The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has frowned at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) refusal to abide by the extant laws while remitting revenue to the federation account.
The CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, cited a media report in which the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) stated that the NNPC, contrary to the governing laws of the petroleum industry, has been remitting lump sums as revenue into the federation account without separating such payments from royalties and petroleum profit tax (PPT).
The CACOL boss further noted that remitting monies contrary to the stipulated format creates room for sharp practices and looting of revenue that should be paid into the federation account.
Adeniran asked: “Is it not ridiculous that institutions that are supposed to show examples to others by adhering to the laws and regulations are the ones violating them?”
He further stated, “It is preposterous that a corporation as huge as NNPC, whose activities determine the state of the nation’s economy, will in its dealings make it difficult for the Government to determine its profit or loss margin after investment.
“CACOL therefore calls on the DRP to initiate a comprehensive audit into the monies previously remitted to the federal coffers to ensure there are no irregularities.”
Ag. Media Officer, CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has commended the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) over the arraignment of the suspended Director-General,Securities Exchange Commission, (SEC) Mounir Gwarzo, before an Abuja Federal High Courtover corruption charges.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, on Tuesday, while expressing the views of the Centre stated that: “When we first blew the lid on the corruptive acts of the SEC DG, the impression was given that nothing would come out of it and that the allegations leveled against him would be swept under the proverbial carpet. But we persisted and followed up, because of our unshakeable conviction that Corruption is at the very base of much of our underdevelopment and economic frustration of majority Nigerians”.
“Imagine what the billions of Dollars that have disappeared into private pockets could have done in providing infrastructure and pushing our technological drive to curb unemployment, low level of education and general backwardness in the country” he further stated.
Mr. Adeniran in concluding opined that, “We therefore call for a speedy prosecution of both the SEC Director General and all his accomplices so thatthe proceeds of crime are not only recovered, but adequate punishments are meted out to serve as a deterrent in orderto return our society to a path of sanity and accountability in the public service.”
He added: “There is simply no other way to go, if Nigeria would ever have any hope of breaking away from its ugly past.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) hereby calls on Senate President Bukola Saraki whose thugs have allegedly been arrested for their involvement in the bloody Offa Bank Robbery and massacre of innocent citizens to respond to the allegations that have been leveled against him by the Police.
This was contained in a press release issued by CACOL on Monday, signed by Ikenna Aghagbobi, the Ag. Media Officer of the Centre.
The CACOL boss stated that the group is alarmed that the gang leader, Ayoade Akinnibosun, in an interview with journalists said he worked as a political thug for Saraki while he was still in the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He also stated that the more alarming details is that the robbers were allegedly sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles by the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and the Governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed.
Adeniran in his reactions to these apprise has urged the police to investigate diligently, the allegations made by the Offa robbers against Saraki and Dogara as being sponsors of gangsterism.
According to him: “Even though the robbers have reported that, Saraki, and Dogara were not directly connected with the robberies, sponsoring mayhem and disrupting the rule of law is a grievous offence and hence, should not be treated with levity.
“It is a shocking and disgraceful revelation that those whom we entrusted the power to make decisions on the nation’s behalf are being mentioned in one type of crime or the other. This time, we should not sweep it under the rug as we do to most cases involving those in public offices.
“While we hope these allegations are not politically motivated, we believe it is wrong to withdraw the security aides of these men based on mere allegations. The law provides that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
“CACOL considers it imperative that the Police initiate a probe to find out what exactly transpired between the Senate President and Offa robbers. Other criminals being detained in connection with this case should also be questioned to expose their accomplices. We also urge our security institutions not to relent in their quest to maintain law and order across the country.”
Ag. Media Officer, CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed an Abuja High Court for sentencing the former Governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame, to 14 years’ imprisonment for looting N1.6b.
In a press statement issued by CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr, Debo Adeniran the group described Nyame’s conviction as a further reassurance that the our Judiciary and President Muhammadu Buhari mean business in ensuring that no corruption culprit, no matter how highly-placed, goes unpunished.
Adeniran recalled that Nyame, whose trial started in 2007 but was stalled by his team of lawyers who filed many applications to frustrate the efforts of the prosecution, was finally found guilty and convicted of 27 out of the 41 charges leveled against him.
According to him: “It is gratifying to note that the anti-corruption crusade is gradually exposing those who have been hiding under the cover of religion, political power or social status. We have also seen others resort to one political alignment or the other, and some trying to bribe their way out of an on-going corruption trial just to frustrate the judicial system and the efforts of anti-graft agencies”.
