By Umar Salam.
Some Nigerians have reacted to the sudden withdrawal of the charges against former governor of Gombe State, Senator Danjuma Goje by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), which according to them, questions the integrity of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption mantra.
At a Federal High Court sitting in Jos yesterday, the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) applied for the withdrawal of the two count charges filed against Senator Danjuma Goje on the way and manner 50 old buses belonging to Gombe State Transport Company were sold to Government functionaries during his reign as Governor between 2003 and 2011.
Recall that the EFCC, during its prosecution of Danjuma Goje had filed a 21 count charge against him, but 19 of the charges were later struck out, leaving only two count charges which were taken over by the Attorney General of the Federation on June 7, a day after the senator stepped down from the race for the Senate Presidency, declaring his support for the President’s preferred candidate, Ahmed Lawan, after a crucial meeting with President Buhari.
When the case came up for hearing yesterday, the counsel for the AGF, Pius Akutah, told the Court that he has an application to withdraw the charges against Goje.
He said, “My Lord, we have an application having taken over the case and reviewed the 21 count charges of no submission and by the ruling of this court quashed 19 leaving only two count charges in which they are to enter defence.
“As it is, the Federal Ministry of Justice wishes to withdraw those two charges against the accused persons.
“This action is in line with the power vested on the AGF by virtue of section 128 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 particularly sub section 1 of that section (128).
“It’s in accordance with the power vested on the AGF by the constitution that we wish to withdraw the charges before your Lordship.
“This is our humble application and urge your Lordship to grant our application.”
In response to the AGF’s request, Goje’s counsel, Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), did not oppose the application, as he prayed the court to acquit the accused of all the charges, while commending the AGF for the wise decision in bringing the case to an end.
Justice Babatunde Quadiri, in his ruling, granted the application by the AGF to withdraw the charges.
“The accused persons are hereby discharged”, the judge ruled.
INSIDER compiled reactions from Nigerians on social media:
Anita Gregory: “Buhari, and the APC are nothing but a huge JOKE.”
Udara: “Deal done! Compensation for not running against the senate president. O ye sinners, come ye to APC and your sins are blotted away.”
Godswill Efe: “God won’t forget to reward Buhari accordingly.”
Ifalade Oloruntoba: “Buhari’s body language now oozes the odour of corruption and thievery of state funds.”
Chinedu Nwosu: “The more reasons I am happy living outside this shxxx hole called Nigeria. Buhari is the BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT ever to rule Nigeria. History will not be KIND to him and this APC calamity government. EFCC has become an irrelevant agency under clueless Buhari.”
Lucky Ailemen: “What a shame of a nation. Where’s SERAP Nigeria?”
Wale: “Not suprised, I only pity their gullible supporters who they use ‘Integrity’ to hoodwink as if they are under a spell.”
Doc Felikhs: “Hypocrites…. And they are dragging Diezani and patience Jonathan.”
Basiru Rafiu Adesayo: “Federal government traded Goje’s corruption case for the senate presidency. Indeed, Buhari’s government is fighting corruption. Hmm, Buhari, a great anti corruption czar.”
Some had earlier reacted to the withdrawal of the EFCC from Goje’s case:
Farooq Kperoogi: “I’ve just learned from someone who witnessed Danjuma Goje’s meeting with Buhari in Aso Rock that it was Buhari who PERSONALLY gave orders that Goje’s N25b fraud case be withdrawn.
“It was the condition Goje gave Buhari for supporting Ahmed Lawan for senate President.”
Kayode Ogundamisi: “The timing of EFCC’s withdrawal is suspicious, the office of the AGF historically and currently is the weakest link in the anti corruption campaign, to remove any doubt or conspiracy theories, the AGF office must prosecute Goje’s case diligently. N25 billion isn’t small.”
Reno Omokri: “Danjuma Goje withdraws from the Senate President’s race in favour of Buhari‘s anointed candidate, Farouk Lawan, and the next day the EFCC withdraws from his corruption case. I like the way Buhari fights corruption!”
Deji Adeyanju: “You can’t leave Goje alone for N25billion & be disturbing Nigerians. EFCC should stop harassing Nigerians.
“There’s no one they ever accused of corruption that Buhari has not negotiated with. From Akpabio to Goje, to Orji Uzo Kalu, etc; he has negotiated with them. The only people he didn’t negotiate with were those who refused to cross over to support him. Even the Bullion Van guy.”