LG Funds: NFIU Does Not Have Powers To Prosecute, Says Lawyer

A lawyer, George Eke


A legal practitioner, George Eke, says the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) does not have the powers to prosecute culprits.

Appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, he said that unlike the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the NFIU is incapacitated with arraigning violators of some financial crimes.

“My only worry is that they (NFIU) don’t have prosecutorial powers. And you cannot begin to threaten anybody when you cannot take the person to court and prosecute him.

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“But I think they want to hide under their sister organisation, the EFCC because it has overwhelming powers to prosecute,” he said on Tuesday.

His comments come two days after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the NFIU to order over funds allocated to all Local Government Areas (LGAs) across the country.

In a statement by the NGF’s spokesman, Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo, the governors said the agency was dabbling into a matter that was beyond its mandate.

But reacting, he said the local governments are short of funds, lamented that the state governors have not given the local councils their dues from the joint accounts.

He alleged that most governors have rubber-stamps the local governments to the extent that about 80 per cent of the states don’t have elected local government chairmen.

“We expected that the NGF was going to react in this manner. The reason is that the joint account is very important to the governors.

“As a matter of fact, that is actually what attracts quite a number of people to contest for that position because it is like a free fund.

“The intendment of the constitution is that these monies will be paid into the joint account and the governors, in turn, will pass it to the local governments so that they can have this third-tier development,” he stated.

Power Politics Of Governors Caused PDP Crisis – George Eke

Gorge-Eke-PDPA member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr George Eke, has attributed the crisis in the party to the power politics of the PDP governors.

Mr Eke, who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme on Tuesday, believed that the influence behind the crisis was internal and not external.

“The influence is internal. It is the power politics of governors who want to show that they are in charge (and) who want to take over the party,” he said.

Influence Of The Governors

However, the lawyer said although the influence of the governors could not be removed, they could be made to realise that “the PDP belongs to everyone”.

“You cannot remove the influence of the governors because the governors are members of the party and once they are incumbent governors, they control some votes (and) they control some influence.

“We cannot say we could do without the governors but we can whittle their influence.

“We can tell the governors that the party belongs to every other person inclusive of the governors,” he said on Sunrise Daily.

Mr Eke also gave his opinion on how the forthcoming PDP convention in Abuja could resolve the crisis rocking the party since May.

“The only way it (the convention) can resolve the crisis is if we do not look at one group as a bad group.

“If you continue to see him (Senator Ali Modu Sheriff) as a bad guy, you never can resolve this problem,” he stated.

The PDP member insisted that Senator Sheriff must be absorbed into the party, citing an instance where he added live to the party when “PDP was in toxic”.

Crisis in the PDP began after top leadership of the party at a convention in Port Harcourt in May removed the chairman of the party, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and set up a Caretaker Committee led by Senator Ahmed Makarfi.

After his removal, Senator Sheriff continued to parade himself as the leader of the party, insisting that a court had asked the party not to hold the convention.

While both Senator Makarfi and Senator Sheriff continue to lay claims to the leadership of the party, different courts at different times have ruled in favour of both men as the leaders of the party.

Fight Against Corruption Is Sensational – George Eke

george eke on corruption A Nigerian Lawyer has described Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign as sensational and diversionary.

Mr George Eke was speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday.

He admitted that “corruption is like cancer to any administration – it will affect the health care system, education sector among others and it needs to be expunged” but opined that corruption should not be the main focus of any government.

Arguing that the government needs to do other things, he explained fighting corruption is a process that takes time and Nigeria cannot afford to focus on this alone.

The lawyer said that corruption has three platforms: conservative factor, sociological factor and accounting factor. “The sociological factor borders on the value orientation,” he said.

“What we see now is that corruption is the central thing that we are doing and it is so centralised. There is no other thing we talk about in Nigeria today other than corruption.

“It has gotten to a level where our leaders make speeches abroad and make reference to the corruption eating deep the Nigerian system by giving an impression that Nigeria is a country that is soaked in corruption. It doesn’t work like that,” he said.

While talking about the dwindling economy, Mr Eke noted that Nigerians are yet to see any development by the government to solve the crisis.

“As far as I am concerned, I’ve never seen the economic team of this administration. I don’t know who is piloting the economy of this country.

“I also do not know the economic blueprint of this country, I do not know who is the special adviser on economy in this administration and all we keep hearing about is fight against corruption,” he said.

The Day of Reckoning Has Come Into Our Democracy – George Eke

George_EkeA legal practitioner and member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Geore Eke on Thursday praised the conduct of the 2015 general elections, maintaining that it has attained a height where politicians can be questioned by the electorate.

“Nigerians can now withdraw their mandate when they so desire”, he said while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

He further said that four years down the line, Nigerians “will be able to ask General Muhammadu Buhari what he did with the mandate given to him.

“In other words it’s like the day of reckoning has come into our democracy” adding that “that is where we have been heading to; we have been asking for this. A situation where the ballot now counts”, he said.

He said Nigeria’s political landscape has gone beyond “just getting a nomination in PDP” and getting the position “just like that” because “PDP was the dominant party”.

He said Nigerians should be grateful to President Goodluck Jonathan for making such a possibility, adding that the president provided the atmosphere for things to change.

“PDP was larger than life and they wanted it to remain that way but the man (President) said let us expand this democratic space; incidentally, he is the victim of this expansion and he needs to be commended”, he insisted.

