With Florence Amagiya
The Anti Graft Agency popularly known as EFCC is on it again. Not long ago, they told us that former Governor of Edo State, Lucky Igbinedion was charged for embezzlement of public funds and it was drama all through. After the drama, it ended on a plea bargain.
Over the years, Nigerians have asked questions as to the ability of this agency to fight corruption to a standstill, but it has been garbage in garbage out.
The news all over the place is in respect of former speaker Dimeji Bankole, who was charged and arraigned for a 16 – count charge of contract inflation amounting to #894 million and inflation for purchase of sundry items among others. Dimeji Bankole has been granted bail as usual in the sum of #50million.
The questions are: How much have we realized so far from this plea bargain since 1999 till date? Where is the money channeled into? To what extent can the society relate to these corrupt public officers? Is plea bargain the best option?
In my candid opinion, I think the Anti- Graft Agency (EFCC) cannot fight corruption as they claim. This is true because if they are committed to fighting corruption, such attitude towards erradicating corruption would be seen in them.
For instance, the EFCC has arraigned and discharged many public officers they(corrupt politicians) have plea- bargained. Why should that be?
I believe that the essence of criminal justice is to punish an offender, not to give him a soft landing because punishing an offender will deter others from committing the same offence. This means that the EFCC is indirectly creating a situation whereby a corrupt politician would only at the end of his arrest, be made to submit part of his loot for his sins to be forgiven. This will encourage them to loot some more because they know they could keep bigger part of the loot for their future use.