The trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd) continued on January 18, 2021, before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Ikoyi with a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC further testifying against Amosu and two others on their complicity in the alleged diversion to personal use of about N21billion belonging to the Nigeria Air Force, NAF.
Amosu, alongside Air Vice Marshall Jacobs Adigun, a former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budget, and Air Commodore Gbadebo Owodunni, a former NAF Director of Finance and Budget, are standing trial on an amended 13-count charge. Their trial began in June 2016 before Justice Idris Mohammed, but was later reassigned to Justice Aneke following the elevation of Justice Mohammed to the Court of Appeal. They were re-arraigned in November 2018 and they pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Continuing with his examination-in-chief, Okechukwu Akubue, who is testifying as the first prosecution witness, narrated how public funds meant for the NAF were traced to the defendants.
Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Suleiman Suleiman, the witness, who is an EFCC operative, identified Exhibit A3 before the Court as the bank statement of the NAF Special Emergency Operations Account domiciled in Zenith Bank.
According to him, the bank statement was part of the responses to letters of investigation sent to several financial institutions by the EFCC.
Identifying Adigun and Owodunni as the signatories to the account as indicated by the bank mandate, he noted that the EFCC had in 2015 received intelligence report on the alleged fraud.
Narrowing down to the transaction of April 8, 2014 in the statement, Akubue noted that the entry was an inflow of N1billion from one of the NAF account domiciled in Skye Bank (now Polaris Bank).
He said: “The account where the money came from is also one of the accounts under investigation.
“One of the disbursements from the N1billion is the sum of N16, 980,000 on the 17th of April 2014 to a firm known as Delcon Installers Limited.
“We did further investigation of the company and we gathered that the money was not used to procure services for NAF.”
Akubue further highlighted the transaction of the 28th of August 2014, noting that “a credit sum of N1billion came from NIMASA”.
He explained further that in the course of investigation, the investigating team came across a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU between NIMASA and NAF for the protection of Nigeria’s waterways, which prompted the credit of N1billion from NIMASA to NAF.
“In our investigation, we came across a debit of N4, 801,549 withdrawn on 2nd September 2014 from this inflow, into the account of Hebron Housing and Property,” Akubue said, adding that the company was linked to the second defendant “by way of ownership” and was used to “purchase assets on behalf of the defendants”.
The case has been adjourned till 19th January, 2021 for “continuation of trial”.
The EFCC Grills The Federal Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is presently interrogating a former Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Babatunde Fowler, over the N100 billion tax evasion allegations levelled against a tax firm, Alpha Beta Consulting.
Fowler, who was also a former Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, responded to an invitation from the EFCC on Monday.
A former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Alpha Beta Consulting, Dapo Apara, had accused the firm of tax fraud to the tune of N100bn.
In a petition to the EFCC in 2018, Apara stated that Alpha Beta, the firm given exclusive rights to monitor and collect Internally Generated Revenue on behalf of the Lagos Government, “has become an avenue for official corruption of government officials, a conduit pipe for massive money-laundering scheme, tax evasion, among other vices.”
In the petition which was written by his lawyer, Adetunji Shoyoye and Associates, the ex-CEO claimed that the fraud had been covered by powerful politicians in the state.
The petition signed by Adetunji Adegboyega on behalf of the law firm, read in part, “Over the years the company has been protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable, but our client, feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his belief in the fact that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is keen on fighting corruption, which has been the bane of our country, is of the firm belief that it’s time to expose and open the can of worms called Alpha Beta Consulting.”
The EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed that Fowler was with the commission.
“Yes, Fowler responded to an invitation this morning. I believe he is still here,” he explained.
Uwujaren, however, did not comment on the investigation.
Justice Ayo Salami, Chairman of the presidential panel investigating Ibrahim Magu, the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says he does not regret his appointment to serve on the panel.
Magu is being investigated over allegations of abuse of office and mismanagement of recovered assets from May 2015 to May 2020 — the time he acted as Acting Chairman of the anti-graft agency.
Magu’s lawyers have always disagreed with the panel. But in a memo on Tuesday, Salami accused the lawyers of planting reports in the media that he regrets chairing the panel.
Justice Salami said in the memo that,“The reports were a figment of the wild imagination of the reporter, the two lawyers quoted as his sources and the medium that published the story,”
“There was no time anything near the unthinkable scenario painted in the false story occurred in any meeting between myself and the lawyers to Magu or any other person, for that matter, since the Judicial Commission of Inquiry began its sittings.
