The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the ruling of The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos which ordered the interim forfeiture to the Federal Government the sum of N241 milion allegedly diverted from the office of the Senior Special Adviser (SSA) to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “It would be recalled that the Justice Nicholas Oweibo, who made the order, also forfeited a property linked to the diversion – Real Tower Centre Shopping Complex at Plot 1121, Ekukinam Street, Utako District, Cadastral Zone, Abuja – to the Federal Government.
The judge’s order was sequel to an ex-parte application filed and argued by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s (EFCC) counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo. Oyedepo told the judge that the N241m was warehoused in First City Monument Bank and Zenith bank in the sums of N65m, N61m, N50m and N65m.
The EFCC said its intelligence showed that the Abuja property was purchased with funds furtively diverted from SDG, office of the SSA to the President where Mr. Abdulsalam Bawa is a Principal Accountant.
The EFCC then fingered Bawa as the key suspect, adding that the diversion was perpetrated in conspiracy with some SDG members of staff. It also linked some firms, Kouchdim Unity Nigeria Limited and Lankass Global Ventures, to the diversion.
Oyedepo’s application was backed by a four-page affidavit of urgency deposed to by an EFCC operative, Ebunoluwa Amusan. Amusan averred that he was assigned to investigate the damning intelligence report received by the EFCC by some concerned citizens in respect of abuse of office, diversion of funds and monumental fraud perpetrated by some officers of the Sustainable Development Goals, Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President.
The deponent further averred that the Principal Accountant, in collaboration with other staff of the SDG, laundered and retained various sums of money through companies and individuals who made payments for the property sought to be temporarily attached.
The CACOL Chair opined that “It is lamentable that some officers of the Sustainable Development Goals, Office of the Senior Special Adviser to the President saddled with the overall implementation of the SDGs, including the timely establishment of institutional frameworks to ensure effective implementation of the Global Goals, an assignment so crucial that those in saner climes are implementing with all diligence, would allow themselves to be moved by their primitive, selfish, wicked and inordinate desire to divert and accumulate public funds”.
The anti-corruption Crusader further added “It is disheartening to note that official corruption in public spheres is fast becoming a norm in the country. One cannot single out a parastatal or MDA of government that has not been hypnotized or enmeshed in this nefarious orgy of corruption at a point in time. We must devise means to stem the tide of this series of breach of trust by government officials”.
“This is why we hail the decision of the judge, Justice Nicholas Oweibo, who ordered the interim forfeiture of the money and the properties involved in this corrupt act. We would also like to commend the legal team of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for diligent prosecution of the case. We have always opined that culprits of official corruption need to be deprived of their evil accumulations, wherever and whenever they are found out, and made to face the consequence of their acts as just deserts”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the Lagos State House of Assembly for reducing the pension of former governors of the state by 50 percent.
In a release, issued by CACOL on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Director, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “It would be recalled that the Lagos State House of Assembly, recently amended the state Pension Law for former governors and other political office holders, reducing their benefits and emoluments by 50 per cent”.
The House approved the recommendations sequel to the presentation of the report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishment, Training and Pension, Yinka Ogundimu, during plenary. Mr Ogundimu, representing Agege II, said the committee reduced their benefits and other emoluments by 50 per cent, based on the present economic situation of the state. The lawmaker added that it had expunged the provision of houses in Abuja and Lagos for former governors, as stipulated in an earlier law operated by the state. He said that the committee report presented to the House further showed a reduction in the number of vehicles to be made available to former governors and their deputies.
The speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, however, suggested that the former governors should get two vehicles (a car and a van) instead of the three recommended by the committee. Mr Obasa also said the amended bill should provide that the cars be changed every four years instead of the three years recommended by the report.
We would also recollect that Governor Sanwo-Olu while presenting the 2021 budget to the Lagos State House of Assembly last year, was quoted as saying “in light of keeping the costs of governance low and to signal selflessness in public service, we will be sending a draft executive bill to the House imminently for the repeal of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), which provides for payment of pension and other entitlements to former Governors and their Deputies”.
“We at CACOL have often posited that the continual implementation of the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007), and other such laws that gave legal backing to the payment of Pension to Ex Governors and their deputies in different states in the country was not only insensitive, but also callous and deficient in human sensibility. It is on record that some civil servants that had served their various states for over thirty years have been on the receiving end of inadequacies in the collection of their meagre Pension and Gratuities while Ex Governors and their deputies that served for a maximum of eight years are smiling to the bank. It is annoying to note that some of these former Governors are still holding public offices and still collecting salaries from the Federal Government”.
