April 8, 2010

Rights groups seek IBB’s trial over $12.4bn Gulf oil windfall

By Emma Amaize

WARRI—TEN of the leading civil society groups in the country have petitioned the new Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, SAN, asking him to “urgently and fully implement the recommendations of the late Dr Pius Okigbo Panel Report, which indicted former military President, General Ibrahim Gbadamosi Babangida (rtd) over allegations of mismanagement of $12.4bn 1991 Gulf oil windfall by ensuring his immediate and fair prosecution.”

The groups are the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, Access to Justice, AJ, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Nigeria Liberty Forum, NLF, Women Advocates and Documentation Centre, WARDC, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, HEDA, Committee for Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, and   Partnership for Justice, PFJ, Nigeria Voters Assembly, VOTAS, and Centre for the Rule of Law, CFR.

They warned that if within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter,   the suggested measures were not fully implemented by the Attorney-General, “We will take all appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally to compel you to comply with Nigeria’s voluntary international anti-corruption commitments.”

“We will also work vigorously to mobilize Nigerians through online campaign tools such as Facebook, You Tube, MySpace, and others to ensure that sufficient pressure is mounted on the government to implement the longstanding recommendations of the Okigbo report,” they said.

The petition,  dated 7 April 2010, was signed by Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, SERAP; Joseph Otteh, Executive Director, AJ; Auwal Rafsanjani, Executive Director, CISLAC; Kayode Ogundamisi, Convener, NLF; Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Executive Director, WARDC; Olanrewaju Suraju, Head, HEDA; Olasupo Ojo, President, CDHR; Itoro Eze-Anaba, Managing Partner, PFJ; Moshood Erubami, President, VOTAS; and Tejumade Oke, Programme Director, CFR.

According to the civil society groups, “We are seriously concerned that since the report was submitted to the then Sani Abacha administration on 29 August 1994, successive governments have failed and/or neglected to act on the report, and the former Obasanjo government reportedly claimed that the report could not be found.”