There is nobody in Nigeria who is not aware of The Nation’s objectives. It is a newspaper funded to promote anti-people interests. Goals that are less than noble.
Therefore, whenever you see The Nation Newspaper fighting, know that it is promoting private interests.
The Nation Newspaper’s Editorial of Thursday, September 6, 2018 titled: “Wike’s Curious Audacity” is the lowest form of defence for impunity and the lawlessness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Nation Newspaper leads the pack of pro-APC Media Organisations funded by APC chieftains for the purpose of spreading misleading information about opposition politicians.
In the said misguided editorial, The Nation Newspaper questioned: “if EFCC can investigate other state governments, why should Rivers State Government be different?
As I argued in my previous feature on this same matter, the issue of the EFCC investigating states is a very fundamental one. It is not premised on APC propaganda as being played up by The Nation Newspaper.
The Federal High Court was emphatic about the position of the law. The EFCC lacks the power to investigate state governments. That power resides with the State Houses of Assembly. By any stretch of imagination, the EFCC is not a State House of Assembly.
On the powers of EFCC to look into the books of the Rivers State Government, Justice I. Buba in the March 20, 2007 judgment had this to say: “I declare that under the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, the 1st defendant (EFCC) is not entitled to share in the power of the House of Assembly for Rivers State, vested on it by virtue of Section 188 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and accordingly is not entitled to coerce, induce, intimidate or in any manner whatsoever influence the Rivers State House of Assembly into removing or causing to be removed, or into taking any steps whatsoever towards removing the Governor of Rivers State or the Deputy Governor of Rivers State from office.”
The 2007 Judgment added: “An order of injunction restraining the 1st defendant (EFCC) by itself or by its servants or agents or in any manner however from disseminating, publishing or circulating to any government, government agency, the news media, or members of the public or in any manner at all, purported findings in respect of any investigation or inquiry into the appropriation, disbursing, administering or management of the funds of Rivers State or putting the said report or finding to any use whatsoever is hereby made.”
Understanding the quoted aspects of the 2007 Federal High Court Judgement does not require legal expertise. It is straightforward and based on constitutional provisions.
On 15 September, 2010, Former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi relied on the same judgment to ward of the EFCC. The link below recounts what took place on that day.
PM News on 15 September, 2010 reported the Former Rivers State Governor in the following words:
“Governor Amaechi had protested the attempt by EFCC to arrest some commissioners and local government council chairmen in the state.He disclosed his displeasure during the Summit on Information at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt two weeks ago, that there is a subsisting court order against EFCC from arresting any official of the Rivers State government. He urged the agency to vacate the court orders first in line with the rule of law.”
The audacity that pro-APC The Nation Newspaper accused Governor Wike of in her comical editorial, was the premise upon which Amaechi resisted the EFCC in 2010. He advised the EFCC to approach the Court of Appeal to vacate the subsisting order.
What has changed for The Nation Newspaper? Is it because Amaechi funded the APC National Campaign with Rivers Funds that the medium is blinded by sentiments?
What is on the table is beyond Governor Wike. We are talking about the fundamentals of constitutional engagement. We are talking about the illegal powers of a federal agency that acts with impunity for the advantage of any Government in Power.
It is absolutely pesdestrian for The Nation Newspaper to call out Governor Wike simply because he is courageous enough to stand up to a failed Government that they enthroned.
Let me refer The Nation Newspapers to my position in my earlier article, “Setting Aside the Rule of Law : The EFCC Tragedy”, where I wrote:
“It must be stated quite clearly that the EFCC is an institution that derives her powers from the National Assembly. The National Assembly legislates for the good governance of the Federal Government. It considers the budgets of the Federal Government, while the State Assemblies performs similar functions for the respective state governments.
“It is on this premise that several Acts of the National Assembly have to be domesticated by State Assemblies to be effective. Many State Assemblies are yet to domesticate the Child Rights Act passed by the National Assembly, hence the ineffectiveness of the Act. The National Assembly Act setting up the EFCC cannot be any different.”
Based on The Nation’s warped editorial, it is right for the EFCC to shutdown the accounts of states, invade opposition states and seize government officials for the purpose of intimidation and advancement of the political goals of the Government in Power. Since creation, EFCC has not departed from this illegal lane.
The question that The Nation did not answer in her desperation to defend her fellow APC agency, why has the EFCC over the years failed to probe the corporate finances of the Presidency, the Federal Ministries and Federal Agencies?
The persons convicted by the courts upon the prosecution by EFCC as mentioned by pro-APC The Nation Newspaper are individuals. They are not State Govermments or agencies of State Governments. There is a difference.
Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Chief OCJ Okocha captures the illegality of EFCC investigating states thus:
“The State House of Assembly has oversight functions over the governor of Rivers State. What is the business of the EFCC in a state when we are in a federation? We are not a primary school administered by a headmaster. It is totally unlawful. What economic misfortune will the spending of Rivers State money bring or visit on the federal government? It is totally unlawful”.
Even as we berate the EFCC and the failed APC Federal Government for her impunity, we must take out time to call out The Nation Newspaper for her commitment to the promotion of the illegal propaganda of the APC and EFCC.
The Nation Newspaper by the challenge of her ownership structure is always constrained to side with illegality . It sides with lawlessness as long as it promotes the interest of the APC.
As a country, we have a challenge. Media organisations like The Nation Newspaper have elevated the art of hypocrisy to a ridiculous level. They are more concerned about the political benefits for their pay-masters than service to the society.
Otherwise, The Nation Newspaper cannot criticise the failed APC Federal Government because her sponsor is entangled in the failure. The sole focus of The Nation Newspaper is the promotion of the APC. But they do this with ridiculous impunity.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.