This Day (Lagos)

17 January 2013

Nigeria: Keyamo Gives Police Ultimatum to Charge Lawan to Court

Lagos lawyer, Mr. Festus Keyamo, Wednesday gave the police one week to charge the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Education, Mr Farouk Lawan, to court for alleged bribery.

In a statement, Keyamo said he had taken it upon himself as a responsible citizen to bring Lawan to justice.

He accused the police of deliberately delaying the prosecution of Lawan so that Nigerians would forget the case.

He said: "By this release (a copy of which I am forwarding to the Inspector-General of Police with a covering letter), I expect that Farouk Lawan and his cohorts in the House of Representatives should be arraigned before a court of law within one week of this release.

"If, the police fail, refuse and/or neglect to arraign Farouk Lawan within the stipulated time, I will have no other option than to proceed to court to bring him to justice."

He observed that it had been more than six months since the scandal broke out regarding the collection of $620,000 by Lawan from Mr. Femi Otedola, a private businessman, for the purpose of doctoring his committee's report relating to the fuel subsidy scam probe by the House of Representatives.

According to him, after collecting the money, (which he did not deny collecting), Lawan actually stood up on the floor of the House and performed the act for which he collected the money.

Keyamo said: "Till today, Farouk Lawan is yet to produce the said money before the police investigators, fuelling the speculation and suspicion that the money has been spent. The case is as simple and straight forward as this.

"However, what ought to be a simple and straightforward matter has since assumed an absurd dimension."

He noted that the police and the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation have traded blames back and forth as to what was actually happening.

According to him, the public has been treated to all sorts of shameless and obvious attempts to drag the investigation into the murky water of politics instead of treating it at purely as a crime.

He said: "For the avoidance of doubt, the impression the police have created that it is the office of the Attorney-General alone that can give it directives to charge the matter to court is complete nonsense.

"The law presently as espoused by the Supreme Court in the case of FRN Vs. Osahon (2006) 5 NWLR PT (Pt. 973) 361, says that the police and other law-enforcement agencies can directly charge matters to court without the consent or fiat of the Attorney-General of the Federation or of any state."

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