The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has berated the leadership of the senate led by Senator Ahmed Lawan for playing to the gallery by embarking on a solidarity visit to Senator Orji Uzor Kalu, following the Chief Whip’s release from Kuje correctional facility.
In a release, issued by CACOL on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “it would be recalled that Kalu had been sentenced to 12 years imprisonment after he was initially found guilty of conspiring and diverting N7.65bn from the Abia State coffers, during his tenure as governor of the sta
te. The two-time governor and two others were found guilty of the N7.65billion fraud, in an amended 39 counts which was filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). But on the flip side of it, the Supreme Court, in its verdict delivered on May 8, 2020, held that Justice Idris gave the judgment without jurisdiction. This amounted to the judgment being annulled on the ground of technicalities”.
However, after spending a few months behind bars, the lawmaker was set free by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos presided over by Justice Mohammed Liman who ordered Senator Kalu’s release on the 2nd of June 2020, after listening to an application filed by the former governor.
The chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran said “the visit by the senate delegation headed by the Senate President is a charade, travesty and a mockery on the intelligence of common Nigerians. It shows that despite the horrible situation the country has found herself, due principally to good leadership that has eluded the country from independence, the leadership of the Senate are not bothered by the menace of corruption that has stagnated the destiny of this great country. By their action, they have brought Nigeria to the spotlight again as a country whose leaders does not only celebrate corruption but are “fantastically corrupt” thereby making Nigeria a laughing stock among the comity of nations”.
“It is regrettable that while some of us are perturbed and worrying about the Supreme Court judgment and its attendant implications for the legal jurisprudence and the fight against corruption in Nigeria, the leadership of the Senate is not in any way concerned and is more at home with felicitating and celebrating with the beneficiary of the Supreme Court judgment”.
The anti-corruption czar noted that “we found it amusing and laughable that the leadership of the second arm of government would leave their statutory duties and embark on a wild goose chase in the name of a “Solidarity visit” to a man that was accused of stealing his state dry when he was a governor of the state”.
What exactly do they want to achieve by that visit, what are they telling the common Nigerians on the street that are not corrupt? What lessons are they passing on or indirectly inculcating in the minds of our younger generation or aspiring politicians? Are they telling us that corruption pays? Are they telling us that they were and are still with him in his struggles to escape the law from catching up with him? Is the solidarity visit meant to assure him (i.e Kalu) that come what may, his seat at the Senate will not be declared vacant? Or are they indirectly telling Nigerians that birds of a feather will always flock together, come what may.
The CACOL boss added “we therefore call for an explanation from the leadership of the Senate to let Nigerians know what they set out to achieve with the visit to Orji Uzor Kalu. We also call on them to always see their position as the representatives of the people whom they would have to report to at one time or the other. They should also note that their actions or inaction are being recorded on the pages of history and that even generations yet unborn would read about all what they are doing now. Moreover, members of the hallowed chamber ought to serve as role models and lead by showing good examples that the incoming generations can always learn from and not portray themselves as members of “big boys club” that are always above the law”.
Coordinator, Administration and Programmes
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on anti-corruption agencies for necessary investigation of corrupt practices of inflated Airfare rates for members of staff of Nigerian Ports Authority management.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Adegboyega Otunuga, the anti-corruption organization’s Coordinator, Media and Publications on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “It would be recalled that the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, started operations in April 1955 following the implementation of the Ports Act of 1954. As records have it, the public corporation managed only the Lagos and Port Harcourt ports, ab initio while some private companies managed the remaining Nigerian ports. In addition to managing cargo handling, quay and berthing facilities at the Lagos and Port Harcourt ports, the initial law also gave it the responsibility of managing harbours and approaches to all ports in the country. By 1963 the firm had grown successfully, it was operating a cargo ship from Lagos to Port Harcourt and also began dredging the Bonny terminal for oil operations. After the Nigerian Army’s directive for cement supply in order to enable it build adequate number of barracks to house almost all its soldiers and the influx of ships bringing cement (cement armada) to the country, Tin Can Island port was hastily constructed in 1976 to ameliorate the problems; and it comprised of 10 berths and 2.5km of hard quay, while about 24 terminals were later concessioned for greater efficiency and resourcefulness (NPA would continue to act as the landlord and provide common user facilities, technical oversight and other marine services. The private operators were to be involved in loading and offloading of cargoes).
