Lagos Open Parliament Seven (LOP 7) is an evaluation of the performances of the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which span the period between November, 2019 and September 2020.
The Lagos Open Parliament is a project of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) which periodically assesses the programmes and projects of the Lagos State Government. The compilation of this compendium involved media research, interviews, news analysis and visits to project sites in order to adequately assess the policies and agenda of the Governor Sanwo-Olu’s administration.
LOP was designed to champion accountability and transparency in governance. The outcome of the research indicated that Sanwo-Olu remained steadfast in his commitment to good governance in the state. The Sanwo-Olu administration beamed a special focus on infrastructure, traffic management and transportation, with a view to reduce traffic gridlocks on Lagos roads. The administration sustained its aggressive response to rehabilitating bad roads across the metropolis to ease vehicular movement, by engaging the services of some construction firms and the Public Works Corporation.
LOP has been published since 2011 when its first edition generated a lot of reactions among residents of the state who demanded that it should be sustained. The second to sixth editions were published in response to demands from the people of the state. LOP Seven is a replica of the other editions as it is based on exhaustive media survey and use of other research tools to assemble the information contained in the publication.
The process involved gathering of information about developmental projects from members of CACOL’s Good Governance Accountability and Transparency Education (GATE) units across the 57 Local Government and Local Council Development Areas of the State. There were also inputs from representatives of various tiers of government, civil society and community based organisations and other members of the public.
President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Villa, 3 Arms Zone
Garki – Abuja
Federal Republic of Nigeria
N180BN PALLIATIVES: CACOL CALLS FOR JUDICIOUS DISBURSEMENT
For some days now, Nigerians have been facing the reality of the fuel subsidy removal. The removal of the subsidy on fuel in Nigeria has led to rising inflation and reduced economic welfare, hurt economic growth and reduces household income, and makes firms less competitive. There is confusion everywhere, and people are coming to terms with this reality.
However, the pressure this exerts on Nigeria’s fragile socio-political and economic conditions is enormous and gradually heading to a tipping point. Social media are awash with harrowing videos of people’s reactions in various parts of Nigeria, and they all point to the pervading rage, frustration, and hardship people are going through.
To this end, we at The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, would like to commend your administration for approving the sum of one hundred and eighty billion naira (N180bn) as palliatives for the 36 states of the federation.
While announcing the release of the palliative at the end of the 135th National Economic Council meeting in Abuja, the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, disclosed that the N5bn was to enable the state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country.
He added that considering the urgency in meeting the need to mitigate the skyrocketing food prices across the country, the Federal Government had last week released five trucks of rice to each state of the federation.
The governor further stated that “This funding has to be shared with a formula as follows: 52 percent of this money is given to states as grants, while 48 per cent of the N5bn is to be paid back on an installment basis within a period of 20 months to the CBN by the states and the local government areas in Nigeria.
We would like to commend the federal government for at least heeding to numerous outcries from various quarters calling for palliatives to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on the people. This administration has shown that it is feeling the pulse of the people by approving 180bn as palliatives to be shared among the states in the country”.
In addition, we feel the pains and agony being encountered by cash strapped members of the public who have had to endure both the physical, emotional and psychological trauma caused by no fault of their own having been forced to buy petroleum products freely given to us by nature at exorbitant rates just because some unscrupulous Nigerians have made it a point of duty to incapacitate our refineries.
Mr. President, we are however skeptical about the capabilities of some governors to deliver or disburse these palliatives to those they were intended, going by the happenings in the past. We are all living witnesses to the way and manner some foodstuffs that were meant to serve as palliatives for Nigerians were locked up in warehouses across the country by some greedy and selfish people in power at the detriment of pauperized, traumatized and famished Nigerians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We would also want you to direct the state governors to ensure judicious disbursement of the palliatives both in cash and kind. They should ensure that these palliatives do not end in the pockets of the few powerful individuals in their various states.
The people of the state should feel the impacts of these palliatives no matter how small.
We also want to use this medium to call on our people to monitor the disbursement of these palliatives in their various states so as to ensure that foodstuffs and other commodities meant for the people are not cornered by politicians.
Your Excellency, the pains and agony members of the public are enduring as a result of the subsidy removal on a daily basis are enormous and can only be mitigated by the commitment of the federal and state governments to make these palliatives available to the people in various parts of the country so as to prevent the impending pandemonium which will negatively affect the already battered economy of the country.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the federal government for approving the sum of one hundred and eighty billion naira (N180bn) as palliatives for the 36 states of the federation.
