is your take?
Nigeria is how many years old? When compared, our country is very young as against the United State or United Kingdom. So, their system is more robust than ours. Everything that has to do with prosecution of a person (s) in line with this advancement in their system will definitely be much more guaranteed. Also, it depends on what Madueke is been accused of, if she has offended the law of this other countries, she cannot asked that she should be brought here, if she had violated our laws here too, we cannot insist that she should be tried there. We have to appreciate a sequence of action, it can be both criminal here and there. It is for the government of Nigeria to decide who to prosecute her, she cannot compel anyone. Coming back to your question, we are still growing, even in our ability to investigate. It is possible, she believes, because of the low level of judicial activities here, we could miss out on some things which could influence eventual result, and invariably, she could escape… She could go free here given our low level of expertise in investigating. Investigation there is skilled, thorough and chances of corrupting the system is very low. These are some of the things that may happen here that at the end of the day it was made possible for a camel to pass through the needle eye.
The former President Goodluck Jonathan has been summoned to testify in the ongoing prosecution of Metuh but he is demanding N1bn for his running cost. Sir, can you shed light on the reasonableness of the demand and his involvement in the suit?
It’s legitimate for you if you’re supreme in a matter to ask for transport. If you’re summoning me to give evidence for you in court at a place like Abuja and I’m based in Ilorin, it is not out of place to asks for money that will cover my transportation, lodging, and the rest. It is not strange but the quantum is a different thing. I think it is rather funny requesting for N1bn but as far as asking for the logistics to appear, that is perfectly normal. The application was formally made in the court, the court will look at it and take a decision. I think we should just leave that to the court to decide because facts have been presented before it that we don’t know of and that will not give us the best position to really deal with the issue. We shouldn’t just continue to engage ourselves in permutations when we don’t have the facts.