Nigeria’s foremost human rights lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) yesterday challenged the federal government to dialogue with various groups agitating for secession from the federation.
Falana justified this demand on the premise that it “is on the roundtable the grievances can be sorted out” in the interest of peace, security and development
He made this at the 25th anti-corruption situation room, which the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) organised in Lagos yesterday.
Speaking on the subject, “Assessing The Fight Against Corruption,” said it was the promise to fight corruption that made Nigerians vote for President Muhammadu Buhari.
The human right lawyer said it was the corruption in the system that culminated in agitating for secession, noting that it “is better for the federal government to dialogue with them rather than go to war.”
Falana urged Nigerians “to keep up the fight for Nigeria to be returned to democracy. What the nation is operating now is civil rule and not democracy.
According to him, Nigeria has returned to civil rule for 22 years. Former military leaders have governed the country for the major part of those years saying that it is why the country is losing.
He, therefore, charged the anti-corruption agencies and the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General to be more committed to fighting the corruption war, rather than them talking like critics.
In his address, the Executive Director of HEDA Resources Centre, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said he chose June 12 for the seminar because of the significance of the date in the fight against corruption and also because Chief M.K.O Abiola the acclaimed winner of the June 12 1993 election promised to eradicate corruption and make life meaningful for the people.
He said: “It is good that the federal government recognised June 12 as democracy day. But it needs to do more by allowing Nigerians to enjoy the better life Abiola promised them in his campaign.
“We chose today to bring back the promises of June 12. What we are concerned with is if we are making progress or still on the same spot. It is better to know if we are moving in the right direction,” Suraju observed.
The executive director also charged the federal government “to create a platform where it shall feed the people back on its effort at fighting corruption.”
Other organisations that spoke at the seminar are Society for West Africa Internal Auditors Practitioners, SWAIAP, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, CITN, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
LCCI and other organisations present said if the government wanted to get rid of corruption, there should be collaboration between them and the anti graft agencies.