“I have no cause to express any regret over my Chairmanship of the Commission, not to talk of betraying any form of emotion before anyone about it. I see my appointment to serve as the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry as an honour and call to service, thus my decision to accept diligently and patriotically discharge this responsibility.
“I have never appointed any of the two lawyers or any other person(s) to speak on my behalf as I can express myself without recourse to the lawyers of the persons we are probing. As an eminent jurist, who retired as the President of the Court of Appeal, I have handled much more complex cases than the current one before the Commission. There is no doubt that the false reports were aimed at causing mischief and tarnishing my hard-earned reputation and integrity. I remain resolute and committed to the service of the nation and ready to champion the ideals of justice and fairness.
“I want to point out that such wild claims against me and the Commission are not strange to me, given the manner in which the lawyers to Magu have been carrying on in the conduct of their client’s case before the Commission. Planting such lies in the media about proceedings at the panel has been their pastime. They believe that it is by engaging in such media propaganda against the Commission that their client can be easily absolved of the various allegations that have been brought against him.”
Asking Nigerians to disregard the report, the retired president of the appeal court said the “lies and blackmail” will not deter him and other members of the panel from discharging their duty and mandate.
He said in conclusion, that the panel which he chairs will continue its investigation of the allegations against Magu with a view to unearthing the truth and ensuring that justice is done.
The Nigerian economy has grossly underperformed courtesy of the COVID19 pandemic and the slump in crude oil price and demand. There are contradiction, uncertainties, evidence and eminence of economic recession hovering over us.
A look at her enormous resource endowment showed that Nigeria is the 6th largest gas reserves and the 8th largest crude oil reserves in the world. It is endowed in commercial quantities with about 37 solid mineral types and has a population of over 200 million people. Yet economic performance has been rather weak and does not reflect these endowments, even before the advent of COVID19 and the current shock on global crude oil price. Compared her with the emerging Asian countries, notably, Thailand, Malaysia, China, India and Indonesia that were far behind Nigeria in terms of GDP per capita in 1970, these countries have transformed their economies and are not only miles ahead of Nigeria, but are also major players on the global economic arena.
Successive governments in Nigeria have since independence in 1960, pursued the goal of structural changes without much success. The growth dynamics have been propelled by the existence and exploitation of natural resources and primary products. Initially, the agricultural sector, driven by the demand for food and cash crops production was at the centre of the growth process, contributing 54.7 per cent to the GDP during the 1960s.
However, the second decade of independence saw the emergence of the oil industry as the main driver of growth. Since then, the economy has mainly gyrated with the boom burst cycles of the oil industry.
With a National budget (government income and expenditure) outlay that is dependent on oil revenues has more or less dictated the pace of economic growth and development.
Looking back, it is clear that the economy has not actually performed to its full potential particularly in the face of its rising population. In general, economic growth and population growth rates are very close that the margin cannot induce the required structural transformation and economic diversification.
Furthermore, Nigeria’s poor economic performance, particularly in the last Sixty years, is better illustrated when compared with China. For instance in the 1970s, while Nigeria had a GDP per capita of US$233.35 and was ranked 88th in the world, China was ranked 114th with a GDP per capita of US$111.82. Today, China is almost occupying an enviable number one position as productive, performing and developed economy in the world.
The major factors accounting for the relative decline of the Nigeria’s economic fortunes are easily identifiable as political instability, lack of focused and visionary leadership, economic mismanagement and corruption.
Prolonged period of military rule for example stifled economic and social progress, particularly in the three decades of 1970s to 1990s. During these years, resources were plundered, social values were debased, and unemployment rose astronomically with concomitant increase in crime rate.
Living standards fell so low, to the extent that some of the best brains with the requisite skills to drive the developmental process left in droves to other nations, and are now making substantial contributions to the economic success of their host countries.
However, since 1999, the country returned to the path of civil democratic governance and has sustained uninterrupted democratic rule for a period of 22 years. This in itself is a great achievement and gives reason for hope in a country that has was burdened with almost three decades of military rule and dictatorship. It has provided an opportunity to arrest the decline of the past and provide the launch pad for the take-off into an era of sustainable and all-round economic development.
However, in this regards also the successive civilian administrations since 1999 have committed to tackling the daunting challenges but with little and abysmal results to show. What we have is economic growth risen substantially, with annual average of 7.4 per cent, but the growth has not been inclusive, broad-based, jobless growth and devoid of transformational development.
