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American Lawyer Pens Open Letter to Buhari

BellaNaija.com

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Bruce BellaNaija

An American constitutional lawyer named Bruce Fein, recently penned an open letter to President Buhari, which was published on Huffington Post.

In the letter, Fein questions certain policies Buhari promised to adopt.

Read the letter:

President Muhammadu Buhari
Aso Rock, Abuja
Nigeria

Dear President Buhari:

When you visited the United States Institute of Peace last July, you pledged that you would be “fair, just and scrupulously follow due process and the rule of law, as enshrined in [the Nigerian] constitution” in prosecuting corruption.

Such loftiness is laudable. As the Bible instructs in Amos 5:24: “[L]et justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

But to be just, the law must be evenhanded. It cannot, in the manner of Russian President Vladimir Putin, be something that is given to punish your enemies and withheld to favor your friends. If so, the law becomes an instrument of injustice bearing earmarks of the wicked rather than the good.

In the United States, you declared a policy of “zero tolerance” against corruption. You solicited weapons and other assistance from the United States government based on that avowal. But were you sincere?

During your election campaign, you promised widespread amnesty, not zero tolerance. You elaborated: “Whoever that is indicted of corruption between 1999 to the time of swearing-in would be pardoned. I am going to draw a line, anybody who involved himself in corruption after I assume office, will face the music.”

After you were inaugurated, however, you disowned your statement and declared you would prosecute past ministers or other officials for corruption or fraud. And then again you immediately hedged. You were reminded of your dubious past by former Major General and President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, who succeeded your military dictatorship. He released this statement:

“On General Buhari, it is not in IBB’s tradition to take up issues with his colleague former President. But for the purpose of record, we are conversant with General Buhari’s so-called holier-than-thou attitude. He is a one-time Minister of Petroleum and we have good records of his tenure as minister. Secondly, he presided over the Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF, which records we also have.

We challenge him to come out with clean hands in those two portfolios he headed. Or we will help him to expose his records of performance during those periods. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. General Buhari should be properly guided.”

You then swiftly backed off your zero tolerance policy because you would have been its first casualty.

You opportunistically announced that zero tolerance would be narrowed to the predecessor administration of Goodluck Jonathan because to probe further would be “a waste of time.” That conclusion seems preposterous. In 2012, the World Bank’s ex-vice president for Africa, Oby Ezekwesili, estimated that a stupendous $400 billion in Nigerian oil revenues had been stolen or misspent since independence in 1960. The lion’s share of that corruption spans far beyond the Jonathan administration.

Your zero tolerance policy seems to come with a squint to avoid seeing culpability in your political friends. A few examples are but the tip of the iceberg.

A Rivers State judicial commission of inquiry found that N53 billion disappeared from the Rivers State Reserve Fund under former governor Rotimi Amaechi. Former Lagos governor and head of your campaign finance team Babatunde Fashola was accused ofsquandering N78 million of government money to upgrade his personal website. The EFCC has ignored these corruption allegations, and you have given both promotions: the Ministry of Transport to Mr. Amaechi, and the Ministry of Power, Works, and Housing to Mr. Fashola.

In contrast, you have played judge, jury, and prosecutor in the newspapers to convict former PDP Petroleum Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke of corruption.

Is this evenhanded justice?

United States Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson taught: “[T]here is no more effective practical guaranty against arbitrary and unreasonable government than to require that the principles of law which officials would impose upon a minority must be imposed generally. Conversely, nothing opens the door to arbitrary action so effectively as to allow those officials to pick and choose only a few to whom they will apply legislation and thus to escape the political retribution that might be visited upon them if larger numbers were affected.”

To investigate or prosecute based on political affiliation or opinion also violates Articles 2 and 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is unworthy of a great nation like Nigeria.

Make the hallmark of your administration justice, not retribution, and you may live for the ages.
I am a United States citizen and lawyer. I have no political standing in Nigeria. Some might argue that my speaking about the administration of justice in Nigeria bespeaks impertinece. But you chose to vist the United States to solicit weapons and other assistance from my government–a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The United States government represents me. What the United States government does reflects on me. I thus have an interest in addressing the actions of foreign governments that receive United States government aid.

Sunshine is said to be the best of disinfectants.

