The presidential candidate of Action Democratic Party (ADP) for the 2019 Nigeria elections, Sani Yabagi, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over the handling of corruption cases.
Yabagi said the prosecution of Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, will now create an impression that the Presidency is intimidating the opposition.
According to him, this is because Atiku is challenging the victory of President Buhari at the recently held polls before the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
“I understand that Atiku’s lawyer and brother-in-law have been put behind bars by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the court.
“That is not in tandem with what the political situation in the country is. It has a negative impact because we have not forgotten that Atiku is in court and people will think this is another way of intimidating the opposition.
“So I think no matter what the case may be, in terms of what Atiku’s lawyer and the in-law must have done, I will expect that some decorum is exhibited because this is somebody that is in court with you. People will think you are trying to intimidate the opposition,” he said.
But reacting, a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Daniel Bwala, said Babalele’s prosecution by the anti-graft agency shows the commitment if the current administration to the rule of law.
Bwala who is also a member Lincoln’s inn, London and aide to the Deputy Senate President on Legal Affairs, said the stature of the law is blind, stressing that immunity does not cover relatives of people vying for public offices.
“In an ideal democratic society, the rule of law thrives. And the law does not grant immunity to somebody or his family simply because the person is running for office in government.
“And of course, the stature of the law is blind. Otherwise, people will think that if I want to get some degree of immunity, I just run for office and every member of my family will be protected. I don’t think it’s a valid argument,” he said.
Atiku’s son-in-law who is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a 2-count charge of alleged money laundering, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.