“However, over the years, the NPA has been embroiled in a number of corruption allegations, leading to the arraignment and conviction of its Chairman from 2001 to 2003, along with five (5) other board members for ‘approving contracts beyond their approval limits’. This and many other acts of impropriety have made the NPA one of the most corrupt agencies in Nigeria, latest of which is an internal memo of the Nigerian Ports Authority dated January 24, 2020, an online news medium, SaharaReporters, showing how management of the agency had been siphoning public funds. In the document with reference number: Ref: HQ/GM/C&SC/OP/VF/045 and addressed to the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, by the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication, Engr Adams Jatto, and titled: Review of airfare rates (local), the management could be seen engaging in sharp practices by jerking up the current rate of local airfares astronomically. In the document, Jatto said, “The Division has observed the recent hike in prices of local tickets across the country.
“In view of the above and in order to keep abreast with reality of our times, it is hereby recommended that the rates for local flights be reviewed upwards accordingly as detailed below.”
“Outlined on a table in the document, the NPA management proposed and approved between N180, 000 (One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Naira) to N320, 000 (Three Hundred and Twenty Thousand Naira) for a return trip on business class depending on the state to be visited, and between N150, 000 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) to N290, 000 (Two Hundred and Ninety-Thousand Naira) for a two-way journey on economy class subject to the route. Whereas, findings indicated that a round trip airfare anywhere in Nigeria costs between N44, 000 and N75, 000 regardless of airline and class of seat. This means that on the lowest category of airfare rates approved by the NPA management, officials of the agency would pocket N75, 000 per staff flying such trips. On the highest fares approved, officials could rake in as much as N245, 000 per staff that uses such facility. All these could run into millions and even billions of Naira of tax payers’ money at the end of the year, thus putting serious financial strain on the domestic economy”.
The anti-graft czar added, “Considering the strategic and critical role of seaports operations in any country, we are seriously concerned about the enormity of corruption going on in the administration of ports functioning in the country. We therefore, call on the federal government to quickly wade into ports administration with a view to sanitizing it and bring those responsible for their underperformance to book so as to serve as a deterrent while decongesting their operations to relieve the Lagos Port Complex of undue congestion and slow pace of work. This should lead to greater activities at Delta port, Calabar port, Rivers and Onne ports for improved port efficiency and greater revenue base to the nation.”
Coordinator, Media and Publications
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called for self-isolation of the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo, some states’ governors and other dignitaries that attended the last Thursday National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by the Vice President at the Presidential Villa.
In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of the organization’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he averred, “It would be recalled that earlier today, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor of Bauchi state on Media, confirmed that his principal, Bala Mohammed tested positive for coronavirus. This is coming in the heels of revelations suggesting that the governor and former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku’s son, Mohammed Atiku (who has since tested positive and undergoing treatment of the ravaging virus), had met inside an aircraft that headed towards Abuja where he later attended same meeting with other governors and the Vice President. It is therefore imperative that all those at that crucial meeting should be encouraged to go on self-isolation with immediate effect while necessary efforts are made to establish their testing positive or negative.
“Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus on December 31, 2019, there have been nearly 400, 000 (Four Hundred Thousand) cases of affliction with over 18, 000 (Eighteen Thousand reported deaths at the global level while Nigeria has recorded 40 cases, though with only one death reported so far. However, the commendable efforts at prevention and minimization of effects of this virulent epidemic in our shores, seems to have diminished overtime with serious errors of the past resulting into degenerative and sorry state of our public health system, seems to have finally caught up with us as a nation. This has become apparent with dearth of medical facilities and personnel to effectively meet up with the challenge of an outright escalation of the scourge, coupled with inadequate research culture and porous borders dotting our various entry points to the country. This is why CACOL, as an Anti-Corruption coalition is making this clarion call to various tiers of government in the country that, while we commend and appreciate the swift response of the current leadership in the country to the pandemic, we urge the governments and the general public to apprise themselves of the enormity and probable dimensions of this virus and view it with all seriousness it deserves.”
The CACOL Boss added, “Maybe the urgent assignment aside the immediate call of getting all our public office holders to subject themselves to the coronavirus test, is to also restrict the movement of generality of Nigerians within the next couple of weeks so as to motivate all for self-isolation and self-distancing, which could culminate in general assessment of contracting the virus or not. This sort of national emergency would go a, long way in nipping the ravaging menace of the virus in the bud and provide a safer approach towards curtailing it.”
Coordinator, Media and Publications
In response to reported statement by President Muhammadu Buhari, that former dictator, Sani Abacha, ‘stole close to $1billion’, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Saturday faulted Buhari’s submission, saying that Abacha stole far more than $1billion.