In a release issued by the organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL’s Chairman, he noted, “It would be recalled that Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State shortly after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting disclosed that the sum of N5bn which will be given to each state was to enable the state governments to procure 100,000 bags of rice, 40,000 bags of maize and fertilizers to cushion the effect of food shortage across the country. In addition to the fund, Zulum said the Federal Government also released five trucks of rice each to the 36 state governors.
This development comes in the wake of the hike in the cost of food items and petrol owing to the removal of subsidy on the commodity.
According to the CACOL’s boss, “We would like to commend the federal government for at least heeding to numerous outcries from various quarters calling for palliatives to cushion the effect of the fuel subsidy removal on the people. This administration has shown that it is feeling the pulse of the people by approving 180bn as palliatives to be shared among the states in the country”.
We are however skeptical about the capabilities of some governors to deliver or disburse these palliatives to those they were intended, going by the happenings in the past. We are all living witnesses to the way and manner some foodstuffs that were meant to serve as palliatives for Nigerians were locked up in warehouses across the country by some greedy and selfish people in power at the detriment of pauperized, traumatized and famished Nigerians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We would also want to call on the state governors to ensure judicious disbursement of the palliatives both in cash and kind. They should ensure that these palliatives do not end in the pockets of the few powerful individuals in their various states. The people of the state should feel the impacts of these palliatives no matter how small.
We also want to use this medium to call on our people to monitor the disbursement of these palliatives in their various states so as to ensure that foodstuffs and other commodities meant for the people are not cornered by politicians.
Nigerians from all walks of lives are apprehensive that the Federal Government, through the Department of State Security Services, DSS, may fritter away a great opportunity to deal fatal blows on entrenched economic vampires and saboteurs in the country with the seemingly lack of diligent investigation and prosecution of the suspended Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele. This concerned is further accentuated with the spirited attempts by the legal team of the ex-henchman of the apex bank to tie the hands of the Judiciary in ensure the enforcement of the bail out of the former Governor and prevent the State from subjecting him to prosecutions.
The National Observatory as a civic engagement body with mandate to prick the conscience of humanity on sensitive issues as they often affect the survival citizens view the various illegal, social, and political transgressions of Mr. Godwin Emefiele during the pendency of his tenure as Governor of the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria as not only Crimes against the State, but indeed, Crimes against the Citizens, if not against humanity.
Under Emefiele watch, lives and means of survival of millions of Nigerians were destroyed, his harsh policies – particularly the Naira Re – Design provoked monumental social convulsions leading destruction of properties, businesses, and legacies. Yet, enforcement agencies saddled with responsibilities for bringing Emefiele to justice for his malfeances are obviously handling his prosecution with golden, kid’s glove ! Months after Godwin Emefiele suspension from office in June 10, his Lawyers are taking advantage of the inexcusable dithering of prosecutors to seek his reliefs from the Federal High Court, Abuja for Security Agencies to respect the bail granted him and stop the Federal Government, the Attorney General of the Federation from prosecuting him on any charge.
Needless to delve on the seemingly deliberate trivialization of the essence of its prosecution. It may be apposite at this juncture to highlight the main accusations levied against the Governor before his suspension, which include–
#. Terrorism funding unknown gunmen, ESN, IPOB; .
#. Mismanagement of Nigeria’s social investment program (NISRAL and the Anchor Borrowers Scheme);
#. Money Laundering; Round Tripping; Illegal economic crimes and threat to national security; unwholesome activities through proxies; and, Criminal conspiracy, diversion of Government resources.
To the chagrin of all conscientious Nigerians however, he was merely brought to court with charges of illegal possession of arms and ammunition !