Sincerely,

Bruce Fein
Fein & DelValle PLLC
300 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20001

41 Comments

  1. DD

    December 2, 2015 at 10:40 am

    *sponsored by…. ….*

    • Mohammad

      December 2, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      He lost me when he started quoting bible passages to the muslim president of Nigeria. This is why religion should not enter the public sphere. Keep your superstitions to yourself!

    • fleur

      December 2, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Don’t be illiterate and myopic. You use what you know like your culture’s proverbs or your religious quotes to make a point. If I want to use an adage to illustrate a point to a hausa man, why can’t I use my benin adages? Do I have to go to learn hausa sayings and cultures before I can give advice or make a point using an adage? It’s no different than quoting Martin Luther King or Obama or prophet Mohammed or prophet Amos. We have a long way to go in Nigeria.

    • Mohammad

      December 2, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      You my friend are the myopic one. There are universal truths that do not require the use of scriptures to buttress. There was absolutely no relevance to his stating of the source of the quote: “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” You want to know why? It is because we do not expect that justice or righteousness simply because the bible has said it. We demand it because that is what we as a polity agree. I maintain that the quoting of the source is just totally unnecessary especially in a forum where people have a variety of religious opinions.

    • Seriously

      December 3, 2015 at 9:35 pm

      @ Mohammed

      You are very limited in your thinking. Is that all you can highlight from the article. There’s something called using reference to buttress your point. It could have been a quote from a philosopher, anybody but he used the Bible. I think, you will make more sense to say, you hate the Bible, and you don’t agree with it bcos your point is illogical. If a Muslim is writing a letter to a Christian president and he uses Koran to buttress his opinion, there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s his religion, and belief. Just like how ethnic groups will use an adage, proverbs as reference drive their pint across.

    • tees babe

      December 2, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      clearly an Alison Madueke mouthpiece, bought with Nigerian money. He tried to be subtle but ended up being blatantly as corrupt in his intention as the person he is speaking for. If she has nothing to hide, let her have her day in court and come back to Nigeria.

    • Tari

      December 2, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Your head dey there.

  2. iyke

    December 2, 2015 at 11:01 am

    IN my ekiti accent …. TIRI GBOSA FOR YOU SIR………………….. GBOSA GBOSA GBOSA

  3. Ama

    December 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

    Seriously BN? How this made it to your headlines is a mystery. If I wrote a letter to Ambode in Daily Times, would it be accorded the same blog space?

    • Ross

      December 2, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      You people tend to forget this is BLOG…not an online Newspaper. The blogger decides what he/she deems fit to write and post about. Waka go if truth is not something you’re interested in!

    • Grapes

      December 2, 2015 at 3:00 pm

      BN, Please how can i like the comment made by Ross a million times? Instead of some people to focus on the truth and main issue, they choose to deliberate on the less significant issues

    • Damilola

      December 2, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      @Ama

      Nothing is mystery here. It’s just common sense. Bloggers, including newspaper chooses its own content.
      But that’s a good question though, will a letter to Ambode make a headline on this blog? Due to the fact, that Nigerians don’t speak out about political issues affecting them. I’m yet to read a constructive criticism, logical analysis from a Nigerian about Buhari or Jonathan’s government. We have developed a habit of remaining silent and just complain.
      None of these Nigerian artist use their platform to speak up about issues like how Fela did. If we want change, we have to be part of change.
      Bella naija, please add a political segment where different issues are brought up. Let’s have an Atoke or Isio type of writing skills but it’s covering political topics, issues.

  4. all hail the CHANGE!!!

    December 2, 2015 at 11:35 am

    CHANGE!!!! Na so!

  5. kilipot

    December 2, 2015 at 11:37 am

    Well written. PMB’s honeymoon is over. He had better not mistake Nigerians’ patience for stupidity. If after 4 years we see nothing, we will remove him.

  6. nene+

    December 2, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Awaiting defenders insults on him such as paid writer or PDP apologist, or Biafra apologist or corrupt American, or tell him to face his country or bla bla bla even when it’s the obvious!

    Hmmm Naked Truth!

    • Beeeee

      December 2, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      LMAO…wait wait wait. When APC was bragging about Buhari’s trip to America as if it was the second coming of my Lord Jesus Christ. when they were enjoying the attention they were getting from Almighty America, America was spotless. They were even posting pictures of GEJ’s trip and Comparing it to Buhari’s own and showing who slept where and who welcomed who. Now an American who apparently once supported Buhari has finally lost the scales that shielded his eyes and is speaking the truth as is clear to us in black and white, una dey tell am to mind im business. There is more evidence against Amaechi than Dasuki. Yet Amaechi is a Minister and Dasuki has been arrested…lol. We didn’t even need an oyibo man to write this open letter. We can all see for ourselves. A market woman in Balogun Market could have done it and done it better sef. Some people have chosen to live in denial but it is well with us. We go siddon here, two years go reach with nothing to show and some people will still be saying “give him time”. Welcome to Chanji!

  7. SAD

    December 2, 2015 at 11:39 am

    …….You then swiftly backed off your zero tolerance policy because you would have been its first casualty….

    I hope I will not be regretful of my decision to vote PMB. >>>>>>Forward Nigeria!!!

    • kilipot

      December 2, 2015 at 12:51 pm

      Only time will tell honey

  8. Wale

    December 2, 2015 at 11:46 am

    He is irrelevant. He should mind his business and pen a letter to the KKK and the police union in the usa on why police continue to execute black Americans by the hundreds. These are the people that helped PDP siphon our money out of the country. The very people that damaged Nigeria. It seems his pocket hurts now- I know is type. Mr Fein should mind his fucking business.

    • TheRealist

      December 2, 2015 at 1:49 pm

      @Wale, why can’t he do both? Is it mutually-exclusive to protest against injustice in Nigeria and injustice in America?!

    • Damilola

      December 2, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      @Wale

      Why are you so bitter? He has his freedom of speech to write. What does race relations, police brutality have to do with criticizing Nigeria’s political government? Absolutely nothing. One of the reasons Nigerian development is , stagnant, and is a product of bad leadership is because of people like you. These leaders are reflection of an average Nigerian. Nigerians lack sense of logical maturity and too much pride to accept truth. Very pompous, with little to offer. Although, I dislike when American government try to include themselves in everything and act like they are such saints. Whereas they are just as corrupt. And be the police for other countries.

      However, what he’s saying is nothing different from the obvious, and from what few sensible Nigerjans have been trying to figure out. Why is Buhari only prosecuting the people from the other party when his biggest supporters, cabinet officials are some of the biggest criminals who embezzled money. So, Buhari favors whoever helped him to get into power even if it’s dirty money but accuse his rivals of corruption.
      It’s no brainer to see the bias going on here. That’s not what a true leader should stand for.
      And also, Buhari is clueless as what the duties, responsibilities of a productive president entails. It’s good, he’s fighting corruption but it has to be balanced on both parties. He has some questionable past as well but Nigerians were desperate for a change. I don’t regret, the election result bcos the last administration was one of the clueless, powerless, incompetent administration. My hope is in four years, Nigerians have the power to vote against Buhari too.

  9. ada

    December 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Nna save your ink. They all know what they are doing. Never believed in this administration and never will. Bunch of liars and hypocrites.

  10. Tkum

    December 2, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Finally we aint wailing wailers afterall…

  11. Very telling!!

    December 2, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    A Rivers State judicial commission of inquiry found that N53 billion disappeared from the Rivers State Reserve Fund under former governor Rotimi Amaechi. Former Lagos governor and head of your campaign finance team Babatunde Fashola was accused ofsquandering N78 million of government money to upgrade his personal website. The EFCC has ignored these corruption allegations, and you have given both promotions.

    PMB has shown that he may be no better than GEJ. People watch. Time will tell. I pray time proves me wrong though, as we have everything to lose if he proves me right.

  12. Send me!

    December 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Now I’m just worried some people will come here and say it’s gej that sent him. This man has spoken the truth, as much as I wanted gej to go far from aso rock I was very skeptical about buhari. He has a clean record quiet alright, but when u dine with swines (like amaechi, lai mahammed) u get really dirty.
    See obasanjo the most corrupt export out of Africa now has mouth to call Jonathan corrupt. I understand the whole ruling party opposition bruhaha but the witch hunt of past leadership is a waste of government resources if defected pdp members gain immediate amnesty.
    You can buy land here and build on my head but I’ve said my own, Apc is as rotten as pdp. If not worse
    I really just hope in 2019, more young people, below 40 will take back our future from these old refined thieves.

    • glo

      December 2, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      u shuld go over wat d American lawyer wrote, Buhari does not have a clean record . please read again about wat Babangida said abt his activity as a petroleum minister.

