- Femi Falana and Itse Sagay have defended the looters list published by the federal government
- Falana said there is nothing wrong with the looters list, since common people are also paraded daily for committing petty offences
- Sagay also opined that the list was released in the interest of the public and in accordance with the court’s directive
Some stakeholders at the Second Forum of the Anti-Corruption Situation Room, on Thursday, May 17, chided those criticising the federal government for listing names of treasury looters.
Femi Falana (SAN) was one of the attendees at the forum which was organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA), The Nation reports.
NAIJ.com gathers that Falana said that contrary to the claim by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and some of its leaders, there was nothing wrong with the listing of looters by the federal government.
The legal luminary pointed out that there was nothing wrong with naming treasury looters, if the Police could parade common men for petty crimes.
He stated: “Recently, the names of looters were published in the newspapers and I read a lot of publications in the media. Media men and women were challenging the violation of the rights of the looters.
“They are saying how can you do that? How can you publish the names of looters? You have violated their rights to fair hearing. I say ‘wow, beautiful’, but please we must not join such hallelujah people.
“Please, let us begin to interrogate the literature of corruption. In this country, common people are paraded daily for committing petty offences by the Police; and the media men and women attend such media parade. They even interrogate the suspects, particularly armed robbery and kidnapping suspects.
“With blood gushing out of their faces, the Police will tell you that they have made confessional statements. The media would then ask, why did you rob?
“Somebody who has not been taken to any court, you force them to make incriminating statements regularly in our country. Nobody talks about human rights. Nobody talks about the presumption of innocence.
“It is only when you are talking of the rich that we are sounding so eloquent and singing about human rights. Human rights are for all of us. So please, let us stop the practice of talking about police brutality when a senator is involved because the police brutalise Nigerians daily.
“We don’t talk of human rights when we are dealing with the poor; but even all of us, I am sure you know when a rich man is fat and you are obese and you want to lose some weight, you go around our cities, jogging, and that is normal.
“The police will even cheer you, ‘well done sir, we’ll done ma’. But if a poor man does that, that is wandering; and you are arrested. How can you be running around? A poor man running around the city, you want to steal in the neighbourhood.
“So please, we must begin to look at the language of the law. I am happy with the use of the word ‘looters’; it is better than just saying corrupt people, money launderer.”
The list was also defended by Prof Itse Sagay (SAN), chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).
He said: “I still insist that anyone who has a good reason to include a name should put the name.”
Sagay pointed out that the federal government had been ordered by a court, to publish the names of those who looted the nation’s resources; and that the list was released in the interest of the public and in accordance with the court’s directive.
He further said he won’t be surprised if more names are added to the list, adding: “There is a very large number of these people who presided over the looting of the assets of this country.”
The minister for information, Lai Mohammed, has been sued by the national chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus and Dr Raymond Dokpesi, over the inclusion of their names on the list.
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) expressed concern over the alleged silence on the federal government’s much-awaited third and comprehensive batch of the list of suspected looters in Nigeria as promised recently.
The government had reportedly promised that a more comprehensive list of alleged looters under the government of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should be expected.
FG releases list of looters, Nigerians blow hot - on NAIJ.com TV: