Mohammed Adoke, Nigeria’s ex-attorney-general and minister of justice, has defended his role in the Malabu oil scandal, saying he didn’t act alone. Adoke, in his letter to Abubakar Malami, incumbent minister of justice, said two former presidents, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan scrutinised the terms of settlement for the lucrative oil bloc (OPL 245). Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has filed a suit alleging Adoke got $2.2 million share of the hefty bribe believed to have been paid to government officials by foreign interests, namely Shell and Agip. The deal also involved Dan Etete, a former oil minister. But Adoke insists he his innocence.
“I anxiously want to know where I went wrong that I have been singled out by the EFCC for prosecution,” he wrote.
“I also want to know the effect of section 5 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended with respect to the vesting of all the executive powers of the federation in the president to exercise by himself and or through his ministers and appointees.
“What is the effect of section 5 of the constitution on persons who act pursuant to lawful Presidential approvals? This is more so as two out of the three presidents that had the opportunity to scrutinise this settlement (Presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan) are alive. Have they disowned the settlement? Has our predecessor in office, Chief Bayo Ojo, SAN distanced himself from the settlement he brokered?
“Have the honourable ministers of petroleum resources and finance at the time of implementation of the settlement (Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, CON and Dr. Olusegun Aganga, respectively) disowned the settlement or their signatures? It is my respectful view that Nigerians deserve answers to these questions as it will help them and my humble self to understand the actions and the machinations of the EFCC masquerading to be acting in the national interest while surreptitiously deploying state resources and machinery to promote the personal agenda of their cohorts.”
“I wish to use this medium to appeal to the honourable attorney-general of the federation to be mindful of his overarching powers over public prosecution and the need to ensure that state institutions do not become persecutors or instruments in the hands of those pursing personal vendetta,” he said.
“The constitution and the traditions of our noble profession demand your oversight over public prosecution.
“Consequently, if you find that I had breached my oath of office or abused my office, please do not hesitate to bring me to justice.
“However, if it is the contrary, as I strongly believe, that certain individuals who had vowed to even scores with me are now being aided by state institutions such as the EFCC; I deserve protection from these unwarranted attacks and dehumanising treatment that I am being subjected to merely because I chose to serve my fatherland.”