NIGERIA’S Civil Society Network Against Corruption chairman Olanrewaju Suraju says he is ready to stand trial in Zambia “in defence of the truth” after Rupiah Banda’s lawyers threatened to sue him for contempt of court. And the Nigerians say they would demand for Banda’s son, Henry, to be extradited from South Africa to face trial in Nigeria.
Makebi Zulu Advocates, representing former president Banda, have written to the CSNAC asking the organisation’s chairman to retract his statement that Nigerians will demand the repayment of the oil money from Zambia. “We stand by our words and assertion and I am expressing my willingness to stand trial as a witness of truth whenever they file for action,” Suraju said. “We are eager to come to Zambia and testify. I have briefed my lawyers here in Nigeria and we are ready whenever they are.”
He said CSNAC will request President-elect Muhammadu Buhari to consider reviewing his government’s foreign policy. “We are also writing to the incoming government to commence review of foreign policy and make this case a reference. We are going to write to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission so that they can follow this matter too,” Suraju said.
“We are also considering approaching the African Court of Justice through the African Union to take interest in this matter.” He said Nigerians would be happy if Henry would be made to appear in court in Nigeria. “Apart from that, we will seek our government to engage the South African government and consider the need to extradite Henry Banda to Nigeria so that he can face trial here,” Suraju said.
Speaking in Lusaka on Tuesday last week, Suraju said Nigerians would demand their oil money from Zambia once recovered. “The mood in Nigeria is serious over the fight against corruption and we are going to mount pressure on the new President Muhammadu Buhari to demand repayment of money realised from the concession oil deal with Zambia,” said Suraju while delivering an address on how to fight corruption. “That oil was sold to Zambia at a concessionary rate such that they did not need to buy at the international market rate. They can buy at a concessionary rate and the difference can also assist Zambians to either reduce the cost of fuel here or the difference can be used into other development projects. But it was so shocking to hear that the proceeds of that oil actually went into private pockets. As a matter of fact, one of the things we gonna do is to demand the repayment of that money either to Nigeria or especially to a special account in Zambia where it can be monitored.”