The CACOL Boss added, “As we have said earlier, the beneficiaries of this pension already had everything they enjoyed in office paid for by tax payers during their 4 or 8 years in office. They are rich enough to take care of their needs. Many are retirees from other jobs where they enjoy pensions and other benefits. It’s unfair that those who claim to serve people turn themselves to exploiters of the same people who are suffering various degrees of deprivation sometimes based on their misrule. Sometimes, when they serve twice or deputies become governor, they want to enjoy the benefits in multiples. Meanwhile those who served for more than 30 years in various government ministries and parastatals could not access their gratuity and pensions, years after serving.
Although, we commend the Lagos State House of Assembly for this bold step. The leadership of the House has demonstrated that there is an urgent need to step up the governance of the State which cannot be done without prudent fiscal responsibility. We would still recommend further reduction in the pension paid to these ex governors and their deputies. We hope other states in the country would take a cue from this noble act of Lagos State House of Assembly and amend or repeal every anti-people, anti-development and anti-progress law in their various states.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called on Commander, IGP Intelligence Response Monitoring Team, DCP Abba Kyari, to be ready to submit himself for trial.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director for Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he said, “It would be recalled that The United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California, had issued an arrest warrant against DCP Kyari for his alleged links to a suspect, Ramon Abbas, aka Hushpuppi, who is standing trial for various offences that include internet fraud and money laundering, among others. Kyari is a well-decorated Deputy Commissioner in the Nigeria Police Force. The allegation came after Hushpuppi reportedly pleaded guilty to charges of fraud in an American court”.
“While, it remains to be proven that Hushpuppi gave bribe to Mr. Abba Kyari because of his character as a fraudster, Mr Kyari should be presumed as innocent until otherwise proven. We want to call on the general public to exercise restraints in subjecting Kyari to the court of public opinion”.
“We would also advise DCP Kyari to do all within his ability to clear his name of any wrongdoing in this case. As we all know a good name is better than great riches. If it involves travelling to America, Kyari should not hesitate to do so. He should be ready to surrender himself for trial both within and outside the country.
The anti-graft Czar noted that “Our current situation as a nation demands that public officers should be seen to be above board in their dealings while on official duties. It is in this regard that we appreciate the effort of The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, who has ordered an internal review of the allegations against Kyari”.
“It is a known fact that the police in most parts of the world is an institution for which integrity and character is the watchword and no effort should be too much to be expended in uplifting the honour of the profession here in Nigeria. We hope the findings of the internal review would be made public and the already battered image of the Police would not be further denigrated”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the conviction and sentencing of a former member of the House of Representatives, Farouk Lawan, by The High Court of the Federal Capital Territory for demanding a bribe of $3m and receiving $500,000 from businessman, Femi Otedola.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Chairman of the Centre, he stated, “We would recall that in Suit No. FHC/HC/CR/76/2013, Lawan, a former House of Representatives member representing Bagwai/Shanono Federal Constituency of Kano State between 1999 and 2015 and former Chairman of the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy in 2012, was brought before the court over a $3m bribery charge filed by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission on behalf of the Federal Government”.
The prosecution had accused him of demanding bribe of $3m and obtaining $500,000 from Otedola as inducement to remove his company from the list of indicted companies before the House of Reps Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy.
Otedola, Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited, had told the court that he did not mount pressure on Lawan to remove his company’s name from the list of firms indicted for fuel subsidy fraud in 2012. Otedola said rather, Lawan, the then chairman of the ad hoc committee, got from him $500,000 out of the $3m the lawmaker demanded.
The court found Lawan guilty of the three charges against him and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment for the first count; seven years for the second count; and five years for count 3. The jail terms will run concurrently. The court also ordered him to return the $500,000 bribe. While delivering the judgment, Justice Angela Ataluka, stated that the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt and found the ex-lawmaker guilty of the charges.
The anti-corruption Czar opined that “We at CACOL, therefore, congratulate the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for a job well done and for its meticulous and diligent prosecution of this case despite the long years involved in the litigation. However, we would like to ask some fundamental questions relating to the case which are as follow:
I. What happened to the Secretary of the then House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy, Boniface Emenalor who was supposed to have been charged with Farouk Lawan as they were detained together initially? The ICPC should tell us why he is not having his day in court.
II. Does the successful “sting” operation, exonerate Femi Otedola’s Zenon Oil of culpability? We want to believe that if there was no case against his firm, the name of the firm won’t be on the list in the first place. Has the firm been exonerated or cleared by any court of law?
