Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC)
No. 5, Fomella Street, Off AdetokunboAdemola Crescent,
We would like to start by congratulating you on your appointment as the Chairman of EFCC though we were not convinced enough with your explanations and self defense on the floor of the House concerning the various allegations leveled against you. It would have made a lot of sense if an independent body like ICPC has investigated the allegations and come up with their unbiased report thereby clearing you of all the allegations.
Nevertheless, if members of the Upper House of the Senate Chamber have found you worthy to lead the Anti-Corruption agency, we are left with no other choice than to work with you in a bid to stamp out corruption from our great country, Nigeria.
As the new Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Agency, we would like you to work assiduously and surpass the achievements of your predecessors in the following areas:
1. Investigation of corruption cases without fear or favour
2. Staff training and retraining
3. Protection of EFCC officials especially those on the field
4. Speedy investigation and prosecution of corruption cases in competent court of law
5. Ensure that the dichotomy between the police-trained personnel and the EFCC-trained personnel is removed because it could lead to a rebellion within the commission
6. Normalize the working relationships between staffers and ensure all staffers are adequately motivated so that they can put in their very best.
7. Be transparent and accountable in all your dealings and operations.
8. Ensure that investigations are thorough and investigators should be protected and insured.
9. Work in synergy with other anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies.
10. Be firm when dealing with politicians. Desist from pandering to the dictates of godfathers, especially the office of the Minister of Justice, because in most cases that is where the problem of the EFCC chairman begins.
11. You should also avoid favouritism in the posting of officers so that they would have a sense of belonging and you should try as much as possible not allow nepotism to becloud your sense of judgment.
12. Speedy investigation of petitions with adequate feedback forwarded to the petitioner(s). We are particularly concerned about this because till today we have not received any feedback from your Agency on all the petitions sent to the Agency in the past. We are still at limbo concerning our petitions on Diezani Alison-Madueke, James Ibori and Mohammed Bello Adoke to mention but a few. It is interesting to note that while we as the Petitioner were not given any feedback on our petition against the former President, OlusegunObasanjo, we were able to read about the petition in his book ‘My watch’ where he made derogatory comments about our efforts aimed at exposing corruption cases.
Diezani K. Alison-Madueke (born 6 December 1960) is a Nigerian politician and the first female President of OPEC…
We believe you know how endemic corruption has stagnated the glorious destiny of this great country and how it has retarded the growth and development of the country. It is worthy of note that available records and statistics have pointed out that over USD500bn (Five Hundred Billion Dollars) have been syphoned or laundered as economic crimes in Nigeria between our independence as a nation in 1960 and 2018. You could then imagine what social services and infrastructure could have been provided were such colossal sums not pilfered by those entrusted with public services.
We would want to advise you to be firm and avoid unwholesome baits by corrupt elements, including politicians, whom you will always come across in the cause of your new assignment. We would also implore you to steer clear of mouthwatering offers from those who are already under investigation, prosecution or those who have the potential to commit financial crimes.
Moreover, we urge you not to disappointing the army of Nigerian youths that have been looking for younger persons to occupy position of responsibility. You should prove to them that you can do far better than the old folks even though some of us believe that experience never runs out of fashion.
Though it sounds mundane, the past chairmen of EFCC had been Northern Muslims and Mr. President has been arrogantly defiant by appointing you, another Northern Muslim, we believe you cannot afford to embarrass the President because he had risked all he could by giving you the opportunity to serve in this exalted position.
Finally, we urge you to build on the good legacies laid by your predecessors and try as much as possible to surpass them thereby etching your name with gold on the sands of time.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), is an aggregate of human rights, community based, and civil society organizations and individuals with an anti-corruption and openness in governance agenda across Nigeria. It is a non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian and non-profit organization registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
We have been watching as events unfold since the suspension of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
However, we are disturbed by the recent development in which Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa was announced by the Presidency as the new head of the anti-corruption agency.
We are therefore constrained at this point in time to bring to your attention our critical reaction to the nomination of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Chairman of EFCC.
While recognizing the President’s constitutional prerogative and right to make appointments in accordance with Paragraph 2(3) of Part 1, CAP E1 of EFCC Act 2004, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership considers it a service to the nation, by providing information that might be helpful to your ratification in that regard.
