- The presidency described the acquittal of Saraki at the CCT as outrageous
- Obono-Obla wondered how he was acquitted in spite of the provision of overwhelming evidence against him
- Also reacting, Transparency International described it as an attempt to demoralise corruption fight
The presidency has described the Code of Conduct Tribunal’s upholding of the no-case submission of Senate president, Bukola Saraki as outrageous and travesty of justice.
The Punch reports that Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla who is the special assistant to the president on prosecution wondered why in spite of the overwhelming evidence against Saraki, the CCT still acquitted him.
He said: “It is a travesty of justice. It is pedestrian and it is outrageous. It is against the weight.
“There was overwhelming evidence, cogent evidence, incontrovertible evidence, which cannot be dismissed by a no-case submission. The trial judge ought to have called on the defendant to enter his defence against the evidence adduced by the prosecution.
“The prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), is one the best in the country and he conducted that case professionally, conscientiously and diligently.
“So we are amazed, we are surprised.”
The special assistant said the notion that Saraki’s release was a political agreement was false.
“It is balderdash; it is hogwash.
“We know that President Muhammadu Buhari is a paragon of integrity. The Attorney General of the Federation is also a paragon of integrity that will never compromise cases.”
“And we will go on with this fight against corruption despite the frustration, despite the setback.
“We will go back to the drawing board, re-strategise because Nigeria must be saved.
“Our head is bruised but it is unbowed.”
Transparency International also reacted to the acquittal of Saraki describing it as an attempt to demoralise the war on corruption in Nigeria.
Mr. Auwal Musa-Rafsanjani who is the head of the Nigeria chapter of the group said: “It is another sad day for the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria. I think Nigerians are sad that this has happened. It just goes to show that Nigeria’s corrupt elite are united.
“To take advantage of the system is their thing; they will continue to connive against the Nigerian people. They have no regard for ethno-religious or party affiliation, the corrupt Nigerian elite are united in perpetuating violence and plundering our resources to perpetuate themselves in power.
“You can see how they were celebrating this kangaroo verdict, which is a calculated attempt to demoralise the anti-corruption community in Nigeria’s attempt to fight corruption.
“Even those people like (Col. Sambo) Dasuki (retd,) and all those who helped themselves to our collective patrimony during the President Jonathan era, who are standing trial for corruption, may be set free by this judiciary, but we must never give up. We must continue to fight until we rid this nation of the traces of corruption.”
Meanwhile, the Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, described the victory of the Senate President Bukola at the Code of Conduct Tribunal as another victory of Nigerians over tyranny.
Punch reports that the governor said he was happy that he predicted that the CCT will absolve Saraki in his predictions made in December 2016 and “it has come to pass.”
NAIJ.com gathered that Fayose, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, on Wednesday June 14, said the judgment was another lesson for the President Muhammadu Buhari led All Progressives Congress Federal Government that criminal cases are not won on the pages of newspapers.
He drew the attention of Nigerians to number eight of his 22 predictions for the year 2017.
He said: “I said it categorically that the Code of Conduct Tribunal will absolve Senate President Bukola Saraki and today, the prediction came to pass.”
Watch a NAIJ.com TV video below of the EFCC staging a walk against corruption.