Abuja – In what appears to be the biggest shock since President Buhari was sworn in, his government has swiftly dropped corruption charges against one of Buhari’s cronies who is the former governor of Bayelsa State Timipre Sylva.
According to reports by Sahara Reporters, the “officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) today clashed in a Federal Court with Nigeria’s Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) as the DPP showed up in court to quash corruption charges against former Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa State. The legal drama also had political ramifications as some observers pointed to the event as a reversal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign promise to fight corruption.”
“A lawyer representing the DPP, O.J. Nnadi, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), shocked the courtroom audience Monday as he moved a motion asking Justice E.S. Chukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja to dismiss all the charges against the former governor. One lawyer in court told SaharaReporters that today’s incident “marks a disappointing abandonment by the new Muhammadu Buhari-led administration of its avowed policy of fighting corruption.” According to the lawyer, “Nigerians are going to view this development as a kind of political reward by the APC [All Progressives Congress] to one of its members, Chief Sylva. Unless this absurd situation is immediately reversed, the Nigerian people’s just expectation of a more vigorous crusade against corruption would have been dealt a huge blow”; Sahara Reporters wrote.
“Obviously taken by surprise by the controversial development, the EFCC’s counsel, J.A. Ojogbane, reminded the court that the anti-corruption agency had already begun preliminary arguments in the case. He added that he and the EFCC had not been briefed beforehand about the DPP’s plan to withdraw graft charges against Mr. Sylva.”, according to Sahara Reporters.
This resulted in Justice Chukwu to discharge and acquit Mr. Sylva and ordered the EFCC to release his international passport to him.