The implication of this trend is that economic growth in Nigeria has not resulted in the desired structural changes that would make manufacturing industry the engine of growth, create employment, promote technological development and take millions out-off poverty. Available data has put the national poverty level at 74.4 per cent. Similarly, there has been rising unemployment with the current level put at 30.7 per cent by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS, 2020).Furthermore, the country lags behind her peers in most human development indicators.
What must be done for a post COVID19 Nigeria economy stability? An understanding of Nigeria’s economic aspirations today has remained that of altering the structure of production and consumption patterns, diversifying the economic base and reducing dependence on oil. Secondly, the government must aim of putting the economy on a part of sustainable, all-inclusive and non-inflationary growth with the 2.3 trillion stimulus package in the kitting and avoiding the wastage of that is critical.
Thirdly, a policy link through research and development is a boost to the manufacturing sector is the key to a revamp and industrialize economy (industrial sector comprises the manufacturing, mining, agriculture and electricity generation, oil and gas), implication of this is that while rapid growth in output, as measured by the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP), is important, the transformation of the various sectors (education, entertainment, media, banking and finance) of the economy are even more vital with the manufacturing leading the way.
As well as manufacturing sub-sector that is made up of large, medium and small enterprises, as well as cottage and hand-craft unit. This is consistent with the growth aspirations of most developing countries, as the structure of the economy is expected to change as growth progresses.
By: Adefolarin A. Olamilekan, Political Economist and Development Researcher. Email:email@example.com, 08073814436-Abuja.
Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), the renowned constitution guru, calls on Nigerians and the members of the National assembly against the amendment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act.
The call was in a statement signed by Sagay, and released by the Communication Unit of the committee, where he said the planned amendment was part of “an on-going very sinister and dangerous attempt to demolish the anti-corruption infrastructure of Nigeria and return it to the situation it was in during the dark days before 2015.
Prof. Sagay added that those behind it “are the representatives of the corrupt establishment that brought this country to its knees and subjected us to humiliation as a result of an extremely negative reputation internationally”.
The controversial bill seeks to weaken the EFCC and its officials and confer an enormous power of control of the anti-graft agency on the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.
Although, Sagay did not mention the name of the incumbent AGF, Abubakar Malami (SAN), as the sponsor of the controversial bill, he tackled the minister for what he described as his proclivity for aborting criminal cases in favour of major political and governmental figures.
He noted that the draft bill which intended to repeal the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, was being sponsored by those that were “too ashamed to put their names to the draft bill being circulated”.
Without mentioning the names of the alleged sponsors of the bill, Sagay described them as the “enemies of Nigeria”.
Malami, whose memo to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), triggered the ongoing probe of the suspended Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, by the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel for various allegations of corruption, abuse of office, and insubordination, has been linked to the controversial bill in the media.
Citing various provisions of the bill, Sagay said it would eliminate the anti-graft agency’s “freedom and autonomy” and replace it with “an entity under the complete control of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General”.
The Professor further added that the proposed bill if passed, would effectively turn the commission into a department in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
Political party, defection otherwise known as “cross-carpeting”, “party crossover”, “party switching” or “political prostitution” is a serious source of concern to the development of democracy, popular participation and good governance in Nigeria.
The way and manner in which Nigerian politicians defect from one party to the other, has not only constituted democratic nuisance, but has continued to raise serious concern among stakeholders, on the sustainability of democracy in the country.
This irritant democratic behavior lends credence, to lack of clear ideology among most political parties, lack of internal democracy, corruption, greed and dogged pursuance of selfish interest as against the common interests of the society.
Unfortunately, party defection has become a political norm in Nigeria’s democracy and it has created confusion, uncertainty and total lack of direction in political parties and governance.
Though politics of defection is synonymous with liberal democracy worldwide, but Nigeria’s case is exceptionally outrageous.
It is true that, party defection is a phenomenon that occurs even in the so-called advanced democracies.
For example, Winston Churchill of Britain remained one of the foremost political defectors in the history of Britain. He first joined the British parliament as a Conservative in 1901, defected to the Liberal in 1904, and defected back to the Conservative in 1925.
In India, the problem of political party defection became so alarming, that the country had to enact laws against defection in 1973, 1985 and 2003.
