After the suspense generated by Saturday’s statement on the travel ban of some top Nigerians by the Federal Government, several lists came out on Sunday of those facing ban. One list had 50 names including former State Governors, Ministers, Service Chiefs, Inspectors-General of Police and top lawyers. Another report said the list was actually 155.
However, latest news on Monday was that the Presidency says it never issued any list.
There are some names that are not so well known but I’m sure they have one case or another running with the prosecuting agencies or in court so they must have reason to be on the list. What a nosey reporter needs to do is put together the various EFCC and ICPC cases and a list will be generated. It should not be such a big deal.
What Garba Shehu, one of the president’s spokespersons said in his Saturday press release was that:
“The Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies have placed no fewer than 50 high profile persons directly affected by EO6 on watch-list and restricted them from leaving the county pending the determination of their cases”.
So, the number ’50’ actually came up but he said ‘no fewer’ which may indicate there could be more. Having denied issuing the floating lists over the weekend, has the media now decided to start hunting for names of those who have corruption cases against them to make up their lists? Or is it the case of fake news on the prowl?
One thing to know is that the government does not need to publish any list. The security agencies like Immigration, DSS, NDLEA and others at the international airports and border points always have watch lists of people to prevent from travelling out. Such lists don’t need to be published in the media. In fact, the named agencies can even decide on your name and profession in your passport to question you and delay or prevent you from travelling out until you are cleared.
I remember I was delayed from travelling out of MM Airport in the mid-90s during the Abacha regime because my renewed passport had ‘Journalism’ as my profession, even though I was at the material time a banker. There was obviously a blanket ban on journalists then from the maximum ruler or his gang and all they needed to see was ‘Journalism’ in your travel document!
As to the current ban list or no ban list, a sure is that many of the men and women prevented from travelling  will challenge the ban when it happens. Some will as usual use the old excuse of ill-health as reason why they need to travel so to enable them take care of themselves abroad. Be sure this is a feasty meal for our learned friends. One is not really sure if all these men and women purportedly banned or are to be banned are in Nigeria right now or if some had traveled before the ban.

Garba Shehu’s Saturday statement was clear – the presidency was definite in announcing the placement of 50 high-profile Nigerians on travelling restrictions, although the individuals’ identities were not disclosed. They were only described as those whose assets, valued at N50 million and above, were subject of corruption investigation and litigation.

The full State House press release by Garba Shehu said:

“Following the instant judicial affirmation of the constitutionality and legality of the Executive Order 6 (EO6), President Muhammadu Buhari has mandated the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Minister of Justice to implement the Order in full force.

“To this end, a number of enforcement procedures are currently in place by which the Nigeria Immigration Service and other security agencies have placed no fewer than 50 high profile persons directly affected by EO6 on watch-list and restricted them from leaving the county pending the determination of their cases.

“Also, the financial transactions of these persons of interest are being monitored by the relevant agencies to ensure that the assets are not dissipated and such persons do not interfere with, nor howsoever corrupt the investigation and litigation processes.

“It is instructive to note that EO6 was specifically directed to relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that all assets within a minimum value of N50 million or equivalent, subject to investigation or litigation are protected from dissipation by employing all available lawful means, pending the final determination of any corruption-related matter.

“The Buhari administration reassures all well-meaning and patriotic Nigerians of its commitment to the fight against corruption, in accordance with the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and the general principles of the Rule of Law.

Accordingly, this administration will uphold the rule of law in all its actions and the right of citizens would be protected as guaranteed by the Constitution.

“We, therefore, enjoin all Nigerians to cooperate with the law enforcement authorities towards ensuring a successful implementation of the Executive Order 6 which is a paradigm-changing policy of the Federal Government in the fight against corruption”.

With release of the unofficial lists of those purportedly affected by the order on Sunday, I am sure the courts will be busy this week; very busy. Same with the banks, as the lawyers will all go smiling to the bank from now and for as long as it drags. Knowing our legal system, this matter will drag.
Social media will of course be agog with all that’s going on…. at least for the first few days. Once it starts to drag and it becomes business as usual, everybody forgets.
Except the lawyers. They will not forget to bill their clients. And the clients have to pay as long as the cases are in court and the learned ones are arguing it for them.

One thing is clear – we haven’t heard the last of this. The politicians will weigh in heavily on this, with accusations and counter-accusations as to whether this is a witch-hunt or not.



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