THE African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) has petitioned the Inspector General of Police, the Police Service Commission, and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) over what it called “unethical conduct” of a police prosecutor, Superintendent of Police Joseph Nwadike.
In the petition signed by Chido Onumah, Coordinator of the Centre, AFRCMIL is seeking the urgent intervention of these institutions to investigate and call to order Mr. Nwadike of the Force Legal Department of the Nigeria Police Force and a prosecuting counsel for the police in a dubious allegation leveled against Aaron Kaase, a whistleblower in the Police Service Commission.
Mr. Kaase was suspended in May 2015 for reporting fraud amounting to N275.5 million allegedly perpetrated by Mr. Mike Okiro, the outgone Chairman of the Police Service Commission.
Onumah noted that, “For this patriotic act, the whistleblower has been further visited with a series of reprisals, including threats, intimidation and a false allegation of visa scam in which Mr. Nwadike, is actively involved as prosecutor.”
According to the petition, after a magistrate court in the Federal Capital Territory struck out the fraudulent case against Kaase, his persecutors took it to the High Court where the defendant was also victorious as the court discharged and acquitted him for “lack of diligent persecution”. But his persecutors would not relent.
“In a flagrant abuse of court process and display of unprofessional practice, Nwadike has been moving from one court to another in the FCT in a bid to ensure that the whistleblower is found guilty on a charge that is obviously trumped-up, and for which he had been discharged and acquitted by a competent court of jurisdiction,” Onumah said.
He noted that lawyers are stakeholders in the fight against corruption, and as officers in the temple of justice they are duty bound to help ensure justice at all times, including guaranteeing the safety and protection of whistleblowers.
The statement therefore urged the police authorities and the NBA to launch immediate investigation into the scandal with a view to reining in Mr Nwadike.
“This once again underscores the point we at the AFRICMIL have been making; you cannot have a policy that encourages public interest disclosures and at the same time allows those who make such disclosures to be unnecessarily persecuted,” Onumah said.