A lawmaker in the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Olumuyiwa Jimoh believes that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should investigate anyone that is accused of corruption charges before he or she is arrested. He spoke with Deputy Editor, Dipo Awojobi..
In this interview, the activist-turned politician granted us recently, he also speaks on the 2014 Constitutional Conference amongst other issues.
What is your opinion about the way alleged corrupt people are being handled by the Federal Government?
The issue is that you might be charged for an offence now and there could be other pending allegations. If you are discharged by a court of competent jurisdiction, you could be arrested for another offence. So, what is on-going is not out of order. What are the charges before the court and why is the person being re-arrested, this is important. That is why I told some people that there are procedure for things like this. You could imagine someone saying he would not release our collective wealth in his possession only for him to go on hunger strike.
But some of these people got the money indirectly, should they be probed too?
Yes, they should explain how they spent the money. Was it used for elections. You heard when Chief Olu Falae said that he gave money to leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in some states and those in Ogun State chapter of the party said that they did not collect any money from him. People should not hide under that disguise to deceive the people. Let them give accounts of how they spent the money.
Some respected lawyers like Mr. Femi Falana advised the President to obey court orders, what do you say to that?
There are some respected lawyers too that are Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SAN), who expressed another opinion about the matter. If you leave an error uncorrected, how do you want to stop a repeat of the error.
You have always been an activist, now that your party is ruling in both the state and the federal, where do you place your activism now?
It is an obsolete question, it has not changed my pattern of life. It has nothing to do with my activism, I will continue to be who I am.
People like Pastor Tunde Bakare advised the Federal Government to consider the report of the Constitutional Conference of 2014, do you support this or do you think the government should organise another one?
There is no basis for another constitutional conference or else we would be wasting our resources. We should look at the areas that are relevant to us and make adequate recommendations. Moreso this year is a census year and there would be a budgetary allocation for that, I don’t think it is called for. I am not saying we would take it hook, line and sinker. But we can look at the ones we would take from it.
Some people have said that investigation should come before arrest by the EFCC, do you agree with them?
Of course, investigation should come before arrest so that people would not just be accused unnecessarily. After the investigations, you can then make arrest. The money for prosecution is not coming from individuals, it is coming from the Federal Government.
What is your take on the belief that the Federal Government is focusing on fighting corruption, while neglecting other areas like the economy?
People have different ways of working.
But the fact is that the country is broke and some people have stolen our money, the money should be recovered from them.
What should be the focus of the Federal Government this year?
They are focusing on corruption, education, health and employment. They would soon start feeding school children, which is part of the party’s promise to the people.