The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has urged the nation’s Anti-Corruption agencies to be more diligent in the execution of their duties.
The call was made by the group in a press release issued today by its Executive Chairman Mr Debo Adeniran.
Reacting to the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and Independent and Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to arraign Senator Jonah Jang and Yusuf Pam before The Plateau State High Court on Monday, the CACOL boss expressed the group’s displeasure with the turn of events leading to the delay in the prosecution of the former governor and his suspected accomplice.
Media reports had indicated that the EFCC’s reason for not producing Senator Jang who has been in its custody for over 168 hours was due to logistical challenges while a court clerk who was queried by the presiding judge on the matter said ICPC officials refused to pick their calls when attempts were made to contact them through telephone.
CACOL’s boss further observed that the average Nigerian was aware of the “African Time Syndrome” in which important arrangements and commitments are left pending until the eleventh hour.
Mr. Adeniran opined that the inability of the EFCC in carrying out its duties effectively can also be on account of inadequate preparedness as the excuses given by the EFCC could have been easily avoided or managed if effective preparations were carried out.
According to him: “While the Centre was not pleased with the delay in prosecution and trial of the Former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, and his accomplices, it would be an unforgivable offence to condemn outrightly all the Anti-Graft Commissions for this uncalculated mistake. The EFCC’s and other various Anti-Graft Commissions and Agencies have been quite pro-active in their contributions to the Anti-Corruption Struggles and their commendable efforts are evident in the various victories that have been recorded in the diligent prosecution and convictions of corrupt individuals in recent times.”
The group therefore urged the Anti-Graft Commissions to be diligent in their activities towards curbing Corruption and all its vices.
According to CACOL: “In the same light, we call on the Government to be more responsive and supportive in rendering assistance required to ensure the fight against corruption is fought holistically.”
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.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, with clear mandate for anti-corruption crusade and open, transparent governance, while throwing its weight behind the Presidency which through its Senior Special Assistant to the Vice-President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Laolu Akande, gave clear instances where three (3) persons stole US3Billion or over N1trillion during the last Administration.
The Senior Special Assistant clearly recalled how the sum of US$3billion was stolen in the so-called NNPC Strategic Alliance Contracts by Messrs Jide Omokore, Kola Aluko and the former Petroleum Resources Minister, Diezani Allison Maduekwe. It was stated inter alia that, ‘the companies of both Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko lifted Nigerian crude oil and kept the proceeds. The total sums converted is in excess of $3billion or over one trillion Naira including royalties, taxes and fees for the asset from which the crude was taken.
There was another set of illegal fund withdrawals under one week between January 8 and 16, 2015, where the sum of N1.5billion was released in three tranches of N300m, N400m and N800m respectively. The money was purportedly from the MEA Research Library Account.’
Speaking on behalf of the anti-graft outfit through its Executive Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran, CACOL enthused “we heartily appreciate the President Muhammed Buhari’s government in exposing the unbridled fleecing of our commonwealth under whatever guise, we (CACOL) enjoin the Administration to not only retrieve all ill-gotten wealth from wherever it has been repatriated, but to ensure that adequate deterrence is meted out on those indicted for the evils of corruptive practices to take flight from our sociopolitical space”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open leadership, CACOL, has commended the efforts of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in securing a new order from the Federal High Court, to seize the sum of $8,435,788.84 and over N7.35bn from accounts linked to the former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, which the Commission has alleged to be; proceeds from unlawful activities.
It would be recalled that The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has in a previous press release, demanded that the former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan, explain the sources of her wealth. In the release, the Centre asked for verifiable sources of wealth which she used in building an N10bn hotel in Yenogoa, Bayelsa. CACOL also questioned the source of wealth of the monies found in five bank accounts linked to her.
The Executive Chairman of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran while commending the new development, described the court order as a step in the right direction in fighting against corrupt practices. However, Mr. Adeniran also called for a pervasive probe to help in luminating the true sources of the former First Lady’s wealth as this question have been over-flogged but is yet to be properly addressed.
In expressing the Centre’s point of view on the government effort to holistically eradicate corruption in Nigeria, its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, suggested that, “to efficiently thrive in this war against corruption, we need to take out all the elements responsible for this menace”. He said further that, “confiscating proceeds of alleged loots from publicly exposed persons is not sufficient hence, it is imperative that those involved in the act needs to be given the works, as this would serve as a deterrent to intending defaulters”. Mr. Adeniran explained that several acts of corruptions are done with help from collaborators thus, it is essential to burn the candle at both ends by ensuring that all accomplices are rounded up and adequately punished for whatever roles they play in the crime”.
On transparency, CACOL urged that it is crucial to communicate the proposed disbursement of whatever has been recovered from the corruption culprits to the Nigerian public after diligent prosecution and convictions must have been done with.
Opening Remarks by Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman, Centre For Anti-Corruption And Open Leadership, CACOL, at the Exploratory Conference on the Lagos Open Parliament (Part four), LOP-4, held on 3 May, 2018 at the RIGHTS HOUSE, 48, Adeniyi Jones Street, Off Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos
I, on behalf of the entire members of the Centre For Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, am glad to welcome you all to this event. We deeply appreciate the honour you bestowed on us as demonstrated by the timely arrival of everyone here today, for this Exploratory Conference; a key component of the process that will culminate in our periodic Publication called the ‘Lagos Open Parliament, LOP’. We say, a big thank you to all for coming.
Majority of us here today, are conversant with the LOP and can simply aver that, “there goes CACOL again, doing what they know how to do best”. But some are probably just getting to know about the LOP as a Project of our Centre for the first time. It thus becomes imperative to give a background on what the LOP is all about. I therefore crave your indulgence to briefly do so.
The LOP, as a project of CACOL, focuses on the periodic analysis of government’s general performance in Lagos State. The programme utilizes public and media assessments’ of government’s performance including field work (empirical and practical assessments). The research strategy deploys government activities with the goal of ensuring transparency and accountability. The tool includes questionnaires, interviews, news analysis, visual investigations involving the usage of videos and photographs etc.
This exploratory meeting involves gathering of citizens from all local governments in Lagos State to give individual and collective opinions on governance in Lagos State as it affects budgetary implementation and to advise if the tools used and the data collated so far is adequate for such assessment, and if not adequate, this conference is meant to advise on other plausible means of assessing budgetary implementation in Lagos State.
The present LOP is the fourth in the series; the first and second editions were published in 2012 and 2014 respectively during the administration of the immediate past governor of Lagos state. The third edition was done in 2016 during the tenure of the present governor Mr Akinwumi Ambode. The present edition, LOP 4, currently under processing is the second under this administration. It is intended to assess budgetary implementation in Lagos State within the last two years. It is also to serve as an avenue to find out areas that we ought to assess and which we are yet to, as well as a channel to find out if there are areas we have over-assessed that the Lagos public would want us to adjust. This is with a view to ascertaining what the expectations of citizens are so that the State Government can make additional efforts towards meeting them.
We therefore, ask everyone here, to mobilize his or her compatriots towards indentifying the projects we are going to mention here and others that you know of that the Government is embarking on in your area and might not have been captured by what we have compiled so far.
Since our research strategy utilizes different tools to carry out what we consider to be self-assigned patriotic task of monitoring government activities; including questionnaires, interviews, news analysis, visual investigations involving usage of videos and photographs etc., we want you to utilize all the channels that are open to us to give us feedback, so that your contribution will be part and parcel of the final compilation that is going to be published as a booklet called LAGOS OPEN PARLIAMENT 4:
Everybody here is expected to respond to a questionnaire right here and whatever your individual input through the questionnaire shall be computed with the one we have earlier gathered. We also expect you to take some copies of the questionnaire of which photocopies you can also make for other compatriots back home, so they can also respond in their own way and you can transmit them back to us through electronic media if physical return of them may be difficult for you. The electronic links to the LOP-4 questionnaire are: https://goo.gl/forms/EAXMlEVPUlKZRH5C3, #
The LOP, as a Project of our Centre, was conceived to be done annually but dearth of fund and hands, it has not been easy to meet such annual target. For this therefore, we solicit everyone’s cooperation in our efforts to make our government more accountable, more responsible, more responsive to the citizenry who are the original owners of the instrument of governing that is entrusted to the government for public good.
I want to conclude by thanking you all again for honouring our invitation. Please we encourage us all to participate in the deliberations which we promise to be very incisive. We also urge you all to be diligent and candid in your responses to the questionnaires which is meant to enhance true assessment of infrastructural development of our State.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the Federal Government on the successful recovery and safe-keeping of the $322 million being part of the oil reserve confirmed to have been looted by the late military head-of-state General Sani Abacha which was strategically recouped from the Swiss Government. The Centre, further expressed its delight on the plans of the Government in funding some National social safety nets, which include the areas of education, health, especially; immunization and maternal mortality, and other social infrastructure. These social infrastructures are to be furnished by the purposeful disposition of the Late Abacha’s loot currently being warehoused.
The Centre expressed these views through its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, that the Abacha loot is an unprecedented historic one given the enormity of its figure, recording that while previous Administration were making very little or no progress in its effort at ensuring the retrieval of the fabled looted Abacha sum, the Buhari-led Government has successfully recovered the siphoned funds and diligently apportioned the money in resolving major social declines that has perpetually arrested the development of the Country and her people. He also expressed the group’s concern that after Abacha’s death in 1998, the missing money became the subject of an international lawsuit involving the government of Switzerland where the bulk of the money was discovered indicating that the late former Military maximum ruler single-handedly embezzled the bulk of the Nation’s oil reserves, and in turn threw dust in the eyes of Nigerians.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, while recalling the issues that arose during the visit of American business magnate, Bill Gates, where Gates gave lots of meaningful insights to the developmental challenges of Nigeria in his speech wherein he suggested that investing in health, education, and welfare opportunities of every Nigerian is the foundation for sustained prosperity in the country. He related the suggestions made by Gates to the planned social development programmes by Federal Government saying, “it is right to say that the Administration is pro-active in resolving the pending issues that has over-time, stunted the growth of the Nation and its people, pauperizing the social attributes of people in the country thus handicapping the development that would have attained in saner climes”. The CACOL Chairman also expressed delight that the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is one to be emulated as it does not only proffer solutions to problems that has been lingering in the country, but also has listening ears to suggestions on how best to make the country’s socio-economic condition thrive better. These traits are not to be discarded nor forgotten on time but to be perpetually treasured and utilized.
Concluding, Mr. Adeniran suggested that, while the Abacha’s loots are being retrieved, it is imperative that a transparent and secure framework be instituted to monitor and regulate the equitable disbursement of the funds to avoid it being re-looted by those overseeing the projects it is appropriated for. Mr. Adeniran further discerned that it would be on history as a fatal Administrative catastrophe if the Abacha’s loot recovered by the Government is re-looted. He also suggested that a deterren sanction be instituted to put officials and organizations that would have access to the appropriated funds in check as this will in-turn, prevent the re-looting of the money.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has expressed its concerns on the silence of the FG in releasing the comprehensive list of alleged looters it promised earlier. The Centre, in a statement on Friday divulged its worries on the unstated reasons for the FG’s delay in carrying out expected actions against these alleged economic ravagers as well as the sudden but loud silence on the release of the elaborately advertised and much awaited third looters’ list. While the FG revealed that the awaited list promised to be more comprehensive and holistic, containing more names than the two lists previously released, it is yet to carry out any feasible action whatsoever in respect of curtailing the issue of treasury looting with reckless abandon, which sends a vivid messages that encourage intending looters to intensify the evil acts.
As much as we recognize and commend the efforts of the Government in exposing the alleged engineers of socio-political rot that has irredeemably handicapped the economy of Nigeria and put posterity in a web of endless debts, CACOL does not subscribe to the apparent showcase of negligence by the Federal Government in taking required steps towards due-diligence investigating, prosecuting and convicting these alleged corrupt lots with maximum deterrent punishments.
In the groups’ opinion as espoused by its Executive Chairman, the Centre draws replicable examples from the court appearance of the former South African president, Jacob Zuma over charges of corruption. Mr. Adeniran stated, “That in just one month from the resignation of the Ex-President Jacob Zuma, trials have been instituted against him and one can see clearly, by the sheer weight of the charges preferred, that his prosecutors meant serious business. This is a graphic index of a system truly committed to fighting corruption hands down”. The CACOL boss further stated that “Releasing names will not fight corruption, diligent trials and deterrent convictions will”.
The CACOL Chairman, Debo Adeniran also suggested that, “just as NEMA suspended its board of directors on allegations of corruption; all those who are currently serving in public offices and are on the list, be put on suspension pending when they are tried and convicted if found guilty”.
Furthermore, CACOL stated through its Chairman that, “If we are ever going to take more than tottering steps on our desire for holistic anti-corruption struggles then all those who have their names on any of the lists as alleged looters should take required steps in proving that they are not guilty as perceived as this would go a long way in encouraging transparency and efficiency in Governance while also improving the trust citizens have for our elected leaders, the justice system, the Government, and the country at large”.
In concluding, Mr Adeniran stated that “the Organization advisedly calls that the Federal Government and all Anti-Corruption outfits to take a cue from other African Countries who are making major conquest against the corruption confrontation and surge past the phase of just listing names as this is beginning to nettle the tenacity of making the list. These crimes are severe and should not be handled with laxity”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, sadly announces the passing away of its Director of Research, Programmes and Documentation, Mr. Olawale Salami (aka, DON), who passed away at the Summit Hospital, Shasha, Lagos after a brief illness. Mr. Salami took ill while preparing for work by morning died about 5.30pm on Monday 9th April, 2018 after efforts to resuscitate him by the medical team was unsuccessful.
DON, who just celebrated his 50th birthday less than two weeks earlier, was one of the first to believe that the establishment of CACOL will thrive despite the fact that other comrades expressed their fears and disbelief in the struggle. He was a cerebral activist, a straight-forward team player and diligent worker with passion for the betterment of his society and humanity at large.
As we mourn the death of his contribution to contemporary Revolutionary Struggles, The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, Executive Chairman, Staff, Friends and well-wishers join the family in mourning the departed icon in the Anti-Corruption Struggle. His contributions to the advancement of the efforts to birth a new Nigeria society will be sorely missed.
May his memories continue to be a source of inspiration to those left behind and courage not to relent in the struggle till the desired victory is taken beyond illusion but attained for the benefit of all.
Interestingly the drama unfolding in the Confluence State of Kogi is nothing but a farcical and tragic repetition of familiar build up to both the demise of the First and Second Republic and a symbolic representation of events in many other States of the Federation where individual elected officers have elevated themselves into an institution and various public agencies have become personalized properties with impunity and violence. All men of good conscience and crusaders for democratic governance and social justice must correctly interpret these situations and rise up in total condemnation as well as active resistance of the defilement of our hard-earned, cherished democratic rule.
It would be recalled that the Senator representing Kogi West, Dino Melaye has been locked in horns with several stakeholders in the present political landscape. Yet, he is a sacred cow of the parliamentary arm of governance with a special status. In recent time the controversial Senator has been involved in multiple crises commencing with his exposure of the arms catches unlawfully imported by his State’s Governor, Yahya Bello which was burst at seaport in Lagos. Almost following in macabre succession, the Senator himself was fingered as the God-father of some errant fascist armed thugs engaged in violent disruption of public order as well as kidnappings in the State. Many marvel at the creative ingenuity of Nigerian politicians to pencil series soap operas. The drama is seemingly getting absurdly interesting.
For us at this Centre, we strongly hold the view that under a genuine democratic society governed by the rule of law and strong institutions, there should have been no room for the shenanigan been displayed by Senator Dino Melaye and his constituency reserve the inalienable democratic right to withdraw him from the hallowed chambers of the Senate. We fully support that the judgment of the Appeal Court on his recall should be allowed to run its full circle but we shall never with a wink condone an attempt of what seems like a “fallacy of what about you!” to be used to frame anybody who dare to expose serving public officer to douse the germaneness of issues at hand.
The Senator’s accusation of Kogi State’s Governor’s importation of arms, ammunitions and military security uniforms has been fully documented in the mass media. We are not confused to demand that what are all relevant security agencies doing about this revelation? What does the State Government wants to do with the military paraphernalia of national security agencies? Is he raising a Federal Army of the Republic? Where did the money come from to fund this importation in a State that is owing months of salaries and pensions, where workers are consistently committing suicide? We strongly believe that no matter the toga of his support for the President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government and its security institutions must carry out comprehensive probe of these revelations.
We are apt to insist and emphasise that if we as a nation fail to bring to book the dangerous developments in Kogi State, we shall be inadvertently sleeping in house with the roof on fire. It is indeed an alarming national security threat which must be decisively dealt with before general elections next year. We call on all well-meaning Nigerians and global institutions to make their voice known on this occurrence.