These laws provided that a person could be disqualified from serving in parliament for withdrawing membership of his original political party. So defection is not new to liberal democracy the world over.
This is because, democracy promotes the principles of fundamental human rights, the freedom of individuals’ political life and the people’s rights to unrestrained access to participation in the policy processes.
The beginning of politics of defection in Nigeria is traceable to 1951, when several members of the National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC), defected to the Action Group (AG) just to deny Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe and his party (NCNC), the majority in the Western Regional House of Assembly, which the party required to form government in the Western Region, although, there were some isolated cases, here and there, when individuals and groups were coerced into defecting to other political parties.
Some members of NEPU were forced to defect to either NPC or withdraw from partisan politics as a result of their attachment to the establishment.
The cases of Maitama Sule (Dammasanin Kano) and Alhaji Musa Magami were typical examples. Thus, threat or subjection to political repression, was a serious factor that contributed to politics of defection.
During the Second Republic, Ahaji Ibrahim Waziri defected from Nigerian People Party (NPP), to form Great Nigerian Peoples Party (GNPP), when his bid for the Presidential nomination seemed to be threatened.
The Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Muhammadu Abubakar Rimi had to defect from his People Redemption Party (PRP) to the Nigerian People’s Party (NPP), to be able to contest election for the second term. Thus, politics of defection is synonymous to liberal democracy anywhere in the World.
The argument is that, the system guarantees fundamental human rights of individuals, including the right to choose what is best for them. However, the rate of party defection in the Fourth Republic is so unprecedented such that most stakeholders in the polity become very much concerned. And indeed, the level of party defection exposes the total ideological bankruptcy of most members of Nigeria’s political parties, and the centrality of the pursuit of political power as against any other reason why people join politics.
Since the commencement of the Fourth Republic in 1999, all the major political parties in Nigeria have one internal crisis or the other. These crises often, degenerate into serious and irreconcilable conflicts, divisions, and factionalization, especially between 2006 and 2018 which marked the peak of both intra-party conflicts and inter party defections. At the initial stage, the scene was dominated by intra-party fraction, mostly associated with inability to observe internal democratic principles in most of the political parties, but later the situation grew to inter-party defections and mostly from the opposition to the ruling party. During the prelude to the 2015 general election, the unhealthy power contest within ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) prompted incessant defections of prominent members of the party to the opposition All Progressive Congress (APC).
As mentioned earlier, lack of respect for party ideology is seen as the leading source of politics of defection.
Party ideology, which is supposed to be a practical belief system that justifies chosen political order for the society, explaining in practical terms, the best way the party intends to tackle social challenges and moving the country forward, seems to be not upheld or respected in most of our political parties.
And the simple reason is that, Parties in Nigeria are portrayed as lacking in clear vision and focus on transformation or rather the will to live up to such party characteristics. As such they are virtually the same in terms of attributes and characteristics except the PRP.
This is as against what obtains in the so-called advanced democracies, such as U.S.A. and Britain, where most Nigerian politicians draw inspiration from.
Political parties in those countries have been known to exist on sustained ideological bases.
Parties were not just platforms for ascending to political power, but constitute ways of socio-political identification as well as means of mobilization and a unifying factor.
Therefore, clear ideological stand of a political party, plays a major role in unifying people of different cultures, ethnicity, religion, gender and orientation to a common destiny. This is one of the good examples Nigerian political parties ought to have emulated from those countries, especially taking into consideration our multicultural setting.
But unfortunately, ideological bankruptcy in our political parties has reduced them to mere tools of ascending to public office.
Political parties have become organizations that survive on monetization as the basis for loyalty and support. This has also accounted for the incessant internal crises in the parties, which not only lead to defections, but also explained why in some cases, politicians defect to where they call “greener posture“ (baza su yi Azumi ba) that is even when there is no crisis bedevilling their own political parties.
Corruption is another major cause of politics of defection in Nigeria. Contemporary politicians emphasized primacy of political power over and above everything in politics. As against the views of the nationalist politicians such as Malam Aminu Kano, for instance, occupation of public office though desirable, but it is not an end in itself. That is why his ideas and contributions to socio-political development of the country are ever-lasting. To the present day politicians, the possession of public office is the ultimate and the most lucrative business in the country. Political office gives direct access to economic power. And presiding over the allocation of public resources allows one to plunder these public resources for personal ends. As such, desperation to hold public office as means of accumulating wealth or “empowering” group members or supporters, remains the primary objective of engaging in partisan politics. Thus defection by Nigerian politicians without justifications becomes an accepted norm.
