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Author Name: Murya Lema
Number of articles: 3
It is absolutely imperative to, as a matter of fact, save Nigeria's public from falling into the tricks... (0) Comment

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Bode George, as sacrificial lamb
Author: Murya Lema | January 12, 2010

I have read several reactions to the conviction of Chief Bode George and five other former members of the Board of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) by Justice Joseph Oyewole of the Lagos State High Court and I think many of the people who have commented on the issue neither followed the proceedings while the trial was on, nor understood the judgement passed by the judge. My reference is to those who described the two and half years jail term as a light or lenient sentence. Some of them even opined that the former NPA Board members should have been asked to return or refund the âmoneyâ they supposedly âstoleâ or âmisappropriatedâ. Such statements show that many Nigerians did not understand the charges on which the Board members were arraigned and eventually convicted. So there is general misconception that they were jailed for fraud. It is unfortunate that this misinformation is being allowed to spread, but nowhere during the trial and even in the judgement was it mentioned that the former Board members embezzled or corruptly enriched themselves, associates, friends or family with NPA funds. They were also not found, as a Board, to have engaged in the inflation of contracts or splitting of contracts. They were only jailed for failure to stop contracts which, the court believed, had been split during the processing of same at some levels of management before being presented to the Board and where eventually approved by the Board. The trial judge hinged the conviction of this eminent Nigerians on the basis of corporate responsibility. In other words, the Board members are now paying the very costly price of losing their freedom for the sins committed by others because the court expected them to take responsibility for all actions taken at various levels of the administration and operations of the NPA under watch. That is why those of us who had followed the trial with keen interest were shocked by the sentence, which I personally believe, was too harsh for an infraction that could best be described as an act of omission. If I am not mistaken, this is the first time people are being jailed in this manner for criminal liability in the administration of a corporation in this country. It is just sad that the six former members of the NPA Board were made sacrificial lambs in a bid to give the impression that the anti-corruption war was on course. That they were jailed for the offences of other people who themselves have not been identified and brought to book is a miscarriage of justice. Is it not strange that the staff and contractors of the NPA who were the actual perpetrators and accomplices in the splitting of contracts along the processing line were not arraigned with the Board members and they are enjoying their freedom wherever they are? Worse still, the former Board members were also convicted for disobeying a government circular, an administrative regulation that was supposed to attract administrative sanctions for non compliance. And as if that was not enough, they were not even given an option of fine. It is sad that many of those who are celebrating the judgement either failed to see or chose to ignore the aforementioned anomalies in the trial and conviction of the six gentlemen, as issues of injustice, because everybody wants to play to the gallery. The anti-corruption war cannot be sustained with mockeries of justice like this NPA trial and judgement. There are several former public and political office holders alleged to have directly stolen or embezzled state funds and they are walking the streets freely, attending parties and even state functions, courtesy of favourable rulings by the same judicial system. In the case of the NPA Six, no money was reportedly lost by the organisation. Neither was any money traced to them. If Bode George is being punished for his political fearlessness, let them say so rather than hoodwinking the public with this judgement. I hope the court of Appeal will take note of these points in considering the appeal filed by the gentlemen. ISAAC ADEITAN, 44 OLD LAGOS ROAD, CHALLENGE, IBADAN.

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tony mustaph    london, UK    January 15, 2010
This is a good article and I bet it woud be ignored by naive and brainless nigerians. Nigerians generally lacked intelligent in grasping what is at stake in any matter of national interest.

The fact is, they hate George and that is all that matters.

This article will attract a comment from one Omotayo who is Tinibu appologies, I hope the writer and anyone else just ignore him.

I have said it before, politicians are not the only problem for us in Nigeria, the media and the judges are part of it. They are all corrupt. We have comerade governor parading himself as elected one but his election was made possible by court cancelling 2/3 of vote cast. Now, can anyone tell me how this can be said to be alright?

If you must fix things, those that claim to matter to our course must take reward that is in the right path but instead they seek the same reward seeked by corrupt people we all condemed.
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