Lawyers, yesterday, told the Federal Government’s that only security agencies have the statutory duty to clear the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai on his acquisition of properties in Dubai.
Speaking on the development, activist lawyer, Mr. Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa said the clean bill of health handed the army chief cast a slur on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“I believe it has exposed the hypocrisy of the Buhari administration as not fighting the war against corruption on a clean slate. They should have allowed the agencies of government such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to properly investigate (the matter). The Minister of Defence and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation have no statutory authority to undertake criminal investigation.”
On his part, former chairman of the Ikeja Branch of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Monday Ubani said the clearance was laughable.
He, however, said Buratai’s clearance did not represent the position of government. “How can they be the ones to clear him? Are they security agencies? If somebody is alleged to have committed a crime, can another agency that has no constitutional powers clear him? On what basis did they clear him? They should have allowed the EFCC to investigate the man. It sounds ridiculous. That cannot be clearance.”
… It’s a calamity –CDHR
Chairman of Ogun State chapter of Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR) in Ogun State, Comrade Olayinka Folarin said he “finds it difficult to believe that the Federal Government, which is fighting corruption in Nigeria, will clear Buratai, an army officer who is supposed to lead by example. The clearance is a big calamity and a dent on the war against corruption being fought by President Muhammadu Buhari. It also shows that the corruption war is lopsided and selective which means that some people will keep enjoying immunity even when they are supposed to be investigated and punished.”
An Abuja based human rights lawyer, Mr Ugochukwu Osuagwu said what is important is whether Buratai declared the Dubai property in his asset declaration form or not. “If he did, no problem. But, if Buratai didn’t declare them on appointment as COAS, then, he should be prosecuted”, Osuagwu said.