In an unusual burst of activism, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has indicated its intention to charge the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, to court within the next 24 hours.

The commission's spokesperson, Femi Babafemi, in a telephone interview with SaharaReporters, said the embattled former representative is still being interrogated on the corruption issues in which he is allegedly involved, following which he will be formally charged taken to court.

''You know he was arrested late yesterday night. So by this night it will make 24 hours,'' Mr Babafemi said. ''He is still being interrogated. From here most likely he will be taken to court.''

The EFCC arrested Mr. Bankole on Sunday night. Corrupt Nigerian officials, especially of the ruling party, are rarely taken to court.  When they are, they are rarely efficiently prosecuted in order to let them benefit from legal technicalities.  They are then conveniently let off to enjoy their loot and become even more powerful.

Only last week, former Edo State Governor, Lucky Igbinedion, who was facing a second round of corruption charges in a court, was sent home by the trial judge who claimed Igbinedion was being re-tried on previous charges.  The EFCC has stated that the charges were different, and indicated it will appeal the ruling.

Also last week, the House tendered an unreserved apology to its former Speaker and Bankole's predecessor, Patricia Etteh and lifted all forms of indictments which led to her removal from office in October 2007. In that year, Etteh and Deputy Speaker Babangida Igoroje, were removed from their positions following allegations of appropriation of  the sum of N628 million meant for renovation and furnishing of their official residences without the chamber’s approval.

In a late-breaking development, SaharaReporters has learned that Mr. Bankole's home is now being searched for evidence following a warrant granted by a court.  In addition, three of Mr. Bankole's aides: Morgan Omodu, Michael Ekepeyong and Adenekan Gbadebo are being sought by the EFCC.  Gbadebo is the son of the Deji of Akure.

 

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