We would like the hallowed chamber of the Senate to note the following contradictions before screening the newly nominated chairman of the EFCC:
A. The Chairman Designate was alleged to have diverted 224 forfeited trucks while he was the Port Harcourt zonal head of the commission.
B. He was also alleged to have been involved in oil theft sometime in the past.
C. Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa is also rumored to be a cousin to Abubakar Malami, the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation who traduced Ibrahim Magu (the suspended Chairman of EFCC).
D. According to EFCC Establishment Act, Section 2a (ii) the Chairman to be appointed should: “be a serving or retired member of any security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent”. Such equivalence in the EFCC is Grade Level 15, while Bawa is on Grade Level 13.
E. The EFCC Law is an Act of National Assembly hence Senate must not over rule itself by breaching a critical provision in the appointment of EFCC Chairman.
F. Since Mr. Ibrahim Magu was suspended and not sacked, we expect the Presidency to come out with a white paper on Justice Ayo Salami’s panel set up in July 2020 to investigate various allegations of wrongdoing against Ibrahim Magu. The panel had since submitted its report to the President on November 20, 2020. Till date, we are still expecting a white paper on the recommendations of the panel. We would also want to know the fate of Ibrahim Magu.
G. From inception of EFCC, the story of the termination of the appointment of virtually all the former heads of the agency seem to be the same. It looks like the position is fast becoming a “use and dump” position wherein the end of the tenure has been determined from the beginning.
It is gratifying that President Muhammadu Buhari, at various fora, having recognized the need to tackle corruption head-on, one would have expect him to appoint a person of impeccable character to head the anti-corruption agency.
It is against this background that CACOL is appealing to the Senate to please take the pains to dig deep into Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa’s record of overall performance as well as that of corruption allegation leveled against him.
Howbeit, if the rumour making wave in some quarters, which has also been confirmed by some sections of the media is anything to go by, we would say Nigerians’ hope for a corruption free society has been dashed with the nomination of Mr. Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Chairman of The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Going by our corporate policy, CACOL ordinarily does not react to speculations but given the grave implication of having to keep quiet, only to speak up after such appointment must have been ratified, would only amount to crying over spilt milk, we deem it necessary to use this medium to sensitize you on this development.
It would be noted that CACOL never shirked its basic responsibility of blowing the whistle on issues centering on corruption in whatever form or guise in governance. We have been doing this and we will continue to do it until we have a corruption free society of our dream which we will all be proud of.
We must state here that we are not out to witch-hunt anyone; rather we are only serving as the voice of the voiceless and of course, the whistle-blower.
We also would like to sensitize you to the spill-over impact that mass protests and petitions from relevant quarters that might trail such appointment if eventually made, may have on this esteemed administration; this is why we consider it pertinent for you to do the needful by engaging in the necessary in-house cleaning ahead of the exercise.
We and other well-meaning Nigerians wish this administration success in your quest to bring about that comprehensive change that we have all been yearning for.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received with sympathy and much grief, the death of Alhaji LateefKayodeJakande a journalist par excellence and the first Executive Governor of Lagos State whose sad event occurred on the 11th of February 2021.
In a release issued on behalf of the Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by Mr. TolaOresanwo, the Organisation’s Director of Administration and Programmes, he said “We remembered vividly how Alhaji LateefKayodeJakande was encouraged by late Chief ObafemiAwolowo, to contest for gubernatorial election in Lagos State in 1979, on the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) platform. He defeated his opponents, Adeniran Ogunsanya of Nigeria People’s Party (NPP) and Sultan LadegaAdeniji Adele of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and was subsequently sworn in as the first Executive Governor of Lagos State”.
His administration was effective and open and implemented the cardinal policies of his party. He introduced housing and educational programs targeting the poor, building new neighbourhood primary and secondary schools and providing free primary and secondary education. He also established the Lagos State University.
Jakande’s government constructed over 30,000 housing units. The schools and housing units were built cheaply, but were of great value. Some of the housing units include low cost estates in Amuwo-Odofin, Ijaiye, Dolphin, Oke-Afa, Ije, Abesan, Iponri, Ipaja, Abule Nla, Epe, Anikantamo, Surulere, Iba, Ikorodu, Badagry.
