Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, says the National Peace Committee led by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, is only protecting the interest of the rich.
Falana, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, said this during a live programme on Channels Television titled, ‘Sunrise Daily’.
Members of the peace committee, particularly the Bishop of the Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Kukah, had recently come under fire for faulting President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft war and the manner the President had castigated the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
However, Falana said the peace committee was only protecting the interest of the rich and not the poor. He wondered why the peace committee chose to only defend Jonathan and not others who were being tried for corruption across the country.
The human rights activist said the action of the peace committee was one of the reasons why only the poor were convicted by the courts while the rich were always set free.
He said, “I read their statements and Bishop Kukah’s interviews and I am not bothered. You know why? What they did was simply a demonstration of class solidarity. Nobody is speaking for the poor. Under the current political and legal system, the rich are never harasse. So, when my lord bishop was insisting on following the rule of law in dealing with corrupt people, of course it was expected.
“What they follow in Nigeria, as one of my colleagues would say, are the rules of law not the rule of law. And do you know what the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or the police do when they are dealing with the rich? They write a polite letter sayin, ‘we hereby invite you to our office to kindly be interrogated by our officer’.
“You don’t write a letter to the poor. You pounce on their houses.”
Falana said Buhari’s anti-graft war was in accordance with the rule of law.
The senior advocate said it was the duty of every government to fight corruption as stipulated by the law.
He said even as a Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, probed his predecessor, Gen. Sani Abacha, despite Abacha being dead.
He said, “Pursuant to Section 15 of the constitution, every government in Nigeria is mandatorily required to fight corruption because the provision is to defer that the Nigerian state shall abolish corrupt practices and the abuse of power.”