Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on the judiciary, particularly judges, to act as a positive agent of change in the ongoing fight against corruption.
Obasanjo addressing newsmen at his Hilltop Mansion in Abeokuta, expressed concern over the rate at which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been losing major corruption cases in courts.
He blamed the development on EFCC’s use of private lawyers, which according to him, are not truly committed to the ongoing fight against corruption.
EFCC or government lawyers, according to him, can prosecute the anti-corruption cases better, while asking the anti-graft agency to do thorough investigations of cases before taking them to courts.
He said, “I was reading today when the President (Muhammadu Buhari) said the EFCC should stop losing cases. They lose cases for a number of reasons. One, they engage more of outside lawyers. I believe that they need staunch, ogbologbo lawyers inside that will do the work.”
“If I am a lawyer and I want the opponent to win a case, what I will file will be ‘wishy washy’. And if I file a `wishy washy’ case, the opponent will see the loophole and he will get out of it. I believe that it is important.
“Secondly, thorough investigation is very important. Now, investigation must be thorough, it must be proper and it must be really taken seriously.
“Third, our judges must be committed in fighting corruption.
“They must be committed to fighting corruption. Because if the investigation is very sound and you have `ogbologbo’ lawyer to handle the case, if you have Salamigate, you know what the answer will be.
“So it is a chain: investigation, prosecution and the judiciary. If there is weakness along this line, chances are that corruption cases will continue to be lost,” he said.
Obasanjo also rebuked former army chief of staff during the Abacha military regime, Ishaya Bamaiyi, for alleging in a new book that he plotted to kill him.
He told Bamaiyi to first confess his sins publicly, and name those he killed while heading the army under the Abacha military regime.
“My government did not plot to kill him. My government asked him to answer to those that were alleged to have been killed by him and that is legitimate. That if there is an allegation that you have done something, that you have committed a crime, then you are arrested, you should answer. And that’s all,” he said.