Also associated with corrupt behavior of our politicians, is politicians that occupy public offices and looted public funds, defect to the new ruling party for cover-up. That is, their membership of the ruling party usually saves them from the anti-corruption agencies like EFCC and ICPC whom are to a greater extent reduced to political hounding dogs and tools or weapons used against the uncooperative members of the opposition parties.
The alarming rate of defection in Nigerian politics is also attributed to instability within political parties occasioned by lack of internal democracy. A popular trend in Nigeria is, politicians easily defect to other political parties, the moment they fail to secure party nominations during own party’s primaries. Winning party primary election and recognition of candidates for nomination or selection as flag bearer of a political party depends on the economic potency of the candidate, the strength of his political “godfather” or his support base from especially those in control of the government. Integrity and capacity of an aspirant does not matter. Some aspirants, who feel disillusioned, cheated or denied free and fair primaries, as well as those who simply lose out, defect to other parties so as to participate in the general elections, in fact, some of them with the intention of returning to their original parties after general elections.
A typical example, is the recent defection of the former gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) Kano State, in the 2019 general election, and some others, to the ruling APC without shame. Same Politicians defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to PRP when they did not emerge as the PDP gubernatorial candidates. PRP accepted them to contest the elections even as there were contestants on its platform, following rigorous screening conducted by its Committee on Research and Planning. When they lost in the general elections, they decided to dump the PRP, to defect to the ruling APC.
Indeed, this is a clear indication that, most Nigerian politicians are “political prostitutes” who lack integrity, vision and patriotism. There is no other way one could reasonably explain the defection of the Party’s gubernatorial candidate who was presumed to be honest, firm and patriotic, the like of Malam Aminu Kano, could defect easily from the only Nigerian political party with clear ideological stand, that is categorically out to emancipate the masses (Talakawa) and install equity and social justice; to the ruling APC, which obviously, from top to bottom demonstrated an unprecedented corruptive tendencies, incapacity and total disregard to the plight of the average Nigerians. A party which has clearly demonstrated its inability to deliver on any of its campaign promises regarding the security challenges of the country, fighting corruption and improving the economic wellbeing of Nigerians, a party, which has produced the most corrupt, clueless and fraudulent administration ever in the history of Kano State.
The use of money in liberal democracy permeates the system. Critics of the system always argue that, the contribution of money to political parties and candidates is an important way in which large corporations and wealthy capitalists influence politics and governance. While this argument is quite weighty, money politics is also an important factor in promoting defection in Nigeria. The use of money in politics is seen as necessary evils, but its negative effect as means of funding political competition has been a serious source of concern and so calls for serious re-consideration, if at all, the principles of popular participation is to be realized. The amount of money required by a candidate to be able to contest and win election, especially in presidential democracy, is so huge that, a candidate who has no access to such resources should simply forget about it, or if he is desperate, should defect to the ruling Party, where all his expenses would be funded from the public purse, or to move to a political party that has large concentration of wealthy personalities i.e. Ex-this, Ex-that, and Retired this, Retired that, where such huge resources could be accessed easily.
This political brouhaha could only be surmounted when the Nigerian electorate realizes the importance of owning a political party. PRP must conduct serious political reorientation and political education, as well as recruitment of select members of the public to actively participate in politics. They should be made to pay their membership fees, mobilize activists to make donations to election campaigns and insist that the leadership of their political parties must be honest, transparent and accountable for their actions or inactions.
They should be mobilized to retract their apathy toward partisan politics and be made to actively participate in the political process. This way would probably allow them to own the political parties, influence their programmes and ensure that political office holders respect their covenant with them.
By: Kano State Directorate of the People’s Redemption Party (PRP).
Corruption: A Parasite That Retards Collective National Development – Mukhtar Garba Kobi
It is unarguable true that the problem of corruption has being in existence since time immemorial. Corruption is frequent in each and every society and it happens almost everyday. It has several shapes as well as various effects but that varies from one society to another, it deals with subverting public fund, etiolating morals, defalcating staff’s benefits, absurdifying tax & fines, political misconduct and decadences in spheres of human endeavours.
The wound of corruption has eaten deep down the flesh and melted in veins of fellow countrymen. It usually starts from home between husband and wife, mother and children, down to entire society. It generates a lack of transparency and a lack of control by supervisory institutions, corruption paves way for a non transparent functioning of social, political and economic sectors.