No matter the parameters that is employed to evaluate the locust years of Godwin Emefiele in helms of affairs of the apex Bank, the verdict remains that he terribly compromised the nation’s economy and shortchanged its revenue base, He remains the worst Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria since inception in 1957. The global standard and principle for Central Bank operations spelt out its key functions to revolve round “ regulation of money supply, management of the foreign exchange and gold reserve of the country, managing the cost of credits and its availability, and it exercises these functions quietly without publicity hypes or partisanship”. All these indices, Mr. Godwin Emefiele failed in way never before recorded in our apex banking history – from Roy Pentelow Fenton, 1958 -63 at inception to Alhajji Mai Bornu, 63 -67; Dr. Clement Nyong Isong, 72 -75; Malam Adamu Ciroma, 75 -77; Mr. Ola Vincent, 77 -82; Alhajji Abubakir Ahmed, 82 -93; Dr. Paul Agbai Ogwuma, 93 -99; Chief, Dr. Oladele Sanusi, 99 -2004; Prof. Charles Soludo, 2004 -2009; Malam Sanusi Lamido-Sanusi, 009 -2014 – all respectable, trustworthy gentlemen Captain of the country’s financial industry. None as individual, was as garrulous or reckless as the reign of Mr. Godwin Emefiele, or, even combined !
The crimes of Mr. Godwin Emefiele against Citizens and State are legions, these include :-
#. Alleged infractions in the Management of Stamp Duties, which the DSS initiated machinery to investigate his undermining of President Muhammad Buhari, terrorism sponsorship, money laundering, amongst others but stopped the investigations with court orders and was subsequently allowed to be guarded by military personnel.
#. Emefiele’s subterranean purchase of All Progressive Congress, APC Presidential Nomination Form in May 2022 for whooping N100 Million. Whilst he later ignominiously denied the Presidential ambition after intense public outcry, he had earlier gone to court to seek a restraining order against the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and, the Attorney General of the Federation claiming that “ he is not a political appointee but a Public Servant”. Perhaps, he was unaware that he was in gross violation of the Public Service Rule which stipulates Neutrality and Non-Partisanship of all public servants. More importantly, his ambition was also in contravention of Global Ethical Standard Principles for the management of Apex Financial Institutions !
#. Cruel, Illegal execution of Naira Re-Design policy on N200, N500 and, N1000 denominations which the then Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, Nigeria Bar Association President, Yakuba Maikyau kicked against, the National Assembly for the extension of January 2023 deadline declaration of old Naira notes as default legal tender. Three State Governors of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara had to approach the Supreme Court to stop the Federal government, Attorney General and Central Bank on the implementation of the new Naira notes policy alleging that the “ CBN is conducting a currency confiscation program that has wrought immeasurable sufferings on NIGERIANS”, yet Emefiele instigated Federal Government disobedience of Supreme Court Order to halt the program !
Thus, on June 10, 2023 when the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu announced the suspension of Mr. Godwin Emefiele as the Governor of the Central Bank, as well as his prompt arrest and detention by the DSS, all expectations were that the security and enforcement agencies should have been adequately prepared for full blast prosecution of Emefiele on numerous crimes bordering on “ National Economic Sabotage” , not a melodramatic charge of unlawful possession of arms and ammunition.
Now that facts are emerging that investigation are still going on Mr. Godwin Emefiele infractions during the period he held sway as the points man of the apex bank in the country, the entire Nigerian citizens must be vigilant to swing into affirmative civic actions if there is any ploy for miscarriage of justice. We are not faced by the reports that many high temperature, We are confident that the ongoing audit of the accounts of the Central Bank which has not been done in the last Seven years would expose mind boggling, dirty, shady deals. Politically Exposed Persons are complicit in the crimes of Emefiele. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should be audacious enough to garner requisite political sinew to confront this monster. There is no gain emphasizing that the gory, injurious financial mis adventures of Mr. Godwin Emefiele and unpatriotic gangs are responsible for the precarious, sordid conditions of our national economy. A lot of public funds are in the pockets of these criminals in our corridors of power. They must be fished out, if the nation is to survive.
There is no rule that a sacred cow must be slaughtered with golden knife ! In saner, democratic climes like the United States of North America, USA, former President Donald Trump was duly investigated, prosecuted and indicted, in South Africa, another former President Jacob Zuma was investigated, prosecuted and jailed..
The Nigerian poor must not only remain alert but mount vigilant guard by rising in mammoth rallies whenever Emefiele appears in court. It should be turned into a tribune of the people for his heinous crimes against citizens. President should demonstrate absolute commitment to bring Mr. Godwin Emefiele and his felons Economic Saboteurs to Justice without minding whose Ox is gored !