III. What happened to other firms and individuals that were fingered in the fuel subsidy scandal? What is their fate now? We would want the public to know”.
The Head of CACOL also added, “The law enforcement agencies should not wave Farouk Lawan’s alibi aside. His involvement in the bribery scandal could have been a frame-up after all. It could also be due to his negligence nevertheless, he is guilty as charged and we are happy that the law took its cause. For someone who headed the integrity group in the National Assembly, and earned himself the nickname “Mr. Integrity” his argument of frame up should not be dismissed and should also be investigated so as to be sure that those who are fighting corruption in the high places are not sacrificed on the altar of convenience. It is a known fact that corruption criminals are rich, powerful, influential and crookedly smart. They could create powerful networks and most of the times they can attempt to buy anything over including witnesses, evidences and even law enforcement officers and framing up someone who wants to get them to justice may not be outside their purview. So investigators should look into Lawan’s claim of alleged setup and come out with their report. This would encourage other well meaning Nigerians to be ready to come out and blow the whistle when it becomes necessary and do the needful whenever such duty keeps calling”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court’s ruling sentencing a former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB Plc, Francis Atuche, to 12 years’ imprisonment for N25.7bn fraud in the bank.
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “It would be recalled that the former bank chief, his wife, and Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, the bank’s former chief financial officer were accused of stealing and conspiring to steal N25.7 billion belonging to the bank. They were arraigned in 2011 by the EFCC before Justice Lateefa Okunnu and they pleaded not guilty.
However, Atuche and the co-defendants approached the Lagos State Court of Appeal, after about three years, to challenge their trial by the lower court for lack of jurisdiction.
In a judgment delivered in September 2016, the Lagos State Court of Appeal ordered Justice Okunnu off the trial but did not quash the charges against the defendants. The EFCC then approached the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the appellate court and order trial in the matter.
After listening to the EFCC’s counsel, the apex court directed that the case be returned to Justice Okunnu for continuation of trial.
Atuche and his wife returned to Justice Okunnu with Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), who prosecuted the case on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission opposing Atuche’s contention that the funds in dispute were loaned, not stolen. But the judge agreed with Pinheiro and held that since the money belonged to the bank, it was capable of being stolen.
The Judge subsequently sentenced Francis Atuche and Ugo Anyanwu, to twelve years and ten years in prison respectively.
The CACOL Chair opined that “Just like most other critical sectors of Nigeria’s economy, our Banking system was so compromised and despoiled to the extent that many of the senior cadre workers in the sector were looting and engaging in ludicrous speculative and dubious transactions for personal enrichment at the risk of ordinary depositors’ money. Whereas, in saner climes, the banking industry is pivotal in transforming the domestic economy and migrate it from subsistence to tertiary and advanced productivity by studying, underwriting and financing such advanced migration, what do we find here? Our banking gurus simply collect depositors’ funds, running into billions and use it to advance their individual and group’s business interests without recourse to laid-down procedures”.
The anti-corruption Crusader further added “Corruption in the corporate sphere is as fatal, calamitous and disastrous as that of the public sector. It discourages investments and contributes to the collapse of the economy. This is why we hail the decision of the judge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu to sentence the accused after taking into consideration the enormous amount involved in the humongous heist perpetrated by the accused”.
“We have always opined that culprits of official corruption need to be deprived of their evil accumulations, wherever and whenever they are found out, and made to face the consequence of their acts as just deserts”.
Tola Oresanwo (Mr.)
Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called for the probe of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami for his alleged stalling of the recovery of $60bn stashed in the United States.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “The allegation made by The Prosecutor, Special Presidential Panel on Asset Recovery (SPPAR), Tosin Ojaomo, of how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly stashed $60 billion of public funds in the United States and how the efforts by the panel to recover the funds were reportedly frustrated by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, is quite revealing.
Ojaomo, made the revelation while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on the Probe of Recovered Looted Funds and Assets of Government. The Prosecutor, made stunning revelations of how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly stashed $60 billion of public funds in the United States. He lamented that efforts by the panel to recover the funds were reportedly frustrated by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, whom he claimed retrieved the case file from the body.
The CACOL Boss opined that, “A situation whereby the person who is supposed to be the Chief Law Officer of the country is being accused of working against the interest of the same country he vowed to protect its constitution is disheartening. The fact that a Minister of Justice can easily subvert the course of justice by manipulating the agencies under his Ministry is not encouraging in a democratic dispensation like ours”.
