The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has said the takeover of the N25 billion fraud trial of Senator Danjuma Goje signifies the sacrifice of transparency and justice on the altar of politics and horse-trading by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Goje, a former governor of Gombe State is facing a N25bn trial by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Goje, a senator-elect signified interest in contesting the Presidency of the senate but President Buhari, who had a preferred candidate, ordered the EFCC to withdraw from continuing the trial in exchange for Goje to drop his ambition.
Commenting on the matter, HEDA stated that the takeover of the case by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was likely to pervert the course of justice.
HEDA Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, said many Nigerians had a reason to suspect that transparency was sacrificed in the interest of the election of leaders of the National Assembly.
"There is grave concern the take over of the trial of Goje who has been accused of fraud involving huge sums of public funds will undermine justice. The decision of the AGF to take over the case from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) is raising a lot of concern. There is no justification for this decision.
“The EFCC is doing a great job through diligent prosecution. The sudden decision of the AGF to take over the case is suspicious. It sends wrong signals to local and international communities that vested political interests are bent on sabotaging the efforts of the EFCC and the entire gamut of anti-corruption campaign" Olanrewaju added.
Suraju noted that the takeover has set a "bitter precedents" that the fight against corruption is selective depending on the political camp the suspected culprits belong.
"Nigeria must show non-partisanship in the pursuit of corrupt public office holders driven by greed and avarice. The country must display the highest moral fabric if corruption is to be a thing of the past.
“The AGF's decision has further provided the ammunition for many Nigerians to doubt the credibility of the government and the ruling party in the pursuit of public good"
Suraju asserted that the office of AGF is a position meant to serve the interests of justice and Nigerians without any bias, favour or consideration for political affiliation while urging the AGF to act in accordance to the oath sworn to, in protecting the laws of Nigeria and not the interest of a political party.