“We cannot forget in a hurry how as governor, late Alhaji Jakande kept a low profile and remained frugal in his lifestyle. He lived throughout in his personal house which he had built in the Ilupeju area of Lagos long before he became governor. He also continued to use his personal car”.
He withdrew his children from private schools and enrolled them at public schools at a time political opponents derided his free education programme as eroding the quality of education in the schools. Within the four years and three months of his governorship, MrJakande laid the foundation for Lagos’ transition into a mega city.
“All these and many more are no doubt, living testimony to his unparalleled legacy that propelled us, at CACOL, to have recognized him with the CACOL’s Integrity Award as a ‘Symbol of Integrity’ back in 2013. That eloquently speaks to his leadership ability, even outside office”.
Though he was buried the following day, Friday, February 12, 2021 (according to Islamic rites) at the Vaults and Garden Cemetery, Ikoyi, in Lagos state, his memory will linger on for generations to come by all privileged to know him or any of the family members; thus further confirming the Yorubas’ saying that, “DidunniIrantiOlododo”, literally meaning the ‘The Just and Virtuous remain Evergreen in our memory”. No doubt, ‘Baba Kekere’ as he was fondly called lived a most virtuous, selfless and remarkable life that is worthy of emulation by all would be politicians.
“We also want to use thismedium to suggest to Lagos State Government, to immediately effect a change of the present name of the Lagos State University (LASU) to LateefJakande University (LAJU) as a mark of honourfor him, to appreciate his lasting legacies bequeathed to the state and to keep his memory alive in the minds of the coming generation”.
“It is therefore, our utmost prayer that his legacy and footprints would remain a reference point, worthy of emulation by all as Nigeria gropes for a new dawn in its search for true nationhood. We also pray for the required fortitude and composure to bear his irreversible transition to eternity. Death, as we all surmise, remains an inevitable end of all; but our solace and comfort remains in the fact that he lived a worthy and remarkable life”.
On this occasion of the 15th BEKO MEMORIAL ANNIVERSARY, The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) and The Beko Rights Klub (BRK) pays our homage to his heroic feats in the struggle for freedom, equity and socio-political and economic justice.
BekoRansome-Kuti was a foremost pro-democracy revolutionary activist who dared all the odds to play several roles in the leadership of the struggles of the oppressed peoples of Nigeria for social emancipation. Beko as popularly called did not only exemplify professionalism as Chairman of Nigerian Medical Association, (NMA), Lagos, his monumental contributions to the ousting of military rule, the enthronement and deepening of democracy remain epochal and serve as sources of inspiration to us today.
In remembrance of BekoRansome-Kuti, The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) and the Beko Rights Klub (BRK) has been marking anniversary of his demise. The theme of this year’s occasion is very apt given that the spate of insecurity in the country has worsened and the economic condition of the country is not faring better.
Presently, Nigeria is confronted by multiple security challenges, notably the resilient Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in the North-East, long-running discontent and militancy in the Niger Delta, increasing violence between herders and farming communities spreading from the central belt southward down to the South-East and South-Western parts of the country, and separatist Biafra agitation in the Igbo South-East. While focusing on the insurgencies in the North-East, Nigeria’s government paid little attention to the deteriorating situation in the North-West, where armed gangs continually killed and maimed innocent farmers and community dwellers. Government soldiers also kill civilians indiscriminately and the Police are notorious for extrajudicial murder.
Violence, particularly by the Boko Haram insurgency, has displaced more than two million people, created a massive humanitarian crisis, and prompted the rise of civilian vigilante self-defence groups that pose new policy dilemmas and possible security risks.Security forces also have to contend with vast, ungoverned territories that they do not know, but which are familiar ground to the criminal gangs and insurgents living there.The different regions in the country are now coming up with various security networks to curb the rising cases of insecurity in their domains. These showthe failure of the Central government to protect the lives and properties of the citizens of the country.