“No Permanent Friends or, Foes in International Relations. Only Permanent Interest”
On June 6th , 2023, the Commander of Presidential Guard of Niger Republic, General Abdourahamane Omar Tchiani led a military take over of the reins of government from the hands of democratically elected President Mohamad Bazouim. This would be the sixth coup d’état in the West Africa sub region; coming on the heels of miliary regimes in Mali since August 2020, Chad – April 2021, Guinea – September 2021, Sudan – October 2021, and Bukina Fasso – January 2022. The sub continental body, Economic Community of West African States led by Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu issued an ultimatum which lapse on 6th August 2023 for the usurper military junta to restore democratically President Bazouim back in power.
The Nigerien military putsch has put the coup – vulnerable West Africa sub region under spotlight, sparking off rows of salient heated issues on democracy, good governance, regional security, and influence of foreign powers not only in the sub region but continental Africa. The Nigerian Government sent a diplomatic envoy led by former military Head of State, Rtd. Gen. Abubarkar Abdulsallam and the Sultan of Sokoto Caliphate, Abubarkar Saadu to consult with the Head of Niger coupist on restoration of the overthrown Bazouim democratic government. This mission was, however, dead on arrival. As many persons clamour for military intervention, neighbouring West African States like Mali, Senegal, and other States in the continent vowed to align with the new Niger junta to defend its territories against any aggression.
The contending concerns revolve round the questions of Sovereignty, Democracy, Control of Natural Resources and Power – Play by Foreign Interests.
The tragedy of the emerging scenarios is that the interests of Africa and its peoples are not given true and thorough interrogations in finding panacea to the dooming sceptre of military interregnums in the continent. What is necessary is, multilateral relations, diplomatic solution that will address fundamental interests of Nigeriens, the Sub Region and Africa, survival, and freedom from the manacles of Foreign Powers’ exploitation of our natural resources and domination of African people.
A critical overview of the African landscape will reveal a continent blessed with abundant natural resources which the entire globe is scrambling to exploit and control at the detrimental expense of Africa and its people. The Map of Africa Natural Resources reveal huge deposits of Gold in South Africa, Mali, and Ghana; Diamonds in Botswana and Congo D.R; Crude Oil in Nigeria, Libya; and Uranium in NIGER REPUBLIC. The scramble for exclusive exploitation of Uranium by its former colonial power, France and Transnational Corporations is the main causative factor for the escalation of instabilities in Niger Republic.
The Western Power bloc, queuing behind France is routing for Tchiani and his comrades in arms to go back to the barracks and restore democratic government of Bazouim, without ruling out the option enforcement of their position by military options. Another global power bloc keenly interested in positioning itself in the running of affairs are raising the platitudes of ‘Territorial sovereignty’. This block is largely supported by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa ( BRICS ) group and their Transnational Corporations’ fronts.
The ” National Observatory”, a civic engagement platform to interrogate policy options as they affect citizens’ welfare and wellbeing holds audacious views that the global community is either too compromisingly docile or, not adequately sensitise to perceive the grimy portraits of the emerging scenarios in the Niger Republic’s Military Coup d’état versus Democracy crisis rupturing the sub – region, if not entire African continent. Guided by Frantz Fanon admonitions that ; ‘ Every Onlooker is Either a Coward or, A Traitor’…… or both, we critically observe and proffer heuristic panaceas as follows :-
ECOWAS and Nigeria should be extremely cautious in considering options for amicable resolutions so as not inadvertently be drawn into a proxy war situation of Foreign Powers. One of these power mongers in the African continent, a Russian head of a Corporation Mercenary Armed Enforcer, “Wagner Group,” Yevgeny Prigozhin, succinctly captured the essence of the crisis in Niger when he analyzed how Niger’ Uranium is being buccaneer :-
“ French company that extracted uranium sold it on the market for $218, while paying Niger only $11 for it. You can work with investors on a 50-50 or 30-70 (%) basis, but it’s impossible to give back to the indigenous people of the country, who were born in this country, who live in this country, and who expect that the natural resources of this country belong to them, and according to the Constitution, they belong to them, only 5% of the wealth you receive. ”
If the situation in Niger is not properly macro -managed, global economic vultures and vampires will inevitably stop hovering but permanently perch to feast on carcasses in Niger and the sub region. As things are, the region is presently precariously bedevilled by incursions of multiple layers of armed, terrorist groups and battling with economies in acute, compounded recession, it is on the brink of collapse in real terms and cannot risk any social upheavals.
The National Observatory urged the Nigerian Government, ECOWAS to reflect deeply on the permanent interests of their citizens, survival of the African people, the sub region and continent in finding solutions to the threats of anti -democratic, marauding forces in the continent.