Corruption is the dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in position of power or followers which typically involves bribery. According to Morris (1991), corruption can be seen as the illegitimate use of power to benefit a private interest. It also entails offering of bribe to an official so that the truth of a situation will be hidden. It covers the embezzlement of public funds for personal use, giving a token to scale a course by students, offering some amount to skip paying actual fine to security agents and any act that is considered to be criminal in nature which is contrary to the laws enshrined by code or constitution. In 2001, Nigeria was ranked the second most corrupt nation in the world out of 91 countries, second only to Bangladesh.
Recently in 2019, Transparency International ranked Nigeria as 146th out of 180 countries surveyed on corruption with 26% corruption index. This reveals that level of corruption has mercilessly stabbed Nigeria deep to a state of unending stupor.
Furthermore, corruption retards economic growth of a country, slows down business operation, blocks employment opportunities and halts investors from foreign countries in investing. The wider society is persuaded when the gravity of corruption is high, the executive arm of government tends to not bring policies and programmes for development, judiciary will then be chocked with angry and money egocentric judges which makes citizens lose confidence in them.
The legislative arm can then be taciturn and passive by not passing bills that could reduce burdens and dilapidated infrastructures. The level of corruption in Nigeria hurts a lot of people as money which supposed to be used in purveying developmental projects to better lives is channeled into the pockets of selected few.
The sad part of it is that the current Nigerian government and the ruling party turned to redemption camp; where corrupt labeled politicians absquatulate to it, then those charges on them are being dropped unquestionably.
The stain of corruption did not spare anti-graft agencies that are saddled with the responsibilities of antagonizing corruption, as the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Ibrahim Lamurde was accused of fraudulently diverting one trillion naira recovered from corrupt convicts by the commission (Adeyemi, 2016). Recently, the embattled Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu was also accused of corruption, diversion of recovered loots, insubordination and abuse of office which led to his unexpected suspension as the Acting Chairman of the commission. This is unimaginable as those appointed to fight corruption in the country are also found to be guilty of the same problem they are suppose to be fighting for.
Laconically, corrupt related malfeasance varies from one country to another, in most developing countries; the cases of corruption are usually common. Some causes of corruption includes GREED which has led to major crisis in almost all developing countries and in Nigeria in particular; Leaders that garnered too much wealth still quest to remain on power because their money ego is insatiable.
Secondly, UNEMPLOYMENT; Youth that are the strength of the nation are unemployed, the hike of idleness triggers many into internet fraud (cybercrime), sexual harassment by male managers in companies in order to reinstate female staff.
Thirdly, POVERTY; According to international standard, which states that a person is said to be poor when he or she lives under $1.25 (which is equivalent to N475) per day, poverty has pushed many into thuggery, cybercrime, and other heinous acts in order to better their lives.
In fact, corruption is a multidimensional process, it benefits the giver of the bribe, the receiver and both are aware of the consequences while others are doing it unknowingly.
Some countries have recorded great success in dealing with corruption, such that anyone caught the repercussion is to be liquidated or life imprisonment.
There are several ways to curb corruption and they includes; Reinforcement of moral compass in which government should help parents in by rewarding honest citizens whether adults or teenagers, also by declaring free education, free healthcare, taking under age persons that are found guilty to rehabilitation homes, etc.
Similarly, leaders can help in fighting corruption by serving as good example to citizens; this can be achieved by judiciously applying stipulated punishment to anyone irrespective of whoever he or she is. Thirdly, making anti-graft agencies or commissions independent from government control, by giving them the wherewithal to charge all whether in ruling or opposition parties.
Lastly, citizens should be allowed to have access to information concerning country’s finance, this will help in enhancing accountability.
In conclusion, if these steps are sternly taken and applied the preponderant cases of corruption would be eradicated and lastly become history.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, yesterday, in a swift response to planned ‘Nationwide Protest’, said:
“The reported plan by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to embark on a nationwide protest over the alleged President Buhari’s “inaction over the high-level of corruption uncovered at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)” is ill advised and totally uncalled for, considering that there are ongoing investigations in the cases by both the Executive and Legislative arms of government.
These processes must be allowed to run their full courses.
It is against the norm in a democratic society as well as the natural laws of justice to seek “action,” meaning punishment against offenders before proper investigation, trial and conviction.