“It would be recalled that CACOL with some other non-governmental organizations working on issues of transparency and accountability in Nigeria wrote Mr. president in August, 2020 to request him to use his good offices and leadership to urgently ensure accountability in the corruption and mismanagement investigations at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and the allegations of mismanagement of recovered stolen assets in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). In that letter it was expressly stated that Mr. President should “Consider immediate investigation of the role of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Malami, in the fight against corruption, particularly his role in the alleged nolle prosequi entered in many high-profile corruption cases, alleged obstruction of requests for assistance in corruption investigation from international partners, alleged sale of forfeited oil vessel by the AGF through suspects under trial and his role in the alleged payment of the suspicious legal fees for the return of $321million to Nigeria by the Swiss government”.
Also, in a petition to the President by Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) of which CACOL is an active member, titled CALL TO ACTION – COMPILATION OF CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AND ABUSE OF OFFICE AGAINST THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE – MR. ABUBAKAR MALAMI (SAN), several allegations of corruption and abuse of office against the current Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.(SAN) were detailed in that petition.
The Head of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran, further stated that, “Just as been noted elsewhere, in discharging their responsibilities to the people, any governmental official, whether at the legislative, judiciary or Executive arm, would do well to adhere to international best practices and Nigerian 1999 constitution (as amended) which in no small measure sets clear ethical standards that must guide our public office holders, in discharging their responsibilities to the people. We want to believe that the recent revelation by The Prosecutor, Special Presidential Panel on Asset Recovery (SPPAR), Tosin Ojaomo, will not be swept under the carpet like other ones in the past. We call on the various anti-graft agencies to look into this allegation and take necessary steps to prosecute the minister if found wanton”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Senate in its bid to probe revenues being remitted by the MDAs between 2014 and 2020 and the payment of one per cent stamp duty on all contracts awarded by the MDAs within the same period.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We were flabbergasted with the news that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) are yet to remit over N2 trillion to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF) of the Federal Government between 2014 and 2020. This disclosure was made by Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC- Lagos), in a statement by Kayode Odunaro, his Media Adviser recently”.
The senator spoke on the heels of the ongoing investigation of remittances of revenue by MDAs and payment of 1 percent stamp duty on contracts between 2014 and 2020. Adeola was quoted as saying “the unremitted revenue may have been trapped with the MDAs or spent on frivolous expenditures. He said this is contrary to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FRA) 2007. He said the minister, director general, budget office, and the Accountant General of the Federation, were invited to speak on the unremitted funds which was revealed from investigations of the committee. The investigation has so far revealed that many agencies were involved in illegalities relating to expenditure of funds that should be remitted into Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF)”.
The anti-corruption Czar opined that “We have said it over and over again that it is disheartening and demoralizing how most of the MDAs flagrantly disregard the directives of the National Assembly and the country’s Auditor-General (AuGF) on submission of audited accounts for necessary vetting and scrutiny because there is a lacuna in our Constitution that has made it expedient for them to tactically evade such order with no fear of backlash or any sanction whatsoever for such impunity.
The CACOL Boss further enthused, “We want to commend the Senate Committee on Finance for investigating and bringing this issue to public knowledge. Over the years, we have been at the forefront of championing calls for the legislature to take full charge of their oversight functions especially in situations where public funds were misappropriated. With the advancement in technology today, most of the looting or financial manipulations would be effectively prevented and detected ab initio if we focused more on prevention and greater accountability and independence of organs saddled with oversight and embrace e-governance as a matter of urgency.
“We at CACOL, would like to recommend that henceforth Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that fail to remit their funds to the federation account should not receive appropriation in subsequent year’s budget and the various Anti-Corruption agencies in the country should be called upon to investigate the whereabouts of the money in question and any official(s) found wanton should be prosecuted or make to face the full wrath of the law to serve as necessary deterrent”.
“This is no doubt, in line with our previous calls for the audit law and other useful legislation that are already begging for speedy consideration and passage in the National Assembly for ages to be accorded due attention so that the fight against official corruption could become a thing of the past in the country”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has bemoaned the spate of insecurity in the country and call on the government to rise to the occasion and ensure the security of lives and properties of Nigerians.
In a release issued by its Director, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran he stated, “In the last couple of weeks the spate of insecurity in the land had been on the increase. We are daily been faced with gory sights of hapless Nigerian being either killed or kidnapped in various parts of the country”.
This week alone, there have been multiple attacks on lives and properties in the country which claimed at least 15 cops, five soldiers, and 20 civilians. This was apart from the killing of abducted students of Greenfield University in Kaduna, amongst other callousness freely exhibited by either terrorists or bandits in different parts of the country.