“We want to remind corruption criminals that no matter how many gimmicks they have up their sleeves, they shall eventually run out of tricks and the full wrath of the law will catch up with them”.
“We are overly delighted with the deterrent punishment meted out to the Ex-Governor. The anti-corruption war has before now been trapped in an endless loop of inconclusive cases, and we hope this victory against Nyame would facilitate the speedy and diligent trials and convictions of pending corruption cases”.
We urge the present administration to treat anyone with a corruption petition with all seriousness. Prosecution of corruption suspects shouldn’t be slowed down or halted without diligent investigation due to political expediency.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership CACOL has strongly condemned acts of brigandage and obstruction of justice displayed by supporters of former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau who was yesterday arraigned before a Kano State High Court over an alleged fraud of N950m.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, while expressing the Centre’s views, decried a situation whereby ordinary Nigerians who are the direct victims of corrupt practices would make themselves available to be rented as a crowd by the same politicians that mortgaged their future through their insatiable stealing of the commonwealth entrusted to their care.
Mr. Adeniran stated that: “As much as our law provides that even for corruption charges, every accused person remains innocent until proven guilty, we implore accused persons and their supporters to note that the process of justice and equity is sacrosanct and requires that caution is applied so that the course of justice is not perverted or compromised in any way.
“We deem it necessary to remind Nigerians of the fact that Corruption has neither tribe nor religion as its ravaging effects could be felt by all and sundry, especially ordinary Nigerians that are left with no cover. We therefore appreciate the fact that Alhaji Shekarau did not abscond but made himself available for trial to respond to the allegation levelled against him.
We also need to caution his followers on the right attitude to display during his court appearances. In the same vein, we want to appreciate our law-enforcement agents for bringing the situation under control without undue casualties, while we recommend speedy trial and conclusion of the case so that the course of justice is not only served, but seen to be served.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has lauded the arraignment of the Secretary to Rivers State Government, Mr Kenneth Kobani for money laundering.
In a statement issued by Mr Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, he noted that the six-count charge brought against the duo of Kobani and one Samuel Okpoko, bordering on money laundering involving a sum of N750m, was another bold step in tackling the hydra-headed monster of corruption in the country. It is noteworthy that the exhibits in this case are part of the infamous $115m, Diezani Alison-Madueke scam which were clearly proceeds of corruption.
Mr. Debo Adeniran stated that, “For every million Naira or Dollar stolen or misappropriated by any Government official and their cronies, millions of Nigerians are directly deprived of access to education, good roads, electricity and other social amenities and the right to life through good Medicare. This is why like Caesar’s wife; those who have being put in positions of public trust must rise above board by accounting for every penny in their care.
“We commend EFCC and ICPC for their patriotic zeal to rid our land of evils of corruption and provide the accused the opportunity to clear their names if they are innocent of the charges proffered against them. We also advise that this case and many others like them should be clinically, diligently and fairly prosecuted and concluded. Whoever turns out culprits should be made to suffer for their wicked acts while proceeds of the crime should be completely retrieved and repatriated to their original source to relief long-suffering Nigerians and serve as a deterrent to others. If however, they are found innocent of the charges, they should be promptly released and adequately compensated for the moral and material damages they could have suffered. It will also send a strong signal that no matter how long it takes, the seemingly slow-grinding wheel of justice will eventually catch up with whoever is involved in corruption crimes.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received news about the allegations of mismanagement and ‘outright pilfering’ of $16b (Sixteen billion Dollars) through power projects during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure with a measure of caution while calling for the setting up of a probe panel to officially ascertain how much was actually spent, on what and where, and bring culprits to book, if any.
Mr Debo Adeniran, CACOL Executive Chairman, recalled how the nation was taken aback when under the erstwhile president’s successor in office, President Umar Yar’ Adua, it was alleged that Obasanjo’s government had spent about $16b on electricity without anything substantial on ground after his tenure. But a probe panel set up by the then National Assembly exculpated ex-President Obasanjo of any wrongdoing while insisting that the figure was unduly exaggerated. This much has been reiterated by the spokesman to Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr KehindeAkinyemi, who revealed that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo never claimed to have spent the bandied sum of $16b on power projects and that aside from the allegation, what was spent could be seen in the seven National Integrated Power Projects and 18 (eighteen) gas turbines. Mr Akin Oshuntokun, spokesman for the Obasanjo-led Coalition for Nigeria, CNM, also echoed a similar view by pointing out that based on several investigations that had been carried out on the matter and reports compiled, it was clear Obasanjo only spent $6.3bn (Six Billion, Three Hundred Million Dollars) on the power sector throughout his eight-year tenure.