Genuine Peoples’ Democracy remains a better path to development over any Military Regime – be it Benevolence or Autocratic. However, democracy must necessarily deliver on good governance and assure prosperity for the citizens if it must be defended.
Global Peace institutions like the United Nations, the African Union should convene a multilateral platform to address the renew surge of undemocratic take over of government in the sub region. In handling the Niger coup debacle, it should be treated as a Bull in a China wares shop!
#. Say NO to foreign powers despoliation of African continent.
#. Join the people’s movement to entrench Democracy, Constitutionalism, Rule of -Law and Good Governance in Africa today.
#. Democratic Governance is for minimal condition for sustainable development of African continent.
#. People’s Democracy is the path to Recovery of our Collective Humanity.
#. There is nothing like ‘’ Benevolence Despotism ’’. It ends up traumatising citizens.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on anti-corruption agencies for necessary investigation of corrupt practices of job racketeering involving some members of staff and management of Federal Character Commission (FCC).
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 while testifying at the ongoing investigative hearing by the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Parastatals, and Tertiary institutions on mismanagement of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), one Mr. Haruna Kolo, an ex-aide to the Chairperson of the Federal Character Commission, Muheeba Dankaka, confessed to selling federal employment slots to job seekers at the directives of his former boss”.
Haruna Kolo who was a former Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System desk officer at the Federal Character Commission, in his testimony, alleged that Ms Dankaka set up a job racketeering ring, collecting money from job seekers. He stated that to avoid digital trails, the FCC boss instructed him to transfer all the money to his (Kolo) personal Ecobank account and pay her in cash which he did a couple of times in her house.
On the allegations of job racketeering, Kolo alleged that the FCC Chairman instructed him to liaise with one Mr Shehu who is a personal driver and Personal Assistant to the Taraba State Commissioner. He also claimed that Shehu is the one that brought those who paid money to his (Kolo) account for job, some paid N1m, others N1.5m, all to his personal Ecobank account which he later gave to the Chairman in cash through POS, so there is no evidence of transfer. Mr Kolo also said the chairperson compensated him, alongside three others, with a job at the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) for the assignments he carried out. He also claimed that one of the beneficiaries of the AMCON job is a sibling of Mrs Dankaka.
As much as we agree that the testimony of Mr. kolo is highly revealing, we are not in any way surprised by his allegations and confessions. The reason is because we had stated in one of our past releases that job racketeering is now the other of the day in virtually all the Ministries and Parastatals of government. It is far easier for a camel to pass through the hole of a needle than for a qualified, young and academically sound Nigerian to secure employment in any of these Ministries based on merit or even Federal Character which in some cases has been used to employ job seekers at the federal level. It is now a norm to sell employment slots, promote mediocrity, employ those with god-fathers, and perpetually keep the children of the poor in the unemployment web just because they cannot afford the humongous amount of money being demanded by these racketeering syndicates domiciled in all federal, state and even local government services, thereby impoverishing them and their parents who have invested a lot on their education.
It should be noted that the Federal Character Commission is a creation of the Constitution with the power to ensure that the composition of the government reflects the federal character of the country. The commission serves as a clearing house for employment by all government agencies.
Section 14(3) provides that “The composition of the Government of the Federation or any of its agencies and the conduct of its affairs shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the federal character of Nigeria and the need to promote national unity, and also to command national loyalty, thereby ensuring that there shall be no predominance of persons from a few State or from a few ethnic or other sectional groups in that Government or in any of its agencies.”
Section 4 of the Federal Character Commission (FCC) Act gives the commission the power “to work out an equitable formula, subject to the approval of the President, for the distribution of all cadres of posts in the civil and the public services of the Federation and of the States, the armed forces, the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies, bodies corporate owned by the Federal or a State Government and Extra-Ministerial Departments and parastatals of the Federation and States.”
“However, over the years, the Federal Character Commission (FCC) has been embroiled in a number of corruption allegations and its primary responsibilities as quoted above has been abused, misused and denigrated contrary to the original intent of those that conceive the idea of its formation in the first place. The noble idea of fostering unity in the area of distribution of all cadres of posts in the civil and the public services of the Federation has now been shamefully and highly commercialized in a way that the highest bidders get the best of positions in these MDAs. This is official Bazzar at the federal level!!!