From all indications, it could be noticed that there is gross darkness in the land when it comes to security of lives and properties in the country today. From the north to the east the story is the same. There is virtually no safe haven when it comes to security in the country today.
Since the unfortunate outbreak of insurgency in the country, which has since risen to astronomical level Nigerians of different hues and shades have expressed one form of disenchantment or the other as it concerns their fears over the state of helplessness and insecurity that have pervaded the land. It is noteworthy that, many Nigerians including senators and governors have been calling on the President, to seek foreign help to put a stop to the ceaseless bloodshed and kidnappings nationwide.
The Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, his Niger State counterpart, Sani Bello and Samuel Ortom of Benue State, in separate interviews warned that insecurity in the country was getting out of control. The governors, therefore, urged the Federal Government to act fast as 21 people were killed across the country.
The insecurity in Niger State was brought to the fore at the Senate on Tuesday as Senator Musa in his motion corroborated the governor’s statement, saying many communities in the state were under the control of Boko Haram. He said, “About 42 communities across the two local government areas of Shiroro and Munya have so far fallen under the Boko Haram control with about 5,000 villagers already displaced in the last three days. They have kidnapped many and their wives seized from them and forcefully attached to Boko Haram members”.
“This is why CACOL, as a civil society organization is lending its voice to the call on the President who incidentally is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces to fully take charge of the appalling security situation in the country. The primary responsibility of government is to secure the lives and properties of its citizens and the President cannot shy away from this responsibility. The whole security architecture of the country should be rejig and if need be, the President should not be too arrogant to seek foreign help who can assist with the needed personnel and technological knowhow needed to fight this seemingly insurmountable battle.
The CACOL Boss added, “The current security challenge being faced by the country, though sad and unfortunate, is one burden too heavy to bear by the people who are already confronted with dilapidated social infrastructures, power outage, low disposable income and corruption in high places. It therefore offers us an another opportunity to refocus this nation and salvage it from its age-long path to perdition that makes its teeming population to hibernate between hopelessness and disillusionment, thereby jeopardizing a fulfillment of its remarkable possibilities that should make it take its rightful place amongst nations.”
President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Villa, 3 Arms Zone
Garki – Abuja
Federal Republic of Nigeria
We have observed keenly the events of past weeks concerning the allegations levelled against the incumbent Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami. We have tried as much as possible to listen to arguments in favour of and against his sack as a Minister of the Federal Republic.
It is in view of the foregoing that we have taken a position on the matter based on the various allegations as stated below:
ü In April 2021, a publication by an online media company linked Pantami to the then leader of Boko Haram, Mohammed Yusuf as allies, and that Pantami has been listed by the American Government under its terrorist watch list.
ü There are series of audio and video messages of Pantami, which has gone viral on social media, in which he publicly supported the activities of Taliban and Al-Qaida.
ü There has been a steady stream of new evidence of the views he held in the past and the latest are documents that appeared online recently. The documents are purportedly from a 2010 meeting he chaired at the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), a top Islamic body, where it was agreed that Christians should be prohibited from building churches in city centres across northern Nigeria, which has a majority Muslim population although millions of Christians also live there.
ü Among other things, he also said, “Oh God, give victory to the Taliban and to al-Qaeda,” and, “This jihad is an obligation for every single believer, especially in Nigeria.” In another, he reportedly endorsed the killing of “unbelievers.”
ü In a 2006 speech, Mr Pantami publicly offered his condolences after the death of al-Qaeda’s leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
ü In one audio clip, where he talks about the Nigerian army’s war against Boko Haram, he appears to be on the verge of tears as he passionately describes the militants as “our Muslim brothers” who did not deserve to be “killed like pigs”.
ü In another audio recording, he declares he is always happy when infidels are massacred.
ü Audio and video recordings have also emerged of Mr Pantami’s fiery prayers and sermons at different stages of his career as an imam. In one sermon he volunteered to lead a force of the Sharia police, Hisbah, to Shendam in Plateau state, where there had been a deadly religious conflict, to fight in defence of the Muslims. So many more extremist views have been attributed to Pantami.
He has not denied the authenticity of these texts, audio and video clips. In his defence, Pantami argues that he has repented; that he erred as an innocent youth.
After the backlash and calls for his resignation continued, Pantami disavowed the statements on April 17, saying “some of the comments I made some years ago that are generating controversies now were based on my understanding of religious issues at the time, and I have changed several positions taken in the past based on new evidence and maturity.”
