5 Nigerians Who Went from Public Office to Court
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Politics - July 26, 2023

5 Nigerians Who Went from Public Office to Court

In Nigerian politics, public officeholders hold the reins of power and influence and are charged with the responsibility of serving their nation and its people. While many public servants diligently fulfill their duties with utmost integrity, others find themselves embroiled in controversies that lead them down a tumultuous path to the courtrooms of justice.

From former senators and governors to influential party spokespersons, these individuals offer a glimpse into the challenges of navigating Nigeria’s political landscape and the far-reaching implications of alleged misdeeds. 

This article delves into the intriguing stories of Nigerian individuals who have traversed the complex journey from holding esteemed public office positions to facing the rigors of the legal system. It explores how some of these individuals, once at the pinnacle of political power, have encountered the stark realities of accountability when confronted with allegations of misconduct, corruption, or other transgressions during their tenure. Let’s dive in.

Godwin Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele’s tenure as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria took a dramatic twist when he was suspended from office by Tinubu, just days after delivering his inaugural speech. The decision sent shockwaves through the nation, raising questions about the reasons behind such a swift action. Following Emefiele’s suspension, the Department of State Services (DSS) intervened, taking him into custody for investigative purposes. 

The situation garnered significant attention after a video of Emefiele went viral, prompting the DSS to release a statement confirming his detention and the ongoing investigation.  After 34 days in detention without charge Emefiele was eventually charged to court and charged with illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.

The incident stirred speculations and debates, leaving the public eager for transparency and clarity on him being guilty or just  a victim of circumstance.

Rochas Okorocha

Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo state has been arrested and detained several times after the end of his tenure. The most recent one was when he was arrested and accused of stealing public funds worth N2.9 billion while he was governor of Imo State. In May 2022, Okorocha and six others, including a chieftain of the APC, Anyim Chinenye, and five companies, were arraigned in connection with the charges. 

The companies involved were Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited. The court however dismissed the charges  and found the filing of fraud and abuse of office charges by the EFCC against Okorocha as an abuse of the judicial process. 

Bukola Saraki

Former president of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki has been charged to court several times while in and out of office and has also won a series of court cases. In 2018, Saraki faced one of the most significant challenges of his political career when he was brought before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on charges of false declaration of assets. The allegations centered on discrepancies in his declared assets during his time as Governor of Kwara State, raising questions about financial transparency and accountability.

After a lengthy legal battle, the CCT acquitted Saraki of all charges in June 2018, citing a lack of substantial evidence to convict him. The verdict was met with mixed reactions, with some viewing it as a triumph for the rule of law, while others questioned the efficacy of the legal system in tackling corruption cases involving high-ranking politicians.

Abba Kyari

Abba Kyari, a former head of the Nigeria Police Response Team (IRT), found himself entangled in legal proceedings alongside two of his siblings after facing accusations of failing to declare their assets to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). The NDLEA filed a 24-count charge against Kyari and his siblings – Mohammed Baba Kyari and Ali Kyari.

In response to the charges, Nigerian judge, Justice Omotosho, presided over the case and made a ruling granting conditional bail to Abba Kyari. The conditions of the bail required Kyari to present two sureties with assets worth N25 million within the court’s jurisdiction, among other stipulations.

Orji Uzor Kalu

Orji Uzor Kalu, a Nigerian politician and former governor of Abia State, faced a legal battle when he was convicted of N7.65 billion fraud by the Lagos Division of the Federal High Court on December 5, 2019. Sentenced to 12 years in prison, Kalu was found guilty of defrauding the government of Abia State through his company, Slok Nigeria Limited, during his time as governor. 

Subsequently, the Nigeria anti-graft agency, EFCC, initiated the winding down process of Slok Nigeria Limited, including The Sun Publishing Ltd, which was not part of the charges. However, on May 8, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that his trial was improperly conducted, leading to his release from prison and ordering a retrial.

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