Tinubu the Drug Dealer
Spokesman for Nigeria’s embattled “president-elect” Bayo Onanuga says his principal did the narcotics business over 10 years ago therefore the statute of limitations applies
The hopes of the ruling party presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu being sworn in as president on May 29 seems to be fading fast, following his spokesman’s admission on Sunday that his principal did deal in narcotics, but it was more than 10 years ago.
Onanuga argued that Tinubu could not be disqualified on that basis if eventually the matter was discussed in court having formed part of the petition of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi. Paragraph 28 of the petition alleged that Tinubu forfeited $460,000 in drug related proceeds to a US court therefore ineligible to contest the presidency of Nigeria.
Tinubu’s spokesman was drawn into the outburst following a response to his tweet on Saturday when another All Progressive Congress (APC) activist said that the “president elect” cannot be disqualified by the Supreme Court because the established drug trafficking case in Chicago was already statute-barred.
“The Obidiots don’t read. They live in a cocoon of falsehood and contrived propaganda,” Onanuga responded in a combative tone.
Obe cited Section 137 (1)e) of the Constitution that said a Nigerian cannot be elected president within 10 years of a conviction for offences brought by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
“A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if within a period of less than ten years before the date of the election to the office of President he has been convicted and sentenced for an offence involving dishonesty or he has been found guilty of the contravention of the Code of Conduct,” the section said.
Obe conveniently left out the preceding sub-paragraph of Section 137 (1)d which applies to Tinubu’s forfeiture to a US court.
“A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he is under a sentence of death imposed by any competent court of law or tribunal in Nigeria or a sentence of imprisonment or fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other offence, imposed on him by any court or tribunal or substituted by a competent authority for any other sentence imposed on him by such a court or tribunal.”
The Nigerian Supreme Court added “forfeiture” to the criminal statutes in 2014.
“The word “forfeiture” means – “the divestiture of property without compensation. The loss of a right, privilege, or property because of a crime, breach of obligation, or neglect of duty,” the court ruled on January 17, 2014, in Mohammed Abacha and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“A person who has forfeited property on the basis of a crime cannot be entitled to indemnity. Forfeiture is a form of punishment. There is no indemnity in our criminal procedure,” the court further stated in a majority decision delivered by now-Chief Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.
Akowe with reports from Lagos