The CACOL Coordinator went further, “Our checks revealed that during 1999-2007 when Obasanjo held sway, the Federal Government built six gas power plants now supplying electricity to the national grid. They include Afam II (276mw), Papalanto (330mw), all completed by May, 2007, a fifth plant at Alaoju, Delta State (545mw), was under construction while a sixth plant was being constructed at Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom state (145mw). It was a state government partnership with FGN.
‘Also during the same period, six states initiated power projects under the NIPP Program with FGN support at Sapele, Egbema, Ehobor, Gbaram, Calabar and Omoku; rehabilitated existing power plants at Kainji, Egbin and Shiroro, which were all performing far below capacity due to accumulated neglect. In all of this, our position remains that, as an organization that prides itself as a coalition for exposing, shaming, and consigning corruption to the dustbin of history while encouraging openness in leadership without minding whose ox is gored, we hereby recommend setting up of an impartial and competent probe panel to finally lay to rest, this ghost of how much Obasanjo’s administration actually spent on power projects during its 8-year tenure and expose any shady deals therein while bringing culprits to book. This practical approach must also be patiently applied in other identified areas of corruption.
During the electioneering campaign period preceding Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s return to power, he unambiguously insisted that his government would not pay any fuel subsidy as he believed that the subsidy regime was fraudulent. He also promised that he would make the refineries work and encourage private participation in the downstream sector so that competition could be encouraged and the premium motor spirit (PMS) made more readily available to Nigerians. Most Nigerians received his promises with much expectation and optimism as this was in tandem with their thinking. In actual fact, after Buhari’s ascension to power later that same year, there was no sign of the ghoulish subsidy spirit rearing its head as the 2016 budget the Federal Government sent to the National Assembly had no provision for it.
However, early in 2016 the issue of fuel subsidy was brought to the fore again as long queues of motorists started appearing at petrol stations with marketers refusing to import the product as they insisted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC), should settle outstanding debts owed to them running into trillions of Naira. They claimed that the debts accumulated from the difference between the landing cost and pump price of fuel which was lower. The resultant effect was a probe by President Buhari which revealed that the fraud that was involved in the subsidy regime was so rampant that some individuals and organizations collected monies running into billions of Naira as subsidy even when they imported little or nothing but simply falsified documents to back up their fraudulent claims. This subsidy scam purge did not, however, stop the reality of subsidy as successive governments since the time of late Gen. Abacha when the four functioning refineries in Nigeria became redundant and all kinds of fuel was imported into the country for consumption.
The Buhari government later in 2016 increased the pump price of petrol from N86.50 per litre to a cap limit of N145 per litre . But by 2017, the Government was made to pay around N3.2 trillion as subsidies and just before Christmas celebrations, long queues started appearing at petrol stations with marketers further requesting to be paid their outstanding debts for them to resume purchase and lifting of oil from abroad. To an average Nigerian on the street who requires fuel to move his goods and services from one point to the other either as motorists or commuters, this ever- increasing price of a commodity that nature has endowed the nation with in abundance (Nigeria remains the 7th largest producer of oil with its bent crude oil being one of the best in the world) vis a vis the perennial shortage of the refined product, remains unfathomable and regrettable.