The anti-graft czar added, “We would have called for total scrapping of the Commission but considering the strategic and critical role of Federal Character Commission (FCC) operations in the country, we are seriously concerned about the enormity of corruption going on in the administration and operations of the Commission, therefore, we would like to commend the House of Representatives for carrying out this investigative hearing, we would also call on the federal government to quickly wade into the Commission’s administration with a view to sanitizing it. We would recommend immediate suspension of the Chair of the Commission and bringing all those responsible for these shameful and despicable acts to book. This is not the time for Anti-graft agencies to slumber; they should rather swing into action and prosecute all those that have been fingered in this revelation so as to serve as a deterrent. More importantly, we hope the allegations will not be swept under the carpet and that the House of Representatives ad hoc Committee should also beam its searchlights on all other MDAs of government.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) on behalf of the Civil Society Coalition Against Corruption yesterday in Lagos called on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to graciously give assent to the Bill for an act to amend the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act, CAP. R7 LFN 2010 to grant the commission enforcement powers in the monitoring of accruals to and disbursement of revenue from the Federation Account and bring the Act in conformity with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as Amended); and for other matters related therewith.
The Coalition which made the appeal in a statement issued to media houses in Lagos, and signed by Comrade Debo Adeniran the Chairman of CACOL, recalled that the 9th Assembly at the twilight of the last administration had graciously and expeditiously passed the Bill that will give the beleaguered Commission a new lease of life which is awaiting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s assent.
According to the statement, the Bill as passed by the National Assembly prescribes that the Commission shall be wholly funded by the three tiers of government being beneficiaries of the Federation Account.
The Statement laments that as one of the fourteen (14) Executive Bodies recognized by the Constitution, RMAFC is one of the most poorly funded Agencies compared to other sister Constitutional bodies like Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), National Population Commission, National Assembly and others that are heavily funded from the national purse.
The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) is one of the Executive bodies established by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (As Amended). Amongst its fundamental powers and functions are;
To monitor the accruals of federally-generated revenues to the Federation Account and disburse same to the three tiers of government;
Review from time to time, the Revenue Allocation formulae and principles in operation to ensure conformity with changing realities,
Determine remuneration packages appropriate for political, public and judicial office holders as well as
Advise governments at all levels on ways to improve their internally-generated revenues.
They opined that, the important role the Commission plays in the nation’s political economy through statutory allocation of revenue via an equitable revenue sharing formula to the three tiers of government and fixing remuneration for public, political and judicial office holders at all levels of government has enormously contributed to the democratization process, thus encouraging good governance, transparency and accountability and even development in the country.
The Chairman of the Coalition Debo Adeniran noted that “the review process of the above exercises involves extensive and in-depth research and studies in various areas of our political economy, call for memoranda, consultations, sensitization workshops, collection and collation of data, studies of other similar Federations in respect of fiscal arrangements, public hearings and administration of questionnaires which involves huge expenditure”
“These exercises normally take the Commission to all the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT, as well as the 774 Local Council across the country to sensitize Nigerians to make input into the review process”.
“In the area of reducing revenue leakages and enhancing revenue generation, the Commission, has succeeded in expanding the sources of revenue to the Federation Account through the recoveries of hundreds of billions in the recent past”.
“It is gratifying to note that in order to ensure synergy in revenue generation, remittance and monitoring, the Commission also continues to engage critical stakeholders like the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Customs Service, Federal Inland Revenue Service, NNPC and its subsidiaries and the Central Bank of Nigeria to strategize on how to reduce revenue loss through indiscriminate granting of waivers and tax holidays”.
The coalition explained in the Statement that one of the major challenges faced by the Commission is the absence of financial autonomy and weak regulatory framework which directly hinders the effective and efficient performance of its operations with annual budgetary allocations for the financing of its activities over the years being grossly inadequate as to protect its independence and cater for its nationwide field operations. The sensitive nature of the Commission’s role in Nigeria’s Fiscal management requires a large measure of independence including financial autonomy.
The Coalition also noted with dismay that, while the Commission continues to discharge its constitutional responsibilities assiduously with little resources, workers and their chief executives in the various revenue generating Agencies it supervises, luxuriate in humungous salaries and allowances driving state-of-the-art cars as official vehicles, working in spacious and well-equipped offices and attending conferences, seminars and retreat abroad all at the tax payers expenses.
