Buhari cannot win war on corruption without ACJA – KWHA Speaker
By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad Monday said President Muhammadu Buhari may not successfully win the on-going war against corruption without the implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Act.
Dr Ahmad stated this in Ibadan while delivering a lecture organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) entitled “War on Corruption: Role of the Media in implementation of Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA 2015”.
The Speaker pointed out that for the corruption war to be a reality, there is the need for the President to look beyond fighting corruption mainly in law courts, saying, “unless am not properly informed, the current strategy of fighting corruption seems to centre on prosecution in law courts.
“This war on corruption as presently being fought, may not be won, am afraid to say. I am raising the alarm so that we all ponder to reconsider the current strategy. I believe five things are wrong with the current strategy of focusing the fight against corruption mainly in law courts, the President can do nothing with the first three, but he may quickly intervene in the last two,” he said.
The Speaker gave the five things as “powerful nature of these defendants and their lawyers, the true nature of courts as a formal, deliberative process where facts must be proved beyond all reasonable doubts, pervasiveness of corruption in Nigeria, doubtful constitutionality of S.306 of ACJA, prohibiting stay of proceedings and detachment of the Executive from the National Assembly.
“You want to solely rely on adjudication to fight endemic corruption; after all, you know that politically exposed persons are no ordinary defendants when it comes to hiring the services of defence attorneys who have clouts in and outside of the courtroom”.
He stressed further that “I think a robust strategy for an administration that has only four years and that seeks to attack corruption frontally will be to support the legislature in exposing corruption, support the media in monitoring the process and mobilising the citizens accordingly” adding, “the executive will then implement the legislative recommendations as it deems fit, and then the few that so deserve are now turned over for adjudication.
“This is my thesis on the current fight against corruption and how ACJA can be a formidable tool in that regard.”
On the corruption missing link during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, the speaker said, “the House of Representatives carried out investigations and approved a total of 560 resolutions, a quarter of that was related to corruption. That was about 140 resolutions agreed to by majority of the 360members”.