PRICE INCREASES OF PETROL BETWEEN 1973 (GOWON’S ADMINISTRATION AND PRESIDENT MUHAMMED BUHARI’S ADMINISTRATION)
(I) Gowon: (1973: 6 kobo to 8.45 kobo per litre, 40.83%)
(II) Murtala: (1976: 8.45 kobo to 9 kobo, 6.5%)
(III) Obasanjo: (Oct. 1, 1978: 9 kobo to 15.3kobo, 70%)
(IV) Shagari: (April 20, 1982: 15.3kobo to 20kobo, 30.72%)
(April 10, 1988: 39.5 kobo to 42 kobo, 6.33%)
(January1, 1989: 42 kobo to 60 kobo, 42.86%)
(March 6, 1991: 60 kobo to 70 kobo, 16.67 %%)
(vi) Shonekan (spent 82 days in power) November 8, 1993: 70kobo to N5, 614%
(vii) Abacha: (November 22, 1993: N5 to N3.25, price dropped by 35%)
Abacha: (October 2, 1994: N3.25 to N15, 361.54%)
(October4, 1994: N15 to N11, price dropped by 26.67%)
(viii) Abubakar: (December 20, 1998: N11 to N25, 127.27%)
Abubakar: (January 6, 1999: N25 to N20, price dropped by 25%)
(ix) President Obasanjo: (June 1, 2000: N20 to N30, 50%)
President Obasanjo: (June 8, 2000: N30 to N22, price dropped by 26.67%)
“ (January 1, 2002: N22 to N26, 18.18%)
“ (June, 2003: N26 to N42, 61.54%)
“ (May 29, 2004: N42 to N50, 19.05%)
“ (August 25, 2004: N50 to 75, 15.39%)
(x) Yar’ Adua: (June, 2007: price drops back to N65, dropped by 15.39%)
(xi) Jonathan: (January 1, 2012: N65 to N141, 116.92%)
(xii) Jonathan: (January 17, 2012:N141 to N97, price dropped by 31.21%)
“ (February, 2015: N97 to N87), price dropped by 10.31%)
(xiii) President Buhari: (May 11, 2016: N87 to N145, 66.67%)
SUBSIDY PAYMENTS IN NIGERIA OVER THE LAST 5 YEARS
(2013- N4.98 trillion)
(2014- N4.69 trillion)
(2015- N4.49 trillion)
(2016/2017- N6.06 trillion)
From available statistics, it is clear that the Nigerian economy is synonymous with fuel scarcity, attendant price regime fluctuations, occasioned by bogus fuel subsidies that never seem to solve this perennial problem in the downstream sector of our oil industry. The only exception is Yar’Adua’s short-lived regime that refused to increase fuel price but even went ahead to reduce it as could be gleaned from the available data.
We recollect that on December 6, 2011, Mrs Okonjo Iweala, then Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, made a special presentation to the Executive Council of the Federation (EXCOF) on the subsidy issue. She explained the key facts about: fuel subsidy; deregulation of the downstream sector and its benefits; why subsidy must be removed as it was a major fiscal and financial burden on the nation; those who benefit from subsidies; the relationship between subsidies and the Federal Government of Nigeria’s budget; how Nigeria compares with other African countries as well as oil producing countries; how Nigeria compares with other oil producing countries in the area of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and per Capita Income; where Nigeria would stand after the removal of subsidy when compared to both African countries as well as oil producing countries, etc. Ironically, none of these beautiful pontifications and economic Eldorado she prophesied has ever been realised long after increases in the pricing regime of fuel and payment of subsidies.
WHAT IS TO BE DONE? : As an Economist and Social Commentator, Rahman Oladosu, noted in his paper, dated, March 6, 2018, and titled, ‘Still on Fuel Subsidy in Nigeria’, “Every regime follows the typical playbook in dealing with fuel scarcity: sympathise with Nigerians and talk about how they should not be wasting useful hours queuing for fuel; talk about how marketers, smugglers and various middlemen are sabotaging the economy for their own selfish interest; promise to revamp the refineries; pay off marketers so they can settle their debts; import new products and flood the market with fuel, with the hope that it makes the scarcity go away. In all this we often forget to ask ourselves a simple question: Is fuel scarcity the problem or is it just a symptom of a problem?
‘The result of the desire to keep prices fixed in the face of changing fundamentals, is that Governments have been forced to pay a subsidies. For instance, although the present government claims it does not officially pay any subsidy, but its cash cow, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) pays on its behalf. The long term solution is that the Government must stop fixing prices by allowing markets to determine prices through the forces of demand and supply. Like every other commodity, prices will go up and down but will eventually stabilise and invariably allow players in the Industry to perform their role in making the commodity available in all seasons, without let or hindrance.
It is noteworthy however, that though Buhari’s government promised to get the refineries working at full capacity so that we can reduce our import-dependence when it came to power in 2015, the few ones still working do so at less than 10% (ten percent) of installed capacity. Dangote refinery remains the only new refinery under construction and work started on it since the time of the previous regime. As at 2015, when this regime came to power, a US Dollar exchanged for N165 but the same dollar now exchanges for N315 and even N500 at a time.
Currently, there is a rising price of crude oil at the international market, with the Iran- Middle East crisis, which would make marketers to buy refined products at a higher price that they must pass on to the end users. All this clearly underpins the fact that the usual template for the current price regime may no longer be appropriate.