Section 33(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (CFRN), 1999, provides that “every person has a right to life, and no one shall be de- prived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria”. This is not the case in our present day Nigeria as people are being killed daily, blood are being shed, precious lives are being lost and there is wanton destruction of properties on a daily basis in different parts of the country.
From the look of things, the country is fast turning to aHobbessian state of nature where life is said to be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short”.
The country’s economy is currently in a bad shape. Our currency, the Naira is very weak compared to other notable currencies around the world. The gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening without concrete steps being taken by the government to amend the grossly imbalanced socio-economic equation. Our youth are busy engaging in illicit online deals while some of them that cannot engage in such deals often embark on dangerous journeys which involves travelling through the desert and on the high seas while desperately searching for greener pastures abroad. Although Chapter 2 of the Nigeria constitution stipulates that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government, this is not the reality in our present day Nigeria!
Furthermore, the constitution requires the government to harness the resources of the nation and promote national prosperity and an efficient, dynamic and self-reliant economy; control the national economy in such manner as to secure the maximum welfare, freedom and happiness of every citizen on the basis of social justice and equality of status and opportunity.However, the reality today is that socio-economic rights; rights to housing, education, health services etc. which are core components of democracy are glaringly out of the reach of an average Nigerian.
The persistent calls for restructuring have remained because of the failure of government to ensure security of lives and property in the society on the one hand and socio-economic equality on the other. This has orchestrated numerous violent outbursts, armed banditry, kidnappings, assassinations, Niger-Delta/regional uprising, Boko Haram and Herdsmen belligerences.
The economic practice of neo-liberalism that has continued to be imposed on country by successive governments is antithetical to democracy given that it has only succeeded in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The Bretton Woods institution dictated neo-liberal policies which have failed almost in every country it had been imbibed must be abandoned to achieve a socio-economically harmonious existence of the people.
The government of the day must put on its thinking cap and come up with a lasting solution to the security challenges being faced by the country. The whole security architecture of the Country must be rejig. Government must ensure that rampant corruption which prevents the funds allocated to the troops on the ground from getting to them must be checked.
It’s high time Nigerians wake up from their slumber and invigorate the struggles for social emancipation holistically because the present status quo will perpetually ensure penury in their lives if the system is not overhauled and replaced with a more humane one that would guarantee the social welfare and security of lives and properties. Today, if Beko was to be alive, he shall definitely lead the campaign for the security of lives and properties and socio-economic rights of all and sundry, not engaging in the frivolities and inanities of the present political jobbers.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has made its support known to the Governor Adegboyega Oyetola led administration in Osun state for approving the reconstruction of 22 roads across the three senatorial districts in the state, in fulfillment of his campaign promises.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director for Administration and Programmes, Mr. TolaOresanwo, on behalf of the Chairman of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “We observed with keen interest the fulfillment of one of Governor Adegboyega Oyetola’scampaign promises made to the electorate during his campaign for the gubernatorial seat in Osun state, whereby he promised to improve accessibility to communities and open up economic activities across the state”.
“It would be recalled that in a statement by the State’s Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation, MrsFunkeEgbemode, ‘the government, after the State Executive Council meeting on Monday, said it was committed to laying a strong foundation of infrastructural developments towards bringing economic growth and prosperity to the state.The council, with the strategic intent to open up economic growth and activities and bring governance and development to the people, has approved the reconstruction of 22 roads across three senatorial districts, some of which had not been rehabilitated in about three decades’.
”Some of the roads meant for reconstruction or rehabilitation include: Olufi marker-Oke Church-Adenuga junction- Trumpet Bridge Gbongan; Kuta Palace Road junction- Isale Oba/Asamu junction road; Gof junction – Florentina junction along OriOke Pure Water, Osogbo; Nike Gallery- Ido Osun township- Airport road with Palace spur, Ido Osun; Iloro- Aganu- Division C Police headquarters, Ile Ife; Ikirun- EkoEnde road; First Bank- Ajegunle- Osogbo-Ikirun road with spur to Dugbe Police station, Osogbo; Ila (TafaBalogun junction)- Arandun Road, Ila; Ilobu Palace road- Erin Osun- Egbedi- Iwo/Osogbo junction; Halleluyah Estate Road- NiyiIbikunle Plantation, Osogbo”.
