500 Lawyers want Tinubu to probe former NAQS DG over alleged corruption

About 500 lawyers under the auspices of Nigerian Concerned Lawyers, Tuesday, demanded President Bola Tinubu to investigate the former Comptroller General, Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, Dr Vincent Isegbe, over corrupt practices while in office.

The lawyers made the call in a petition addressed to Tinubu, where they claimed to have the facts and figures on the alleged gross abuse of office by Isegbe, and vowed not sit and watch him go unpunished according to the anti-corruption laws.

They also called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to conduct an investigation to expose the alleged corruption he perpetuated while in office, and if found culpable he should be prosecuted.

The petition reads in part, “We, the undersigned 500 Nigerian lawyers, are writing this petition to express our deep concerns regarding the alleged misappropriation of funds and financial irregularities while Dr Vincent Isegbe was the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS.

“We have gathered sufficient evidence to support our claims, and we firmly believe that it is our duty as legal professionals to defend the interests and well being of our fellow citizens as far as this matter is concerns Nigerians.

“According to our intelligence gathering, we discovered that such misappropriation of funds is deeply saddening and is a gross violation of the trust placed on Isegbe while serving as the Comptroller General of NAQS.

“As Nigerian lawyers, we firmly believe in upholding justice, accountability, and the rule of law. We cannot stand idly by while public resources meant for the advancement, upliftment, and promotion of important causes such as education, social services, public welfare, relief, and management of natural disasters are being misused and diverted.

“Therefore, we hereby call on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to commence immediate investigation on the former Comptroller General of Nigerian Agricultural Quarantine Service, NAQS, Dr Vincent Isegbe, and if found culpable based on the anti-corruption laws he should be prosecuted.

“Isegbe violated the Procurement Act, intentional went out of his powers to abuse his office while in service, and also did not carry along genuine quarantine staff in the agency tomorrow with him instead engaged the services of illegal casual persons who are touts allegedly conniving with CTU police officers to run the illegal export of donkey skin to China.

“These touts Isegbe recruited on his own casual operated as quarantine officers and were deployed to various highways to arrest and confiscate donkey skin from people running the business.

“They acted with impunity and support from Isegbe to seize the donkey skin, detain the owners, and allegedly transferred the confiscated skins to vehicles and containers for export to China.

“They only deceived Nigerians to be on the media showing how they confiscated and burnt burning a portion of the seized donkey skins in pretence to show compliance with federal government’s directive on that as they thrive with their illicit donkey skin business.

“Some of the allegations pointed that on August 3, 2021, two containers of seized donkey skin worth N350,000,000.00 were intercepted on their way to China. Similarly, on April 5, 2023, 245 pieces of donkey skin valued at N11,025,000.00 were confiscated.”

“On June 7, 2022, 303 pieces of donkey skin worth N13,635,000.00 were seized. Notably, on June 22, 2022, a staggering 4,500 pieces of donkey skin worth N202,500,000.00 were confiscated from Marabar lddah in Kaduna State, and he also gave his cronies alleged licences to operate.”

However, the lawyers gave a seven day ultimatum for Isegbe’s investigation to commence.

“We give a deadline of 7 days from the date of this petition for Isegbe’s investigation to commence, and failure to comply within this demand will result in peaceful protests organised by Nigerian lawyers across various cities in the country to express our dissatisfaction”, they added.