By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJAâ€”Lagos lawyer, Mr Festus Keyamo yesterday criticised the decision by the Federal Government to withdraw a criminal charge on non-declaration of assets against the pioneer Chairman of EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Keyamo said the decision was bad and capable of creating the impression that some Nigerians are above the law and should be reversed.
The immediate past Attorney-General of the Federation, Prince Tokunbo Kayode, SAN, had given the directive for the withdrawal of the charge before the Yarâ€™Adua cabinet was dissolved.
He had exercised his powers conferred on him by section 174 of the 1999 constitution to order the withdrawal of the case.
By virtue of the powers conferred on the Attorney-General of the Federation, he has the unlimited powers to prosecute anybody suspected to have committed any crime and has the same powers to stop proceedings in any on-going criminal case.
Although he is expected to exercise the powers in the interest of justice and public interest but his exercise of the powers is most times, not subjected to review by anybody.
But Keyamo yesterday said the government should take a second look at the decision.
His words: â€œThe reported decision of the Federal Government to withdraw criminal charges against Malam Nuhu Ribadu bordering on failure to declare assets as a public officer is totally wrong, very insensitive, entirely unwise, ill-advised and amounts to an abuse of office and power by the Acting President, Goodluck Jonathan.
â€œOn what moral or legal basis was the decision taken?
â€œIn the last ten years in this country, corruption charges have never been withdrawn against any public officer except the court decides the public officer has no case to answer.
â€œSo, why treat Nuhu Ribadu as a sacred cow when that was the very tendency he was reported to have fought against? â€œWhy should Ribadu not be held accountable by the same standards by which he also held others accountable?