“In all honesty, how do you expect RMAFC to effectively monitor those Agencies without being ridiculed given the impoverished working conditions of their staff, how can the Commission attract top rate graduates and experienced hands like those in the MDAs they are supposed to oversight, how can they deploy top-notch ICT infrastructure like those obtained in FIRS, Customs, and NNPCL?”
“It is maladroit to expect a poorly funded organization with ill-motivated staff to perform supervisory functions on well-funded agencies whose staff are adequately remunerated and highly motivated”.
The Statement stressed that in view of the overriding importance of RMAFC’s role in stabilizing the nation’s political and socio-economic development since inception, there is the need to adequately fund the Commission through increased budgetary allocation and placement on first line charge so as to enable it to effectively supervise revenue generating agencies such as FIRS, NNPCL, Customs as well as carry out its other constitutional duties.
“The only viable option that will put the Commission on a strong financial pedestal is if Mr. President appends his golden signature on the new Bill placed on his table”.
The Coalition also expressed optimism that the Bill when eventually signed by Mr. President will reposition the Commission by giving it the needed impetus to perform optimally with the removal of financial, legal and regulatory encumbrances that hitherto made it a toothless bulldog that can only bark but not bite.
“While it is apt to note that PBAT does not waste time in signing Bills into law provided they serve the peoples’ best interest as demonstrated in his first few weeks of assumption of power, it is equally concerning that the RMAFC Bill is still in Mr. President’s incoming tray awaiting his final assent”.
In order to expedite action for the Bill to see the light of the day, it also called on other critical stakeholders like the National Economic Council, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, ALGON and the Media to bring their influence to bear on the Presidency to do the needful.
“It is our strong belief that the signing of the Bill into law by Mr. President will translate to stoppage of leakages in revenue generation, increase more revenues into the Federation Account and generally promote transparency and accountability in the management of our Commonwealth in consonance with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope mantra. A stitch in time saves nine”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has asked the President of the country to shed more light on his request for N500bn to be used to provide palliatives for Nigerians following the removal of petrol subsidy announced during his inaugural address on May 29, 2023, in response to claims that the subsidy regime favoured the rich more than the average Nigerians, among other reasons.
In a release issued by the organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL’s Chairman, he noted, “It would be recalled that President Tinubu’s request was contained in a letter sent to the National Assembly and read during plenary by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas. In his letter, the President proposed an amendment to the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act, saying “The request has become necessarily important to, among other things, the source for funds necessary to provide palliatives to mitigate the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy on Nigerians. Thus, the sum of N500bn only has been extracted from the 2022 Supplementary Act of N819,536,937,815 for the provision of palliative to cushion the effect of petrol subsidy removal.”
According to the CACOL’s boss, “We believe Nigerians need to know more about the N500bn the President is requesting. He should make the details of how the money would be spent more clearly to the average Nigerian. Inasmuch as we are not against the provision of palliatives for Nigerians who have been negatively affected by the removal of the fuel subsidy, we are calling on the President to reveal the details of how the money will be spent”.
In a country where a humongous amount of money had been expended in the past years majorly on palliatives and the low number of people that benefitted from the said palliatives, it will be unthinkable for this administration to follow the part of the past administrations.
We are all living witnesses to the way and manner some foodstuffs that were meant to serve as palliatives for Nigerians were locked up in warehouses across the country by some greedy and selfish people in power at the detriment of pauperized, traumatized and famished Nigerians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To avoid the mistakes of the past administrations, the Tinubu-led government should publicize how it intends to spend the money, the names and locations of the beneficiaries, the modalities for disbursing the money and the conditions attached to the disbursement (if any), and other details that would set the minds of Nigerians at peace knowing fully well that the money would be used as planned”.
The CACOL Head adds, “Moreover, we observe that even if the names of those to benefit in the conditional cash transfer or whatever method the government wants to use to disburse the N500bn are published, the money may not impact significantly on the livelihood of the beneficiaries. If any palliative would be given, it should reflect in the cost of macro-economic products like petroleum but since the argument is that if petroleum is cheaper, it will be smuggled out of the country, then the palliative can be used to subsidize electricity, since it is not likely that electricity would be smuggled out of the country. It can also be used to subsidize the cost of building materials or telephony thereby having a direct impact on affordable housing and communication among the people. Reduction in prices of these products will affect everybody rather than selective conditional transfer to some privileged few that has been done in the past and nobody has openly acknowledged that it impacted positively on their lives”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on anti-corruption agencies, National Judicial Council and the Presidency to urgently set machineries in motion to investigate Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa over his statement that he obtained favours from his wife on behalf of his fellow senators.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by TolaOresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “It would be recalled that Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa, the current senator representing Bauchi North senatorial districtin a video clip which surfaced yesterday, spoke at the valedictory session of the Ninth Senate. Bulkachuwa claimed that he encroached on his wife’s (ZainabBulkachuwa, a retired Justice of the Appeal Court) “freedom and independence” in the course of her official duties as head of the second highest judicial office in Nigeria.
