Showing posts with label Victim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Victim. Show all posts

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nigeria's El-Rufai a Victim of Trial by Headline, Say Lawyers

17 Apr 2009 16:53 Africa/Lagos

Nigeria's El-Rufai a Victim of Trial by Headline, Say Lawyers

Crass tactics of intimidation and slander against Nasir el-Rufai reveal political persecution by the State, argue defense lawyers

LONDON, April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The following is a statement that represents the views of Amsterdam & Peroff:

Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, the highly regarded former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FTC), Abuja, Nigeria, has been relentlessly targeted in recent weeks by state-controlled media with aggressive slander and false accusations, prompting his international defense team to denounce this "trial by headline."

Viewed as a popular potential political competitor, the Nigerian government has initiated a politically motivated investigation against El-Rufai, which is ironically being carried out by the once-respected Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), presenting a slew of implausible charges related to his exercise of discretion to allocate land in accordance with Nigeria's Constitution and the Land Use Act, during his tenure as Minister of Abuja between 2003 and 2007.

"The EFCC's ongoing attempts to slander and taint the reputation of El-Rufai are not indicative of a legitimate case, but rather illustrate their fear and willingness to violate the law in persecuting a potential political opponent," said Robert Amsterdam, a Canadian lawyer on the international defense team. "There are few other individuals who have opened themselves up to such a high level of scrutiny, and even fewer who have testified before Senate hearings and published lengthy responses to even the most absurd allegations."

The false accusations against El-Rufai attempt to argue that in his duties as FCT Minister he was allegedly responsible for improper allocation of land. However, any review of the records in Abuja, (FCT) clearly show that all beneficiaries of these alleged parcel distributions were ordinary Nigerian citizens, and that El-Rufai's conduct was strictly in accordance with the laws of Nigeria and the objective of the restoration of the Abuja Master Plan and the City's economic revitalization.

"In many countries, Nasir El-Rufai's excellent stewardship of the Abuja region would receive accolades and admiration," said Chief Rotimi Akeredolu SAN, the lead Nigerian defense lawyer on the case. "Unfortunately, in our country today a capable and ethical politician like El-Rufai is persecuted to stamp out any alternative opinions, while those who have looted the treasury walk free on the streets."

The defense team for El-Rufai vigorously denounces the government's slander campaign of false accusations, and announces that a new international campaign will be initiated to bring justice to this case, highlighting the unlawful actions of the EFCC in pursuing groundless, political cases.

Source: Amsterdam & Peroff

CONTACT: James T. Kimer for Amsterdam & Peroff, +1-917-355-0717,