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FG Sets Up National Panel For Prosecution Of High Profile Corruption, Criminal Cases



The Federal Government on Friday inaugurated a National Prosecution Coordination Committee, NPCC, for the effective prosecution of high criminal cases in the country, with an assurance that President Muhammadu Buhari is not interested in tele-guiding the anti-corruption agencies or prosecution authorities in the country.

This was declared by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, at the Presidential Villa, while inaugurating the 20-member Committee, headed by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami at an event attended by several government functionaries including the National Security Adviser, Brig-General Babagana Munguno, rtd, and heads of the ICPC and the CCB among others.

According to a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity, in the Office of the Vice President, Osinbajo said such external influence does not exists under this administration, as the agencies are given the full authority to act and they do so using their best judgment.

The Vice President who stood in for the President at the inauguration said what both the president and himself expect is that the agencies use their powers with fairness, devoid of any prejudice.

“When you look at the way that the EFCC and other law enforcement agencies have acted in recent times you will notice that they are not under any kind of direction of influence of the President.

“They are given the independence to act; they are given the authority and backing to act in their own and to use their own discretion appropriately at all times. You don’t get any situation where the president says go get that person of back off that person.

“All of us know that the President is completely committed to fighting corruption and economic crimes and terrorism.

“The sort of responsibility placed on your own shoulders as well, the responsibility to exercise prosecutorial power independently and without any direction except of course from the learned Attorney-General who is the constitutional and prosecutorial authority in the country.

“It is a very serious responsibility because it also involves making sure that people are treated fairly or that people are not pursued by reason of bias or any other such consideration.

“The system is fair and that system works in the interest of the Nigerian people. When the system is fair everybody buys into it and it is not difficult for people to relate with it and support it.

He added that the selection of the committee members took into consideration not only their legal skills and learning, but also their integrity and strength of character in order to chart a new course in the nation’s criminal justice system.

He said although legal background was important, particular consideration was given to those who have courage and would not allow themselves to be cowed or influenced by tribe, religion, and friendships.

“Given the nature of economic crimes and the enormity sometimes of the money that is involved and the influence of those who may have to be prosecuted, you need more than legal skills. You need men and women of strong character and courage who will not only be able to turn down inducements of any kind but also act without consideration for tribe, friendship, religion or any other parochial considerations.”

Earlier in his remarks, the Attorney General and Justice Minister said that the committee comprised 12 ex-officio and eight external members of proven integrity and competence.

Besides the Attorney-General, who is the Chairman of the Committee, the other members are:

Mr. Taiwo Abidogun-Solicitor-General/Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice
Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi, SAN
Mr. Chukuma Machukwu, SAN
Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, the Executive Secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption
Mr. M.S. Diri, Director of Prosecution, Ministry of Justice
Mr. Pius Oteh, Esq.
Okoi Obono-Obla Esq.
Mrs Juliet Ibekaku
Mr. Abiodun Aikomo, Esq.
Mr. Kehinde Oginni, Esq,
Mr. Salihu Othman Isah-Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Attorney-General
Al-Amin Ado Ibrahim, from the Office of the National Security Adviser
Nafiu Yakubu
Tunji Oluborode, Esq.
Eric Onokif Ifere Esq.
Mrs Diane Okoko
Temitope Adebayo, Esq.
DIG Abdulrahman Yusuf, RTD
Sylvester Imhanobe, Esq, Secretary to the Committee

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