Mr. President, we wish to state unequivocally that the fact that Pantami has developed the level of orientation that made him uttered those grievous words and statements as stated above, cannot be wished away by mere recanting which some people in your cabinet are claiming he has done.
Ideological issues are ingrained in the mind of those who pursue it. Even when they denounce it they are not to be trusted because they can always go back to that conviction that led them into accepting that extremism and for somebody who has said that people should be killed and that he is happy when he sees that and who has supported terrorists in the past, we want to believe that it cannot get out of his mind so easily.
Moreover, due to the sensitiveness of the Ministry that he is supervising, he can provide information about anybody to the terrorists, because terrorists don’t work with their foot soldiers alone, they also work with those who pretend to be part and parcel of the decent society and Patami can be some of those conduit pipe through which information are streamed to them.
Furthermore, in the area of the security system, the ministry also could have a link with the way security communication are being organised and deployed and Pantami could sabotage the process by facilitating access to the terrorists to kind of jam the communication system of the military and other security agencies in the country.
Your Excellency, we are of the opinion that Pantami is a dangerous person that ought not to be a minister of the Federal Republic if all the agencies of government that screened ministerial nominees including the Senate and the State Security Service carried out their due diligence before he was sworn in as a Minister.
A situation whereby the Senate would ask a Ministerial Nominee to take a bow showed the level of mediocrity among those in government considering the fact that governance is a serious administrative endeavour guided by international best practices. He is indeed one of the tares sown by the enemies of the country in your cabinet when Your Excellency was asleep. His continued presence in your cabinet is like leaving a venomous snake under the bed and someone goes to sleep or leaving a spark of fire on the roof and someone goes to sleep. He is dangerous to the peace and security of Nigeria, he is a security risk to the nation. Even if he has denounced his extremist orientation, our mind would only be at rest if he is removed.
Therefore, we are aligning with calls on your office to immediately swing into action by removing and sacking Isa Pantami as Minister of Communication and Digital Economy now and also ask the Department of State Services to investigate him!
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has made its support known to the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu led administration in Lagos State for signing the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2021 into law.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of the Chairman of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “We observed with keen interest the fulfillment of one of his promises made to the good people of the state during his inauguration as the Governor of Lagos state, by Babajide Sanwo-Olu, whereby he insisted his administration would be accountable and responsible for the appropriation of the state’s resources. To make good his promise, the governor signed a law creating the new anti graft body on Monday, several days after Lagos’ parliament approved the bill”.
The governor was quoted as saying “the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission Law, 2021, showed the state government’s effort towards entrenching accountability in governance. The bill establishing Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission is important legislation critical to the delivery of quality services to the citizens. When we came in, we said we would be accountable and responsible for the appropriation of the state’s resources. We want to stand in front of the citizens to give an account of how public funds are being spent. To give credence to this promise, the executive arm initiated the bill and sent it to the Assembly for approval. We believe that this law would not only ensure accountability of public funds, but also promote dialogue among public officers to keep the trust of the people in the discharge of their duties in line with transparency. The anti-corruption commission will ensure that all approved activities are implemented in accordance with budgetary allocation.”
The anti-corruption Czar said “Against this background, we could see how the Anti corruption Commission would be the ‘brainbox’ or engine room of the state government in the fight against corruption in the state, especially as they relate to government and public officials and CACOL, as an anti-corruption group with its component organizations would solidly lend its unalloyed support in this patriotic duty, as the entire world focus on the nation to overcome the destructive ogre of corruption within the shortest time possible.”
“We at CACOL have been a frontline campaigner against corruption in Lagos State in particular and the nation in general. Our publication ‘Lagos Open parliament’ (LOP) now in its seventh series is been used as an evaluation of the level of budget implementation with regard to infrastructural development in Lagos State from time to time”.
The CACOL Boss added, “We will like to commend the Sanwo-Olu led administration in Lagos state for taking this bold step aimed at curbing corruption in government in the state. We hope the anti-corruption commission would be independent, autonomous, self-governing, unbiased and will not be an appendage of the Executive arm of the state government in the discharge of its statutory duties. We also believed the state government would give the commission all the needed financial, human and material support in order for the commission to succeed”.
“We also hope the new anti-graft agency would intensify efforts in tracking, investigation, arraignment and effective prosecution of all corrupt officials to avert a situation whereby the court would be left with no other choice than to order the release of a corrupt public officials, for lack of proper prosecution or perpetual detention without trial”, he added.