“Others include: Inisa Township road; AdedapoAdegoke- All Soul Anglican Church with spur to Oyebamiji Street, Oroki Estate; AkedeIyaloja junction- Amulegbaro- Ojege Community road, Osogbo; Odeyinka- Ikire; Idominasi- Ikinyinwa- Ibokun- Ada with spur to Ilase; Ileogbo- Gbongan; Oyan- OtanAyegbaju; Iresi- OtanAyegbaju; Iperindo- IpetuIjesha; Ejigbo- Ife Odan- Owu Ile; Federal Poly Road through Palace, Ede; and Ifewara- Faforiji road.
Late last year, the governor commissioned the 20km Ejigbo-Ara-Ojo-Ede (Ara junction) road and also flagged off the reconstruction of the 3.8km Ejigbo township roads. He also commissioned the newly reconstructed Ede OkeGada to Barracks Junction & Barracks Junction to Ara Junction roads.
We would also recall that the government recently announced its intention to construct a flyover across the Fakunle-Olaiya, OdiOlowo-Olaiya, Akindeko-Olaiya and MDS-Olaiya intersections as part of measures to address traffic and safety issues in the axis.
According to Governor Oyetola: “The Olaiya flyover is meant to take care of the traffic bottleneck around that intersection. There have been several accidents around there over the years, some of them fatal. So, to prevent the frequency of accident, we are proposing this interchange at the Olaiya intersection”.
“We want to use this opportunity to commend the Government of the State of Osun for the giant strides it is taking in the area of infrastructural development. The importance of good roads to the general wellbeing of our people cannot be overemphasized. Since majority of the people of Osun state are farmers, it is imperative and germane that accessible roads be provided for them so that they will be able to transport their crops some of which are perishable from their farms to the major towns where quality monetary value can be placed on these crops thereby providing sustainable source of livelihoods to the farmers”
The CACOL Boss added, “with the renewed vigourthe Adegboyega Oyetola led government of Osun state is going on with the rehabilitation and reconstruction of roads in the state, it has demonstrated that it is ready and willing to fulfill the social contract it signed with the good people of Osun state. The governor and his team have exhibited their determination to continue to build on the good foundation laid by his predecessor OgbeniRaufAregbesola when he was at the helm of affairs at the state”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for securing from The Federal High Court, Abuja, a final forfeiture order of over $669,000 in two bank accounts linked to Abdulaziz Yari, former governor of Zamfara state.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Chairman of the Centre, he stated, “The ICPC had instituted a suit, praying the court for the former governor to show cause why the money under investigation should not be forfeited to the federal government.
The anti-graft agency had alleged that the funds were proceeds of unlawful activity. It accused Mr. Yari of illegally taking the money from the state’s coffers while he was governor. According to the commission, the victim of the alleged crime is the Zamfara government and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria and innocent taxpayers which include judges of courts across Nigeria. It alleged that the former governor used the two companies to launder money in the state account.
While Mr Yari was the first respondent in the suit, his two companies; Kayatawa Nigeria Ltd and B. T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Ltd were second and third respondents respectively. Justice Taiwo Taiwo had, on August 16, 2019, granted the order for interim forfeiture of the assets in an exparte motion brought by the commission’s lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha. Justice Taiwo also ordered the ICPC to publish same in national dailies for any interested party to show cause why the money should not be finally forfeited to the Federal Government.
Delivering judgment on Tuesday, Ijeoma Ojukwu, the judge, held that Yari could not prove how he earned the money. “There is nothing wrong in having huge sums of money in one’s account, but what the law requires is that such proceeds should emanate from legitimate sources or businesses. The respondents, who have been given the opportunity to tell their story, have failed to provide evidence for such legitimate income. The respondents have not countered the case and facts presented by the applicants. The respondents having failed to establish the legitimate source of the monies as stated in this case, this honorable court hereby makes an order of final forfeiture of the money domiciled in Zenith and Polaris Banks” Ojukwu said.