The group cited Transparency International report, which submitted that ‘Abacha may have stolen between $3bn and $5bn in public money’.
Recall that Buhari had in his article titled “Post-Coronavirus, Africa’s Manufacturing Moment”, published on Newsweek.com, said, “Nigeria can now move forward with road, rail and power station construction in part, under own resources-thanks to close to a billion dollars of funds stolen from the people of Nigeria under a previous, undemocratic junta in the 1990s that have now been returned to our country from the U.S., U.K. and Switzerland.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has chastised the Kaduna state prison officials for their wanton murder of 8 inmates of the Kaduna correctional centre who staged a protest that turned into a riot over fears that they could contract Coronavirus (COVID-19) and die due to the overcrowded nature of cells and poor ventilation system in the facility.
In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of the organization’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he stated, “Since the unfortunate outbreak of coronavirus that recorded its first confirmed case in Nigeria on 27 February, 2020, and has since risen to astronomical level of over 200 (Two Hundred) affected and four dead with both federal and various states’ governments hard hit proclaiming a lockdown order to curtail the global pandemic, Nigerians of different hues and shades have expressed one form of disenchantment or the other as it concerns their fears over their state of helplessness during the rampart social disorder, including those that are variously detained or imprisoned in different correctional centres across the country. It is a known fact that one of the most dangerous avenues for the contagious virus to be easily transmitted against humans is through crowding and congestion. Unfortunately, this has been the hallmark of virtually all prison facilities in the country, most of which were built before the country attained its independence on October 1, 1960. In most cases, an average correctional centre (prison) built for 500 inmates some decades ago, comprise of over 2,000 inmates today (over 400 percent increase) with more than 70 percent of such inmates falling under awaiting trial inmates (ATM) meaning that many of them were simply arrested at different locations or framed up on holding charge and kept perpetually under a most unbearable condition for ridiculous number of years.
“This is why CACOL, as a civil society organization with bias for rights enforcement, has always advocated for decongestion of our prison centres through abrogation of ‘Holding Charge’ from our law jurisprudence and acceleration of access to the wheel of justice for all inmates under awaiting trial. More often than not, allowances for these inmates fall below acceptable standard with feeding and living conditions barely fit for human pets. This is why we could effectively relate and reckon with the grievances of these inmates, some of whom were murdered in cold-blood. They include, Hammed Abdullahi, Lucky Ugokama, Ibrahim Abukabar aka Baba Lolo, Yahu Salisu, Elvis Wisdom Adekpe, Lucky Njoku, Oluchukwu Oche also known as ‘No Witch’, and Ibrahim Abdullahi, while Ogume Osifo Osarome is in critical condition after being severely tortured, according to an online medium, SAHARA REPORTERS, for simply demanding safety over their lives. Consequently, we demand for the setting up of an impartial panel of probe and investigation of both immediate and remote causes of the murder of these unfortunate inmates, who remain innocent of all charges until otherwise proven and some of who still retain their fundamental human rights as veritable members of the human community even when convicted, as guaranteed by provisions of the Geneva Convention and the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended).
“In similar vein, we lend our critical voice to the point of awareness over rights abuses and impassioned violations by different security arms of government since lockdowns were announced in some states of the federation as rightly exposed by a foremost rights group, Amnesty International (AI). It is our candid view that the current situation that was imposed by the unfortunate coronavirus pandemic, calls for sober appraisal and review of how we had fared as a nation, prior to the symbolic national independence and after. What is more desirable and urgently required for us as a nation bound under One Destiny and a Nation is fostering unity and love, which could only be attained by the social reorientation and redirection of our security architecture and sociology”
The CACOL Boss added, “The occasion of this global pandemic, though sad and unfortunate, offers us an only opportunity to refocus this nation and salvage it from its age-long path to perdition that makes its teeming compatriots to hibernate between hopelessness and disillusionment, thereby jeopardizing a fulfillment of its remarkable possibilities that should make it take its rightful place amongst nations.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has given a pat on the back to the Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye for giving extra bite and purpose to the fight against corruption and illicit acquisition of public wealth, since he assumed office a couple of years back.
In a release, issued by CACOL on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he stated, “We would recollect that just last week, our anti-corruption and open leadership organization, CACOL, issued a release, assessing various interventions funds, in cash and in kinds, to different tiers of government and their agencies in assisting them to concretely combat the scourge of coronavirus (COVID-19) that continues to ravage individuals and societies with dire consequences to lives and economies of states all over the world. In conceptualizing government’s response and different interventions both locally and internationally, we praised friendly and good-spirited nations and individuals who had since come to the aid of the nation by donating billions of Naira and provided all kinds of assistance in necessary equipment and expertise towards dealing with the global pandemic and assuaging the sufferings of victims and other individuals who may be affected or inconvenienced through measures adopted by the state like lockdown, etc.