He further noted that President Jonathan was in a position to scuttle the merger that birthed the APC, arguing that if the President had given those involved in the merger “what they wanted”, the opposition would not have been formed.

Mr Eke also praised the President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari and commended the speech he gave after receiving his certificate of return, noting that “every sentence meant a lot.

“He had tried to douse the tension, just like his counterpart in the PDP” adding that “the APC is not particularly coming out gloating” about the victory.

Nigeria’s main opposition party, the All progressives Congress (APC) won the March 28 presidential election defeating the ruling party that has ruled Nigeria since it returned to democracy in 1999.

The opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari polled a total of 15,424,921 votes to defeat 13 other candidates, with Dr Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling PDP polling a total of 12,853,162 votes to place second.

Ex-Governor’s Pension Law Must Be Scrapped – George Eke

George EkeA legal practitioner, George Eke, on Wednesday advocated that the controversial ex-governor’s pension law be scrapped and a “Salary For Life” approach be adopted to allow those who have served to have benefits after their time in office.

“Let them have, at least for serving, life pension” he said, while on Sunrise Daily, describing the extra perks including cooks, security aides, houses as “looting and an abuse of the office.”

Although he commended Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpbabio for bringing the discussion to the front burner, Eke insisted that the law was an attempt by governor’s leaving office to get enough money to keep them secured after their tenures.

He stressed that the bill has been passed in almost all the States of the federation and wondered where the NGO’s and civil society groups were when the law was initially passed.

According to the lawyer, the perks for those who have served in office are too much, which is why many become desperate to be in power.

“Why must the governor be in the sky after serving?” he asked, noting that no destitute contests for the position of governor and so the law mandating that a 5-bedroom house for governor “is rubbish”.

On the health pension, Eke said the governors should make the health system work and then they can be given free medical attention after office.

“Let them have at least for serving, life pension” he said, describing the extra perks of cooks, security aides, houses in Abuja as “looting and an abuse of the office.”

Constitution Permits Peaceful Rally – Lawyer

A lawyer, George Eke has said that a peacefully rally can be held without the need of any permission from the police except in cases where security is needed.

He stated that Section 40 of the constitution talks about “peace rally” which permits that a rally holds as long as it is “peaceful.” However, Eke added that it is in the purview of the police to determine if the rally is peaceful or not.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr. Eke berated the police commissioner for claiming that the media was biased in reporting the incident because “the same media gave the commissioner a medium to air his views.”

Mr. Eke added that the police claimed they got security information that the rival party was going to attack the rally and if the police had looked away like the way people asked them to, and this rival party arrived, it may have caused mayhem which would lead to the federal government declaring Rivers state a state of emergency.

He said that “if the rival group was going to attack, the first thing the police would have done is to prevent the rally from holding”.

National Conference: Nigeria’s Most Confusing Event in Recent Times – Eke

A legal practitioner, George Eke, has described the on-going debate on the proposed National Conference as a very confusing exercise for many Nigerians because of the ambiguity of language, terms and multiple analysis of it.

He said this while appearing as a guest on Sunrise Daily.

“There is this omnibus language of ‘let us talk’, we don’t know what we are going to talk about, we don’t know who we are going to talk (with), we don’t know whether it is supposed to be an ethnic dialogue which David Mark suggested, we don’t know if it will end up as a constitutional conference which is what they are expecting that there is going to be a constitution thereafter that is going to be supreme or take precedence over what we have”.

Reacting to the suggestion that the above observation is part of the main purpose for which the the Advisory Committee was consituted, he said:

“Part of the confusion is that even (in) the advisory committee; you will notice that some people are making remarks that there is no youth in the committee.

We are talking about advice; the president could have as well just asked his minister for special duties to advise him. We are already even quarrelling with the composition of the advisory committee, not to talk of what is going to come out”.

Mr Eke said that he is not ‘crazy’ about the National Conference, because he has been an ardent follower of those who argue for this conference and by the recommendation of philosophy, political science, sociology and law and referring to famous old philosophers, he posited that;

“Sovereignty is that inherent capacity of the society to govern itself but through social contract, but some people have misinformed either mischievously or they do not know”.

“The society confers or transmits willingly this sovereignty to the government.”

He disagreed with some lawyers’ opinion that the people can donate part of the sovereignty to the government, arguing that sovereignty cannot be partly given to the government because it is in itself synonym with government. Therefore Nigerians’ sovereignty is wholly and entirely in their government, he said, adding that, “sovereignty belongs to the people but resides in the government”.

He spoke further on the argument that the Conference is important because the 1914 amalgamation was wrongly done without consulting the will of the common Nigerian. He posited that it is practically impossible to be able to truly get all Nigerians to contribute to a conference that is happening in Abuja. According to him, they may not be more than 500, 000 people clamouring for the conference, so it is purely politics as the voice of many Nigerians will not be heard in the whole plan.

He recommended that good integrative leadership is the solution to Nigeria’s problem as only then can the common man be truly represented because a new constitution can only help when the people elected to implement it are truly representing the people.

He also suggested that the power at the center is neutralised through a constitutional conference which he said would have been a better name for the conference.

Analyst calls Ribadu, Oronsanye’s faceoff a distraction

A lawyer and public affairs analyst, George Eke on Thursday said that the disagreement between the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task Force, Nuhu Ribadu and Stephen Oronsanye is a ploy to distract Nigerians from the malpractices in the oil and gas industry.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Eke said the first problem with the taskforce was in the way it was constituted. He said it would have been better if the panel was constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan rather than the Petroleum Resources Minister.