All this was after a painstaking, diligent and thorough investigation, coupled with brilliant prosecution by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
In our earlier press release dated 24th September, 2020, we called on anti-corruption agencies to immediately commence necessary investigation of former governor of Zamfara State, Alhaji Abdulaziz Abubakar Yari for alleged unlawful diversion of a whooping sum of N37.4 billion naira, being a refund from the federal government for the funds used by the former administration in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of 14 federal roads in the state.
“We at CACOL, therefore, congratulate the ICPC for its meticulous and diligent prosecution of this high-brow corruption issue. This is a complete deviation from the past when it used to be catalogue of losses of such cases. We are delighted that, nowadays, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), seem to have learnt the rope by employing very competent lawyers and enforcing due diligence in investigation and prosecutorial departments before arraigning suspects in courts. This is a very laudable and cheering development, considering the multiplier and damaging effects of every strand of corruption case(s) lost to those the country reposed so much trust in and the betrayal they used in repaying such trust.
The Head of CACOL added, “The ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria deserve the commendation and appreciation of all patriotic Nigerians for their resoluteness and doggedness in stamping out corruption from our land. Every citizen of this great country should make it a point of duty to cooperate with the government in its bid to eliminate this cankerworm from our national fabric.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has given a pat on the back to the President MuhammaduBuhari for appointingformer Governor of Lagos and Borno state, Brigadier-General Mohammed BubaMarwa (Retd) as the Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
In a release, issued by CACOL on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Director, Administration and Programmes Mr. TolaOresanwo, he stated, “We would recollect that the President recently appointed Brigadier-General Mohammed BubaMarwa (Retd) as the Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). Marwa, whose appointment is with immediate effect, takes over from Alhaji Mohammed Mustapha Abdallah, who was appointed NDLEA Chairman by President Buhari on January 11, 2016.
His appointment is coming on the heels of recent hue and cry by some Officers of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), under the auspices of Concerned Officers of NDLEA, urging President MuhammaduBuhari to appoint a competent chairman for the agency after the expiration of the tenure of the immediate past Chairman, Mustapha Abdallah. In the letter titled: ‘NDLEA officers urge Buhari to appoint a competent Chairman, tell Abdallah your time is up’, the workers listed administrative negligence, non-promotion of officers, a report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, unending recruitment, among others as reasons why the outgoing chairman’s tenure should quickly come to an end.
We at CACOLare therefore elated to hear the news of the appointment of Brigadier-General Mohammed BubaMarwa (Retd) as the Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). We congratulate him as he heeds the clarion call to head the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA).
We were not surprised at the news yesterday that the new Chairman/CEO of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Gen. Mohammed BubaMarwa, (Retd) gave Commanders of the agency in all the states of the federation and special commands marching orders to mop up illicit drugs across the country. He gave the directive during a meeting with commanders of the 36 states, FCT and special commands on Monday at the agency’s headquarters in Abuja, where he also hinted of plans to seek government’s approval to conduct drug tests on tertiary institutions’ new students, security agencies’ fresh recruits and all newly appointed government employees.
We know Brigadier-Gen. Marwa (Rtd.) had worked assiduously as Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), between 2018 and December, 2020, along with others to develop a blue print on how to end drug abuse in Nigeria. He is also noted for his tradition of excellent record of performance and ability to deliver wherever he touches.
The CACOL Boss added, “It is quite germane and remarkable that the NDLEA under his able leadership mustlearn from mistakes of the past. It is a known fact today that hard drugs have littered the nooks and crannies of our streets in different parts of the country. Our youths now delight themselves in the magnitude of the psychotropic substances they can consume per time. At the international scene, we have witnessed the shameful and disgraceful perception brought upon the country by some few Nigerians who engage in drug trafficking across the globe. The agency must tackle the war against illicit drugs with a renewed vigour. The relationship between the management and staff of the agency must be strengthened and the welfare of staff must be a top priority of the new NDLEA boss to allow for optimum performance of all. The war against drug abuse and trafficking must be won and in the very near future, Nigeria must be seen and declared as a drug free nation”.
