Media trial: Is Tinubu’s Obazi team a mirror of Buhari’s Ode panel?

Media trial: Is Tinubu’s Obazi team a mirror of Buhari’s Ode panel?

In recent weeks, the media has been awash with monumental scandals involving individuals and organizations associated with the past administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. The suspects reportedly not only looted billions of dollars in local and foreign currency from the Treasury, but some are also accused of re-looting the so-called recovered loot.

Godwin Emefiele, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has been detained for several weeks pending his arraignment on charges of gross abuse of the office he held for nearly a decade. Former CBN deputy governor Tunde Remo has also been accused of misconduct, and some Buhari administration officials have also been invited for questioning by the anti-corruption agency.

Insinuating that many of the white collar crime allegations were leaked to the press by the Special Agent Investigating the CBN, Jim Osayande Obazee, and his team members, DCP Eloho Okposiiakpo of the Police Counterintelligence Unit. It had been. These are some of the charges documented in a preliminary report to the President alone.

Mr. Obaji, a former Director-General of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria (FRCN), has appointed Bola Ahmed Tinubu to lead a team investigating past financial fraud cases in the CBN as part of measures to strengthen Government Enterprises (GBEs). appointed by the president.

However, the seemingly condescending approach of the Obagi team to reveal the targets of the investigation through media trials has given rise to the notoriety of the AVM John Ode Arms Inquiry Commission, which was appointed at the beginning of the Buhari administration in 2015 to scrutinize arms procurement. Similar to high activity. Provision of ammunition by successive governments. Former National Security Adviser Major General Babagana Monguno (rtd) constituted the organization.

AVM Ode (rtd) was the chairman. General YI Shalangwa (Secretary). The members included Maj. Gen. J.A. Ayhom (rtd), Maj. Gen. E. Ogbor (rtd), Brig. General L. Adelagun (rtd), Brigadier General M. Aminu Kano (rtd), Brigadier General. General N. Rimtip (rtd), Major General TD Ikoli, Air Chief Marshal U. Mohammed (rtd), Air Chief Marshal I. Shafii, Colonel AA Ali-Ibi, Colonel CA Oaku (rtd) and Mr. Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the EFCC.

The Odeh Commission was criticized by some members of the public for criminalizing important state institutions and prosecuting groups and individuals through media trials, rather than ensuring transparency in its investigations. Instead of pressing charges in court, they were busy leaking sensational and scandalous stories about people to selected journalists.

Former NSA, Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd), former Chief of Defense Staff, late Air Marshal Alex Bade, former senior Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers, businessmen, lawyers, journalists and even ordinary citizens have received this award I was among those who did. Most of the allegations turned out to be unproven, and they were scandalized, humiliated, and persecuted in the pages of newspapers.

Apart from the psychological trauma, job loss and untimely death caused by the infamous act, the respective families of those mentioned in the most famous media trial in Nigeria's history also experienced extremely vicious and inhuman attacks.

The Odet Committee influenced the government to abandon the law and embark on a vengeful rampage. Suspects were falsely imprisoned and denied the right to defend themselves. Their supporters were persecuted as well. Some judges who handed down judgments that were fair and favorable to defendants were not saved. They were harassed, their official residences searched, and some family members were prosecuted until acquitted in court.

In an unpoetic development, just a year after its inauguration, members of the commission were accused of accepting bribes from individuals and companies. Domestic intelligence subsequently arrested one of them on suspicion of running an extortion syndicate on behalf of the panel, and implicated them in the investigation as committing the same crime. Even committee members who later died have been implicated in irregularities investigated by anti-corruption agencies.

In 2017, the committee was unceremoniously disbanded following suspicious activity. It is surprising that the House of Commons has ordered the Joint Committee on National Security, Intelligence and Public Procurement to investigate and seek sanctions for the Ord Panel, which has only succeeded in defaming the defendants in the press. It wasn't. To prove the crime against them in court.

Many believe that the previous government's selective war on corruption only worsened after its tenure in office, pursuing outright revenge against its perceived enemies whose shameful corruption was uncovered. I believe that.

As the Obagi Team begins to operate in secret, they cannot afford to fall into the traps witnessed during the Ord Panel era. This is because there is speculation that the group may be targeting “favorable” institutions such as the Nigerian Maritime Authority and Safety Agency (NIMASA). Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Financing (NIRSAl), Nigerian Asset Management Corporation (AMCON) and others.

In addition, the chief executives of some financial institutions are also under federal scrutiny. Some of them have been cited by special agents for racketeering and extortion charges, or simply been in trouble with the commission.

Similar to the Ord Panel, which went beyond its mandate to hunt witches, the Obazi team allegedly expanded its scope of investigation from CBN issues to the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry, clearly going beyond its mandate. There is even speculation that the commission may be shining its searchlight on wealthy Nigerian businessmen. It is unclear whether Aliko Dangote, Femi Otedola or Abdulsamad Rabiu are the targets of the investigation.

We urge the Obazi team to carry out its role responsibly and professionally within the law, without acting like the discredited John Ord Committee, and calmly and without fear or favor. We need to encourage them to take on the task.

Yushua Shuaib is the author of “Meet the Spymaster” and “Award-Winning Crisis Communication Strategies” [email protected]


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