“Consequently, we had demanded that appropriate measures be taken by the anti-corruption agencies towards monitoring of receipts and applications of such interventions, in a way that promotes transparency and accountability in the management of the funds. It was therefore, a great relief that the leadership of ICPC under this dispensation responded to the challenge by setting up a monitoring team in this regard. This is despite the existence of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, as this effort is in sync with Section 6 (b) – (d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000; and its in preventive mandate provided for under same Section. This should effectively prevent financial abuse in the management of the funds meant in battling the pandemic and assisting its victims. It would also hold defaulters accountable where they have been able to sneak through the ye of the anti-corruption needle”
The CACOL Boss added, “It is quite germane and remarkable that the ICPC under this leadership has learnt from mistakes of the past where actions were only taken after the deeds were done. Meanwhile, dealing with corruption after its committal has never been an easy assignment as, ‘prevention is always better than cure’ as the saying goes. We also use this opportunity to pledge our cooperation and useful assistance in the provisions of information and other means through which a judicious application and accountability of all these intervention funds could be converted while a few misguided elements with the corruption etched in their DNA would be collectively fished out and made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as a deterrent.”
L-R Debo Adeniran, Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Former Speaker LAHA, Mark Adebayo (National Chairman, KOWA Party)
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF DEBO DISCUSSIONS – Dialectical Extrapolation on Babelian Oddities
THEME: LAUNDERED LOOT AS POTENTIAL FOREIGN RESERVE FOR AN ECONOMY: WHAT LESSONS FROM NIGERIA’S ABACHA
DATE: 15th May, 2020 TIME: 12 NOON
The colloquium was held at the Talk Hall, Angle 1706, Sango- Otta in honour of the Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) as he marked his 60th birthday. Due to the need to observe social distancing and other protocols introduced by the Federal Government’s to prevent the spread of the dreaded Corona virus only about 15 participants were at the Venue. Most of the discussants joined the colloquium online via Zoom. DEBO Discussions is a regular interactive forum inaugurated on the day and is meant to hold at regular intervals as a retirement engagement by the Celebrant. The forum is meant to find meeting point on what is said, promised or meant by duty bearers (ruling elites) and what is understood, expected or desired by right holders (the citizenry) on socio-economic and political issues at different levels of government in Nigeria.
During the discussion, some observations were made by participants concerning the looted funds in Nigeria.
That there had been too much emphasis on the late dictator Gen. Sani Abacha’s loot whereas there are still many more looted funds stashed away in foreign banks while the culprits are moving about freely just because they are still alive.
That other past heads of state who are suspected of looting public treasury during their tenure in office should also be probed and their loot equally recovered
That such recovered loot could be used to provide critical infrastructures for the country.
That it is unfortunate that some of the petitions submitted to anti-corruption agencies by civil society organizations were not investigated.
That foreign countries that received these looted funds always paid back such funds without interest despite using them to develop their economies but give stringent conditions to repatriate the recovered loot.
That our foreign reserve is denominated in U.S dollars while America’s reserve is denominated in Gold which makes it less volatile like the U.S dollar.
That the youth of today are not showing much interest in assuming leadership positions.
Participants at the colloquium recommended as follows:
That the various petitions against corruption submitted by civil society organizations should be investigated while indicted culprits be properly prosecuted, their loots recovered and adequately punished.
That our leaders must be responsible, transparent, accountable and be just while holding public offices.
That anyone who has been accused of any corrupt act should not be allowed to contest public offices in any part of the country.
In view of number three recommendation above, the participants were of the opinion that our judicial system should be empowered to facilitate quick dispensation of justice especially on corruption matters so as not to deny innocent people their democratic right.
There is an urgent need to give the right education to Nigerian youths and re-orientate them so as to sharpen their leadership skills and prevent them from being perpetually enslaved by the ruling class.
The participants also encouraged the youths to know and bn always aware of their roles in the society.
It was also recommended that the discussion should not be limited to an online event and that it should be held at regular intervals.
That those guilty of corruption charges should be seriously punished and sanctioned so as to serve as deterrent to others.