The President has made it clear that the allegations that have surfaced clearly “constitute a breach of trust” and as the investigations take hold and close out, all those found wanting will face the wrath of the law.”
Malam Garba further states that:
“The TUC, as an enlightened group of labour Unionists, should indeed voice their indignation whenever such acts are being unearthed.
However the expectation will be for it to also raise the bar higher, in terms of the debate concerning the impact of such allegations on our ability, to create and retain employment, attract investment, improve the living conditions of its members and citizens, and how a preponderance of these heinous crimes decimates any gains being made in other spheres.
The world is confronted with a global public health crisis, decline in economic growth, and expanding areas of conflict by non-state actors.”
“All these ills in their singular or combined form are consuming every nation. Nigeria is no exception; we must hold the line and lock arms that way we rid ourselves of these existential issues whilst we grapple with those that are our own homegrown problems.
This administration is committed to doing just that, and organizations like the TUC should be extending a hand in supporting such a fight that is in our collective interest.” He concluded.
The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, has sends names of members of the National Assembly who allegedly got over-bloated and unexecuted contracts from the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
This was contained in the letter by the minister sent to the National Assembly and released to the public.
The National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), which presented the document to the media in Abuja on Sunday, expressed disappointment that the Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, refused to disclose the list of the federal lawmakers who benefitted from the contracts awarded by the NDDC.
According to the document, Senator Godswill Akpabio listed, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi’s name against 53 projects which included emergency repairs of Asue Street, Owa Phase 2, emer Road via Ojemaye, emergency repairs of Otolokpo College Road, Otolokpo, and emergency repairs of Idumuogbe gency repairs of Police Ishu Ani Ukwu Road, Issele-Uku.
“They also included emergency repairs of old Sapele Agbor Road, Obiaruku; emergency repairs of Ehwerhe Obada Road, Agbarho Road; emergency repairs of Hon. Ifeanyi Eboigbe Street, Boji Boji Owa/Goodwill Street, Owa Alero, and emergency repairs of Ahiama Okwu to Obuocha Okwu, among others.
“Also the minister listed (Hon. Nicholas) Mutu’s name against 74 projects which included various emergency road projects in Delta, Akwa Ibom, Bayela, and Rivers states.
“Other lawmakers that Akpabio listed projects against are Senator Matthew Urhoghide (6), James Manager (6), Sam Anyanwu (19), and others simply identified as Ondo and Edo reps.”
While addressing newsmen in Abuja, the President of the Youth Council, Mr Solomon Adodo, said:
“Mr. Speaker did not do us justice when he did not disclose to the National Assembly that the list of the beneficiaries he demanded had been disclosed and attached to the letter sent to him.
“Gbajabiamila’s decision to cover up his colleagues is unfair to the fight against corruption, quest for transparency, and to the commonwealth of our nation.
“We, therefore, urge Mr. Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, to resign for covering up for a set of people who had erred and breached the rules of contract.
“All the National Assembly members who benefitted from the contracts without executing them should be prosecuted to serve as deterrent to those who may want to follow a similar path.
“It is a clear case of organised crime to have individuals who benefitted from illegality now rising to probe the fact that their illegality is being exposed.”
He added: “We call on all the anti-graft agencies and security agencies to, in line with the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari, immediately proceed and go ahead with their investigation of the matter.”
The youths said they were firmly in support of the forensic audit instituted by the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs because it had exposed those who had benefitted in the corruption that had festered in the NDDC.
In the document displayed by the youths council, Akpabio was quoted as having said that his letter became necessary because “the investigating committee on NDDC refused and/or neglected to give me the opportunity to explain that reference to most NDDC contracts yearly being awarded since 2001 from the records allegedly to members of the National Assembly in both chambers were done without the knowledge of the alleged beneficiaries”.
Akpabio added: “However, the two chairmen of the committees in both chambers had adequate knowledge.”
Reacting, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi challenged Akpabio to publish the names of directors of the companies that got the contracts.
“Akpabio is a confused man. NDDC used N39 million to launder his image. Let him not divert attention from the N81 billion they shared in NDDC”, he said.
Watchers of event are however saying they cannot take Nwaoboshi after-thought outburst because, according to one of them, “Akpabio as lawyer cannot be saying things he does not know. So, the National Assembly leadership still owes the country a duty to purge itself of all of these allegedly corrupt members by submitting them to probe outside the Dome and by independent investigators.”