It is pertinent to mention that for the nation to find a lasting solution to this conundrum, new refineries have to be built so that fuel importation would be halted. It is also our position that if this goal is achieved, the sustained devaluation of the naira which has persisted for decades would also be stopped thereby salvaging the economy from endless bleeding.
All these would contribute to refloat the capital base of the economy. Other necessary measures include identifying and punishing corrupt government officials, anywhere, anytime to ensure that the nation’s wealth is not frittered but used for the welfare of the people and development of the nation. Unemployment should also be tackled, frontally, while infrastructure is adequately provided for innovations and enterprise to thrive. In the meantime, conscious efforts must be made to alleviate the suffering and frustration of the masses rather than worsening it.
As the on-going war against corruption gains momentum, prosecution of culprits has been visibly stalled by various tricks displayed by malefactors in a desperate bid to undermine the course of justice.
Based on our own observations which recent revelations have confirmed, corruption has permeated the psyche of Nigerians so much that many have accepted it as a way of life. To make matters worse, corrupt elite facing trial across the country have delayed the wheel of justice through cleverly thought out schemes and tricks in a bid to buy time in their various cases.
These stalled trials therefore result in indefinite postponement of corruption cases and reduction in deterrent punishments meted out to those convicted. It also results in: counter attacks by those arraigned; disappearance of the alleged perpetrators and many more vices in the criminal justice system.
It is pertinent to point out that some notable corruption cases have been stalled by one shenanigan or the other, especially that of sudden illness that has been over-used by suspected corrupt leaders.
For instance, the case of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke stands out in this category. The former minister’s corruption cases have broken all known records in the past few years as she has been linked to a series of money laundering scandals that are too many to count. In order to curry sympathy for Allison-Madueke from the unwary public, a photograph of the physically-ravaged former Minister was circulated by the publisher of Ovation magazine, Dele Momodu, who confirmed that she had been receiving treatment for breast cancer. This was despite the fact that she had denied such reports before corruption allegations against her started piling up.
Also, the Former presidential adviser on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Kingsley Kuku, was rumoured to have fled Nigeria after he was invited for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2015. Kuku later responded to the rumour by releasing images of his knee operation in the United States and denied being a fugitive. He later launched an unsuccessful attempt in court to block the EFCC from arresting him as he remained at large.
And just recently, Former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, made a dramatic entrance into an Abuja Federal High Court on Monday, when he was wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher to face his fraud trial. Metuh joins a long list of Nigerian politicians who have developed health challenges after being accused of one form of corruption or the other.
The present anti-corruption war must result in the plugging of gaping holes and the blocking of the conduit pipes of corrupt and sharp practices to avoid a backsliding to the culture of corruption we are gradually leaving behind as a nation.
As such, CACOL calls on the various anti-graft agencies operational in the country to devise counter measures to ensure that these attempts to stall the course of justice are resisted. We also implore the Federal Government not to allow tricks by those seeking to escape the full wrath of the law to dampen its zeal in the attempt to holistically eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the arraignment of the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mounir Gwarzo with much éclat and relief.
It would be recalled that CACOL, had in a letter dated 4th November, 2017, and signed by its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, to the Honourable Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, National Assembly, Abuja, pointing out the flagrant abuse of office by the DG of SEC, who reportedly cornered N104,851,154.94 (One Hundred and Four Million, Eight Hundred and Fifty One Thousand, One and Hundred and Fifty Four Naira, Ninety Four Kobo), which he approved to himself as severance benefit while he was still in the service of the Commission.
This, the Executive Chairman, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran noted, is in sync with the core mandate of the organization as it sets out to “promote accountability, openness in governance and using any available means to cause relevant authorities to probe and bring to book, corrupt leaders both in public and private institutions.”
The Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr. Mournir Haliru Gwarzo was also accused of converting the SEC to his personal estate by appointing companies and individuals with special links to him to carry out transactions and provide services to the Commission with obvious intent at corrupt self-enrichment and diversion of public funds.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, therefore views this latest action of the ICPC in respect of Mr. Gwarzo as a welcome development just as we insist that the case be prosecuted to its logical conclusion of not only reversal of all the infractions committed during the short brief of Mr. Gwarzo as the DG, Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC; retrieval of all the identifiable funds expropriated, but searchlight must also include conclusion of requisite judicial trial to serve as deterrent and much needed fillip in our nation’s fight against the much dreaded ghost of corruption while we pledge our continuous support and cooperation in our collective search for a more sanitized and corruption-free Nigeria.