By Jane Echewodo
Human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana SAN has urged Nigerians not to leave the fight of corruption to any institution but to the bull by the horn in order to make it successful.
Falana , who was the Chairman of the occasion to mark international free corruption day while Speaking in Radisson, Lagos at the presentation of the third edition of ‘Compendium of 100 high-profile corruption cases in Nigeria, organised by Human and Environmental Development Agenda said that Nigerians should not leave the politics of our country for professional politicians without ideas.
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He said, “if we leave governance to fools, we are going to be governed by laws made by the fools.
The human rights lawyer added that Nigerians should monitor budgets in their local government areas, states and at the federal level. He said it was insulting for anyone to say Lagos State, with poor road network, is working.
Falana stated that corruption had continued to thrive in government circles because Nigerians were no longer holding public officers accountable. He said it was impossible for any governor to think of flying in private jets when there was vibrant student unionism in schools, saying students would question such governors. He stated that those in government now stole with impunity.
Falana maintained that many of the public office holders looting government treasury would not pass psychiatric tests because stealing the amount of money they and their children would not be able to spend was madness.
He said “it was unfortunate that those who went to school free of charge in those days were the ones making it impossible for children of the poor to go to school now through policies and recklessness.
“Don’t leave the politics of your country for professional politicians without ideas. If you leave governance to fools, you are going to be governed by laws made by the fools.
“In this case, you leave politics for corrupt people, you are going to be governed by laws made by corrupt people. That is why they want to silence you. They want to silence you so that you won’t be able to ask questions.
“You can’t be producing books like this (compendium of high profile corruption cases) this is hate speech. I am serious, this is hate speech. Hate speech is a reenactment of the sedition law brought to Nigeria by the colonial regime.
He however, pointed out that the hate speech bill being considered by the Senate is an attempt to gag Nigerians from speaking against the alleged massive corruption going on in government circle.
Falana who is the defence counsel to Sowore maintained that the rearrest of the publisher of Saharareporters, Omoyele Sowore, by the Department of State Services immediately after a court ordered his release was a confirmation of hate Speech attempt.
“When you are charged with sedition, anything that will annoy the government, truth is not a defence. Under Buhari’s Decree 4, truth was not a defence.
“Hate speech bill is not about abusing somebody, it is about exposing corruption, exposing injustice, exposing criminality and exposing gross violation of human rights that is what the hate speech means”.
Falana also thought about the convicted human right governor of Abia State. He described what happened as aching to crimes against humanity. It goes beyond corruption. In civic world country, a governor steals billions, is no longer a case of ordinary corruption.
“If we put some of this funds together we can banish poverty from Nigeria. Is no long enough to say if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us. Is not going to kill us. There is something much more fundamental that will kill us and that is poverty and why are we poor? We must begin to interrogate the bases of the crisis we are going through”.