In conclusion, participants at the colloquium commended the organizer of the colloquium for using the occasion of his birthday to discuss an issue that is so germane to national development and congratulated him on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
PARTICIPANTS AT THE COLLOQUIUM
RT. HON. ADEYEMI IKUFORIJI (Former Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly)
Mrs. ABIMBOLA JUNAID
COMRADE DIDI ADODO
BARRISTER FEMI FALANA (SAN)
COMRADE MARK ADEBAYO
COMRADE OLAWALE ISMAIL
MRS. ABIMBOLA ADEGOKE ADEBAJO
MR AKIN AWOKUNLE
AREMO KAYODE MICHAEL
COMRADE (BARR) FEMI ABORISADE
JULIET ISI IKHAYERE
LANRE LEGACY ADELEKE
COMRADE LEKE ADEBANJO
Ms GBADEBO OMOTAYO
MR MUIDEEN OYEWOLE
COMRADE ABIODUN AREMU
MR FAWOLE RAPHAEL
CAPTAIN OGUNBIYI ABIODUN
MR IDOGA ISAAC
OGBENI KOLAWOLE ISOLA (Represented Rt Hon Olakunle Oluomo, Speaker Ogun State House of Assembly)
TAJUDEEN O ANIMASHUN
HON KEHINDE JOSEPH (Represented Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly)
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has applauded the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for the retrieval and handing back to the management of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), 17 publicly owned vehicles that were carted away by former officials of the agency.
In responding to the development, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran stated in a press release that: “This is a fall-out of what damage Corruption has done to the psyche of many of our Civil Servants and those in authority in Nigeria. The impression is always given that ‘whatever belongs to government belongs to nobody’ and so could be stolen without fear for any consequences. The other time, it was a retired Police top brass that was reported to have willfully taken away more than 15 cars after leaving service. This was at a time the same Police force was finding it so difficult to police the country effectively due to lack of adequate patrol vehicles. Without mincing words, this is a clear act of corruption and abuse of office with impunity”.
“We therefore concur with Engineer Salisu Daura- the Director of Engineering services that represented FAAN’s Managing Director at the hand over occasion for the recovered vehicles- for expressing delight at the partnership between the agency and the ICPC. We also support his request that the anti-graft agency should intensify efforts at recovering more vehicles that have been previously carted away by former officials of (FAAN)”.
The Executive Chairman of the Centre therefore concludes: “From all of this, one could easily deduce that beyond the initial 17 vehicles of different brands taken away and recovered by ICPC, numerous other vehicles have been carted away by serving and retired officials of the agency. We therefore call for proper arraignment, prosecution and trial of the erring ex-officials to serve as a deterrent and also positively change the attitude of public employees to public property within and outside service.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has condemned the hijacking of foreign scholarships meant for brilliant young Nigerians by senior officials at the Federal Ministry of Transport. The scholarship which was provided by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), was meant to train gifted young Nigerians in railways engineering. Although the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Mr. Sabiu Zakari later issued a statement denying the availability of the scholarship, there is evidence to suggest that such denial holds no water.
In a Press Release issued by the Centre on Monday, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, stated: “Our position is always that any act of dishonesty, either by an individual or an organization is Corruption and would always have deleterious and debilitating effects on society as a whole. From available evidence, President Buhari’s Administration is desirous of resuscitating our railways system just as successive governments in Nigeria have engaged the Chinese experts in this regard for decades”.
“We are equally aware that one of such projects is to have a double-track standard gauge railway track from Lagos to Kano. This led to the CCECC approaching the transportation Ministry, informing it of its plan to sponsor a number of brilliant young and qualified Nigerians to study for bachelor’s degrees in railway engineering fully funded by the company so as to have a generation of qualified personnel for maintenance of the railway infrastructure”.
“It is therefore preposterous and primitive for senior officials of the ministry to willfully corner these scholarship offers for only the children of the high and mighty, as this is capable of encouraging mediocrity and disillusionment in the eyes of more qualified Nigerian youths being shortchanged. Such opportunities and scholarship are meant to be publicly advertised on both the print and electronic media’s while also ensuring that there is enough time for qualified candidates to apply. This odious behaviour clearly negates the fight against corruption of President Buhari’s government”.
“We therefore join other Nigerians in the call for the government and other relevant agencies to intervene and encourage openness and transparency to guide the scholarship exercise while measures are taken to guarantee that the beneficiaries would not only make maximum opportunities of this window, but that whatever knowledge and expertise garnered, are eventually converted to the overall benefit of the nation. It is thus imperative to call for the requisite deterrents to those who are found guilty of these selfish and greedy crimes after diligent investigations have been carried out”.