“We watched the video which has gone viral and we were aghast that a serving Senator could condescend so low to the extent of currying unmerited favouron behalf of his colleagues from his wife who was privileged to be in a position of judicial authority. More alarming is the fact that the Senator has the boldness, audacity and temerity to come out in the presence of the press to confess his ‘many sins’ to the Nigerian state. This shows the level of impunity being exhibited by our so called representatives of the people.
Since Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa has dramatically blown his own whistle, he has finally confirmed the reason why so many Nigerians have lost faith in the judiciary. Can we say all the cases his wife handled during her days on the bench are dispensed without fear or favour? The Senator’s statements in the viral video shows that corruption in high places is on the increase in the country and drastic measures must be taken to stem the tide. The President should not overlook this serious infraction committed by a person who is supposed to know and protect the laws of the land. It is one anomaly that shows the rot not only in the judiciary but in virtually every arms of government.
The anti-graft czar added, “Considering the strategic and critical role of the legislative and judicial arm of government, we believe people like Senator Adamu Muhammad Bulkachuwa, are not worthy in character and personality to represent any particular group of people in the country. We therefore call on Anti-corruption Agencies, the National Judicial Council and the presidency to swing into action and immediately investigate the claim by the Senator. He and his wife should be quizzed to determine the cases he intervened in and correction or redress should be made in those cases while he along with his wife should be appropriately punished to serve as deterrent to others.
N910BN MDAs SHORT-TERM LOANS: CACOL CALLS FOR URGENT RECOVERY
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on the Accountant-General of the federation to urgently recover short-term loans it advanced federal ministries, departments and agencies from the Special Funds Accounts totaling N910 billion.
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 received the news that the Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) chaired by Senator Mathew Urhoghide, which scrutinized the 2017 report of the Auditor General for the Federation discovered the anomaly. According to the Auditor General of the Federation (AuGF), query, loans and debts arising from Special Funds Accounts totaling N910,039,557,742 showed that the balances remained unpaid throughout the year even when they were meant to be short term”.
“It should be noted that the Committee observed that there was a continuous abuse of the Special Funds by the Executive arm of government as the withdrawals were continually made for political expediency outside the purpose which the funds were meant for. The Senate therefore ordered that all outstanding loans should be recovered by the Accountant General of the Federation and evidence of recovery presented to the Auditor General and Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days”.
The anti-corruption Czar opined that “It is disheartening and demoralizing how public funds are being mismanaged by the management of most of the MDAs. Inasmuch as we are not against giving out such loans based on the exigencies of the time and paucity of funds that may arise occasionally, the office of the Accountant General ought to have scrutinized the purpose for which these short term loans were sought before giving it out to the MDAs concern. There ought to be concrete arrangements for repayment of the loans and penalties that payment default would attract ought to be made crystal clear for the MDAs concern to know before giving them these loans. In case of default, the loans ought to be deducted from the appropriation to the MDA concerned in the following year’s budget.
“As we have said earlier, we have observed that there have not been serious punishment for impunities like this hence civil servants and public officials who were supposed to hold their position in trust for the members of the public and the generality of Nigerians engaged in financial recklessness knowing fully well that there will not be backlash for their actions. This trend is not peculiar to the MDAs only, as both the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and other existing financial laws are either inadequate or contradictory in addressing modern challenges posed by corruption in the country”.
The CACOL Boss further enthused, “We want to commend the Senate Public Accounts Committee for investigating the whereabouts of this huge sum of money and for giving a marching order that all outstanding loans should be recovered by the Accountant General of the Federation and evidence of recovery presented to the Auditor General and Senate Public Accounts Committee within 60 days. We would also want them to go beyond this order and ensure that all MDAs that defaulted in paying back these loans are published, the amount being owed should also be deducted from their next appropriation and their management should be made to face the full wrath of the law in order to serve as deterrent for others.”