“We are therefore using this medium to congratulate Brigadier-Gen. Marwa (Rtd.) as he answers the clarion call to head the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency. We hope he will bring the experiences he had garnered from different sectors over the years to bear in his new role. We wish him well and a successful tenure”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the Supreme Court for refusing the request by Alhaji Ali Abacha, a brother to the late Head of State, Sani Abacha, to unfreeze accounts traced to him and relatives of the late Abacha in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Director, Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “It would be recalled that in a unanimous judgment on Friday, a five-man panel of the court, led by Justice Sylvester Ngwuta held that Ali Abacha’s case was statute barred, as at when it commenced in April 2004, at the Federal High Court in Kaduna. The judgment was in the appeal marked: SC/359/2010, filed by Alhaji Ali Abacha, said to be a brother of the late Gen Sani Abacha. In the lead judgment prepared by Justice Kudirat Kekere-Ekun, but read on Friday by Justice Ejembi Eko, the court held that, having dismissed a similar appeal in an earlier judgment given in February last year, it had no reason to depart from its reasoning in that case brought by Alhaji Abba Mohammed Sani on behalf of the Abacha family”.
The erudite Jurists affirmed that “No new or superior arguments were proffered here to warrant a departure from the decision in the case of Alhaji Sani, earlier decided. This appeal fails, and it is hereby dismissed”.
The appeal by the late dictator’s brother was against a July 19, 2010 unanimous judgment of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, in which a three-man panel set aside the September 24, 2004 judgment by Justice Mohammed Liman of Federal High Court, Kaduna, earlier given in favour of Alhaji Ali Abacha.
The ex-dictator’s brother had sued at the Federal High Court, Kaduna in 2004, challenging among others, the 1999 decision by the Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, acting through the then Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Kanu Agabi (SAN), to request the freezing of all accounts traced to the late Abacha, his family members and relatives in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Jersey, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg.
Ali Abacha prayed the court to, among others, void the freezing of the accounts on the grounds that the AGF lacked the powers under the Banking (Freezing of Accounts Act, Cap 29, Laws of Nigeria, under which he claimed to have acted, to request the foreign nations to freeze his accounts and those of the companies in which he is a director.
Justice Liman, in his judgment on September 24, 2004, upheld the claims by Ali Abacha and granted all the reliefs sought.The decision was later overturned by the Court of Appeal. In their judgment of July 19, 2010, Justices John Inyang Okoro, Baba Alikali Ba’aba and Mohammed Lawal Garba of the Court of Appeal, Kaduna Division, unanimously held that the suit was statute-barred and overturned the decision of the high court, which favoured the Abachas. But the unsatisfied Ali Abacha appealed to the Supreme Court, and eventually lost on Friday.
We at CACOL hereby commend the judiciary for this noble judgment. We believe though Abacha’s family members have the right to fair hearing and they can pursue their case from the lower court to the Apex court as they have done in this case but we want to commend the intellectual sagacity and the deep legal insight displayed by the jurists in this case. They have laid a very good foundation for future legal jurisprudence
If the case had gone the other way, family members of other national treasury looters and those we commonly referred to as “Convicts of the Federal Republic (CFR)” i.e Convicted Publicly Exposed Persons would have approached the courts to unfreeze their accounts so that they can embark on spending spree of the commonwealth of millions of impoverished Nigerians.
The CACOL’S Chief added, “We all know that this country is where it is today as a result of corruption in high places which is primarily in form of looting of treasury fuelled by sheer greed. It is against this background that we are advocating for more stringent punishments and sanctions against those looters and thieves who continually perpetrate these heists with the belief that grand corruption is still a bailable offence in Nigeria and so, they could easily get away with it.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has lent its voice to the furore being generated by the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) registration exercise amidst the rising cases of the spread of the dreaded COVID-19 Pandemic.
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, “It would be recalled that the Federal Government through the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) mandated the telecommunications operators across the country to block all the Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) not linked with NIN by December 30, 2020. Later, after widespread opposition from the general public, the deadline was inevitably extended to January 19, 2021. A six-week extension for subscribers without NIN to February 9, 2021 was also granted. This has led to phenomenal increase in the number of people showing up daily at the few available National Identity Management Commission registration Centres in order to beat the deadline”.
