It is is no longer news that we do not have an Attorney-General of the Federation. However whether we have an Attorney-General or not, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission can function and has been functioning.
My learned senior Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN in representation has done his best for Mr. Dimeji Bankole in an attempt to quash the charges filed by the EFCC against the former Speaker before the High Court.
believe the law is absolute.
Reference must be made to
certain relevant statutory
sections for the purposes of
this issue. They are:
||1. Section 15 of the 1999 Constitution which states and I quote:
‘The state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power.’
2. Section 16[c] also states and I quote:
(2) The State shall direct its policy towards ensuring -
‘[c]…..that the economic system is not operated in such a manner as to permit the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or of a group;…’
3. 4th Oath of Allegiance contained in the 7TH Schedule and I quote:
‘OATH OF A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OR OF A HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
I,[Dimeji Bankole]do solemnly swear/affirm that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that as a Member of the House of Representatives, I will perform my functions honestly to the best of my ability, faithfully and in accordance with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the law, and the rules of the House of Representatives and always in the interest of sovereignty, integrity, solidarity, well-being and prosperity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; that I will strive to preserve the Fundamental Objectives and Directives Principles of State Policy contained in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and that I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and that I will abide by the Code of Conduct contained in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
So help me God.’
Mr. Dimeji Bankole in his capacity as Speaker and his deputy Mallam Bayero Usman Nafada of the 6th House of Representatives having sworn to the Oath of Allegiance are in clear violation of sections 15, 16 [c] and 4th Oath of Allegiance contained in the 7th Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as a result of the loans procured using the powers conferred upon them to grossly enrich themselves..
I respectfully submit that the EFCC has full powers to prosecute the former Speaker, his Deputy and all officers who used their respective offices to secure personal loans to the tune of N38billion thereby enriching themselves.
I am advised by the decision of
Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Osahon  5NWLR [Part 973]361 at pages 411 paragraphs C to G per Kutigi JSC when he stated and I quote:
“ The 1999 Constitution is no doubt as expected far ahead of both the Federal High Court Act and the Police Act when it provided for ‘any other authority or person’ as above. It is observed that both the Federal High Court Act and the Police Act are Federal Acts and or legislations. It is therefore unthinkable to talk of one being superior to the other. The two Acts must therefore not be read in isolation of one another. They must be read together jointly with the provisions of section 174 of the Constitution. And once that is done, the conclusion is inescapable that Police Officers mentioned in section 23 of the Police Act easily come under and covered by ‘any other authority or person’ contained in section 174 of the Constitution [see for example Olusemo v. Commissioner of Police  11 NWLR [Pt. 575]-547; Comptroller, Nigerian Prisons Service, Lagos v. Adekanye 15 NWLR[Pt. 790] 318. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and section 174 is very clear and unambiguous. It means what it says. It must be applied.
The only irresistible conclusion I have reached is that section 56 of the Federal High Court Act and section 23 of the Police Act when read together with section 174[b],[c] of the Constitution make it clear that a Police Officer, any Police Officer, has the power to conduct criminal proceedings before the Federal High Court.”
For purposes of clarity I refer to Section 13[a] of EFCC Act 2004 which falls within the realm of this argument. It empowers the EFCC to prosecute, as it states and I quote:
||“ The Legal and Prosecution Unit
shall be charged with responsibility for- [a] Prosecuting offenders
under this Act…’’
This provision shall be read
conjunctively with section 174 of the 1999 Constitution.
The EFCC Act is an act of the National Assembly with the 4th of June 2004 as its commencement date. It does not run contrary to the dictates of the 1999 Constitution because it was a law duly enacted by the National Assembly under powers conferred on it by
Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution.
Also looking at the constituent members of the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, the representative of the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice is provided for in 2[c][iii] and the representative of the Inspector-General of Police is provided for in 2[n] of the EFCC Act 2004.
The EFCC Act complements section 174 of the 1999 Constitution.
By virtue of the constituent members of the commission, there is no need for a fiat by the Attorney-General, the EFCC has full prosecuting powers under section 13[a] of the EFFC Act 2004. Section 174 of the 1999 constitution remains uncontradicted, uncontroverted or infringed upon
The decision in FRN v Osahon [supra] states clearly that the powers of the Attorney-General of the Federation are not exclusive. It is inclusive of other agencies such as the EFCC who are authorized to act in the capacity they’ve done.
The EFCC is therefore an authority conferred with powers of arrest and prosecution.
CONTRACT IN THE TERMS OF 7TH SCHEDULE
The 7th Schedule shows the terms of the contract in form of the Oath of Allegiance sworn to by the former Speaker and his crew. The people of Nigeria have furnished consideration by the payment of salaries of the former Speaker, his Deputy and other principal officers [who took the N38billion loan] while in office.
The abrupt and arbitrary increase of their salaries is a violation of the terms of the contract. Separate charges of unjust enrichment must however be levied against the former Speaker and his crew. [It is a lucid abuse of power]. The N38billion loan constitutes without prior authorization from the Federal government a gross violation of s.15  and 16[c] of the 1999 constitution . It presupposes that it was not in the interest of the development of the people of Nigeria or their prosperity, but in the concentration and development of the pockets of the few namely the former Speaker, the former Deputy speaker and the other officers who partook in the procurement of the loan.
We need to ask the former Speaker, Deputy Speaker and all those in the 6th Assembly who partook in the sourcing of the loans the following questions:
||1. What was the purport of the loan?
2. On whose authority was the loan secured and for whom?
3. Is the loan for Bankole or for the prosperity of the people of
4. Does the NET Building now belong to Bankole or the Federal
Government of Nigeria?
5. Would Bankole have had access to such a loan had he not been
elected into the house?
Mr. Festus Keyamo having being appointed by the EFCC can prosecute Bankole. He falls within the ambit of the legal practitioners contained in the prescription of the decision in FRN v Osahon[supra].
Everything in the 1999 constitution is subject to public policy which literarily means
“IN THE INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE OF NIGERIA’’.
We must rid our country of Corruption so that we can develop infrastructurally and enhance our human capacity development.
MOHAMMED FAWEHINMI, ESQ