  13. mrs chidukane

    December 2, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    I quite agree. Yes it will be painful but he should not pick and choose those he will prosecute.

  14. mamahenz

    December 2, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    see gobe! hmmmmmmmmmmmm.

  15. mike

    December 2, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    All this one na yarns. You can trust oyinbo to put discord among us whenever it seems like we are making progress. And it’s sad because we allow them because we distrust our fellow countrymen. At the end of the day if we allow little things breaks us apart and we become worse off just understand that any other country you try to call your own will treat you like a second class citizen if not worse. Im not saying buhari is a saint his first term in office will be the judge of that. It’s too early to be making conclusions if we put this pressure on GEJ Boko Haram and the bank reserve won’t be an issue that buhari has to take time to solve! Be Rational!

  16. Benson Ossai

    December 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Long hissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss.

  17. nne

    December 2, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    I supported APC not because i thought there would be change, but because i really believed that booting a ruling party out puts everyone on notice that politicians can get fired.
    My hopes for PMB were very low. Beht, mehn, i wasnt expecting him to flip the middle finger at us so soon. What is stunning to me is how quickly he is moving to make the same mistakes as GEJ. He too is taking his time before making comments on BH, fuel scarcity. He too has no appropriate sense of priorities. Worst of all, he keeps making important announcements that affect Nigerians abroad. His commitment to reduce emissions by 20%… does the average Nigerian know what this means? Is anyone going to share with us or educate us? Right now, we are dealing with BH, Biafra protestors and fuel scarcity and our Prez is away. World Economic Forum is in early January, i am sure he will go to Davos AND still not have articulated his economic policy. Uggggh

  18. TheRealist

    December 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    His first mistake is addressing the letter to “Aso Rock.” instead of ‘c/o Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport’…

    • zeezee

      December 2, 2015 at 9:02 pm

      Are you for real?

    • Dayo

      December 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Was that too subtle for you?

  19. anonymous

    December 2, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    Lol. Buhari people are watching. Your witch-hunting is quite transparent.

  20. Jennelle

    December 2, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    Gbam! I listened to Buhari rant on ebony live on how he’ll forgive past corrupt officials and only execute those who steal govt funds in his tenure! Now he is fishing all of dem forgetting he was one to them. I have sha never liked this man and can’t wait for his pretentious life get exposed Na Fayose fit all of Una stupid Liars.May God punish all these evil men. As for Alison Madueke return the money u can and get well soon, not forgetting, this lawyer is on point all those saying he was paid to sow seeds of discord should have a rethink and begin to shine thier eyes and focus on the reality of the matter…. All I know is “errday is for d thief, but one day one day the owner of the house will b lucky”..

  21. obi

    December 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Every time I see post like dis I laugh bcos it is d same nigeria that will spoil d country buhari is traveling al abt for what??…, so they will call him saint abi I pray God will b with u o bcos I don’t want ur failure bt if u steal frm my country nigeria wen u ar petroleum minister and decided to expose other criminal God will mak u to achieve nthing nd bring shame to u bcos u ar also a criminal…, it 7month nigeria are watching before a clip its 4yrs dat is d time I will hav time 4 u…, don’t 4gt u said u will reduce unemployment in nigeria make time come 1st. It is change time nd I’m watching nd waitin 4 d change I don’t judge people until I see its 4yrs best of luck to buhari

  22. FasholasLover

    December 2, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    Worshippers refusing to stand up since Buhari won. even when they are suffering and smiling. The man has only reiterated what we have been saying since “the mistake” came on board.

    • Hehe

      December 3, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Side kick!! :p

  23. Sadia

    December 2, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    SIGH SIGH SIGH.Biko ohhhh I take God beg you Buhari,we dont care about stolen money again.WE WANT CHANGE!If we have constant light,security,good roads,jobs ,good standard of living and our country is progressing,who cares about stolen money from 1960???? After you have made our lives better ,you can now start prosecuting. The people are suffering na.Help us plssss .We just want comfortable lives,is it too much to ask for????im striving every day to remain positive about Nigeria

  24. kay

    December 3, 2015 at 11:32 am

    You single out your political opponent and maltreat them lawlessly and with brutality and tell Nigerian you are fighting corruption..Burari is not fighting any corruption ..pure and simple..,,using impunity to cowpolitical opponents and people that bankrolled your campaign expenses.are dirty treasury looters and walking free…..shame

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