From the look of things now, we believe there is an urgent need for the government to extend the deadline for registration and subsequent linking of NIN with SIM cards for obvious reasons. Firstly, in the last few weeks Nigeria has lost some of her illustrious sons and daughters to the dreaded COVID-19 disease currently ravaging various nations of the world. The upsurge in the wave of the disease has led to the untimely death of 1,405 people going by the records of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), as of January 14, 2021. Some countries are on lockdown as a result of the second wave of this pandemic but it is funny that the government here is not taking the measures to control the spread of the virus serious as large number of people daily gather at these registration centres thereby defying the COVID 19 prevention protocols especially as applicable in public places. This is a very good reason for government to extend the deadline and allow for lesser number of people at the registration centres.
Moreover, it is obvious now that with less than four weeks to the February deadline, the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is still yet to conduct enrolment of all persons, including legal residents into the National Identity Database (NIDB). The process from all indications is moving at a very slow pace. The agency has only been able to enrol about 42 million Nigerians in the last 10 years. Nigeria has about 203 million telephone subscribers most of whom are not registered with the NIMC. What will be the fate of these hapless Nigerians if their SIM were blocked or deactivated?
Furthermore, there had been cases of extortion of applicants in some registration centres across the country. It would be recalled that on Sunday, January 3, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Ibrahim Pantami directed the immediate suspension of the staff fingered in extortion of NIN applicants at the NIMC Bauchi and Kaduna state offices. We know that these cases of extortion are not peculiar to these two states as it has become a norm in different parts of the country. We have always posited that if you make doing the right thing difficult, then doing the wrong thing would be a commonplace. Our people will go to any length to get their NIN and prevent their SIM cards from being blocked even if it involves greasing the palms of officials of NIMC.
We have observed that the NIN process is being hindered nationwide, and this is majorly as a result of shortage of facilities that can cater for the large number of Nigerians who are ready to enroll and inadequate handling of the process by the licensed centres approved by the federal government across the country. We should also not forget that at some point the NIMC staff staged a protest, went on strike and complained that they have been denied allowances and a suitable working condition in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CACOL Boss added, “in view of the aforementioned reasons, we believe it is expedient for the federal government of Nigeria to extend the registration period and the subsequent linking of the NIN to SIM cards in order not to cause unnecessary panic in the land. Blocking the SIM of Nigerians who have always been at the receiving end of government’s policies that are bereft of adequate strategic planning will no doubt have negative effects on our people’s legitimate businesses nationwide. If you notice the traders, artisans, and even some professionals, most of these people depend on their phone lines as a means to contact them”.
We (CACOL) therefore align with other responsible and well meaning Nigerians to call on the government to extend the registration period and rescind its decision to block phone lines of telecommunication subscribers who have not linked their NIN to their SIM by February 9 this year. We hope the government will reason with us on this and do the needful”.
For the pioneer secretary-general, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Debo Adeniran, extending invitations to citizens by security agencies is not all that matters, rather, the outcome of such invitations that should be of concern to the generality of Nigerians.
Adeniran, who is the Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) added that there are occasions when people make remarks or give information that are not generally available in the public space. When this happens, security agencies may think that such persons could help them shed light on the issues they raised or the remarks that they made. “It has happened to me a couple of times, even in the days of military rule.
“Of course, it is the fundamental right of every citizen to have freedom of speech, association, to hold opinion and disseminate it along the dictate of the law. What should not be tolerated is a situation whereby people who do not make inflammatory remarks, are unjustly invited. It should be noted that there is no freedom that is absolute anyway,” the consultant educationalist added.
He said even when citizens resort to protests, “as long as the protests are not violent, the government does not have any business stopping it. What government should do is to send its agents to join the protesters, listen to their demands, and take the information back to government for it to know the grievances of the citizenry. It is not the business of government to be over sensitive, and resort to stopping peaceful protests with brute force. That is not acceptable in a democracy, and is a violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.
“Even though we agree that no right is absolute. But the government should be tolerant of opposing remarks. Instead of chasing after the messenger, government should find a way of fixing the complaints and ensuring that there is good governance, accommodation and tolerance.”
Attempts to get the Presidency to comment on the travails of Mailafia, the former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 general election failed as presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina failed to respond to emails or calls and text messages sent to their mobile phones.