By Henry Umoru
ABUJAâ€”Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mrs. Farida Waziri yesterday vowed that she was prepared to prosecute the immediate past Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Michael Aondoakaa if charges of corruption were brought before the Commission against him.
Speaking yesterday at the G6 Security Summit in Abuja, Waziri who warned that until those who steal public fund were thoroughly punished and brought to book, Nigeria may end up as a failed nation, just as she called for the establishment of special courts to fast track the process of trailing corrupt officials, thereby jailing them when the need arises.
According to her, if Nigeria must get there in its anti-graft war, establishment of special courts remain the only solution to speedy trail of corrupt cases, stressing that the normal system where EFCC cases were brought before the courts have proven to be very slow.
She spoke at the summit with the theme, â€œExpediting the trial of criminal suspects within the contiguous states of Benue, Kaduna, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and FCTâ€, stressed the need for synergy between the security agencies and administrators of criminal justice.
Answering questions from newsmen, the EFCC boss said, â€œA lot is happening in the EFCC especially in the political cases.Â Iâ€™m not aware, whether the ex-AGF is being probe, but surely, I will prosecute him if he is found to have stolen public funds, why not?
On whether he was removed as a result of his corrupt activities, Waziri saidÂ Â Â â€œI donâ€™t think so.â€
She also said Aondoakaa was not exactly interfering with the work of the EFCC.
On whether the Commission would prosecute the former Justice Minister, she said, â€œSure, why notâ€
â€œWe Need to examine some of these issues, people keep stealing â€“stealing, they buy big mansion in United States of America USA, United Kingdom, South Africa, Dubai etcÂ but the funny thing about it is that, theÂ outside world is using our collective money to do businesses and develop their economies
â€œUntil those who loot us were punished otherwise Nigeria will end up a failed nation. If you arrest a big man in Nigeria they will tell you that you are wasting your time because they know that they will use their bad defense counsel to frustrate trial this is our frustration. The level of corruption in Nigeria Iâ€™m disappointedâ€
Earlier, the FCTA Minister, Senator Muhammad Adamu Aliero stressed the need for speedy prosecution of all criminal suspects by various courts of the land in order to restore integrity of the nationâ€™s criminal justice system.
According to him, there was also the need for synergy between the security agencies and administrators of criminal justice involved in the justice administration in the country.
â€œIn the course of this collective intercourse and in an effort to establish a comprehensive and global approach to the challenges of crime prevention and management in the zone, it has been established that the process of arrest, investigation, trail, conviction and sentencing of persons engaged in criminal activity must be made seamlessâ€, he said.
Aliero who expressed displeasure over undue delay in the dispensation of justice in the country considering the long list of persons awaiting trail and the instances where persons arrested for violent crimes like armed robbery were released on bail, called for the overhauling of the nationâ€™s criminal justice system, adding thatÂ the government needs to review the bail condition of robbers to stop them from reengaging in similar act.
Earlier, Chief Judge of the FCT, Justice Lawal Hassan Gummi called for the introduction of computer system in FCT courts to ensure proper recording of courtsâ€™ proceedings, adding that there was the need for information sharing in order to checkmate state crimes and enhance the quality of justice delivery, restoration of public confidence in criminal justice administration and creation of enabling environment for economic growth, political stability and social cohesion.
In his overview of the criminal justice in the country, he debunked insinuation that the countryâ€™s â€œcriminal justice has totally failedâ€ but admitted that itâ€™s being faced with lots of challenges which are not insurmountable.
According to him, â€œneither do I agree with the jaundiced statement that our criminal justice system is a â€˜conveyor belt of injusticeâ€™. But I do know that all is not well with our criminal justice system. It is faced with lots of challenges which are not insurmountable should we decide to tackle them with tenacity of purpose and a deep sense of duty.
â€œNo matter on the side of the divide we are or shade of opinion any of us hold, we all are in general agreement of the need for a change in the way things are in our criminal justice system. In all progressive societies and institutions change is constant.
It is inevitable. We should equally consider the challenge of a near non-existence of any distraction between the various agencies responsible for the administration of justice.
â€œPresently, the police prosecute independently of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney-Generalâ€™s office both at federal and state levels of the Ministry of Justice. The police only forward cases concerning certain classes of offences for advice to the Ministryâ€.