For the pioneer secretary-general, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Debo Adeniran, extending invitations to citizens by security agencies is not all that matters, rather, the outcome of such invitations that should be of concern to the generality of Nigerians.
Adeniran, who is the Executive Chairman, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) added that there are occasions when people make remarks or give information that are not generally available in the public space. When this happens, security agencies may think that such persons could help them shed light on the issues they raised or the remarks that they made. “It has happened to me a couple of times, even in the days of military rule.
“Of course, it is the fundamental right of every citizen to have freedom of speech, association, to hold opinion and disseminate it along the dictate of the law. What should not be tolerated is a situation whereby people who do not make inflammatory remarks, are unjustly invited. It should be noted that there is no freedom that is absolute anyway,” the consultant educationalist added.
He said even when citizens resort to protests, “as long as the protests are not violent, the government does not have any business stopping it. What government should do is to send its agents to join the protesters, listen to their demands, and take the information back to government for it to know the grievances of the citizenry. It is not the business of government to be over sensitive, and resort to stopping peaceful protests with brute force. That is not acceptable in a democracy, and is a violation of citizens’ fundamental rights.
“Even though we agree that no right is absolute. But the government should be tolerant of opposing remarks. Instead of chasing after the messenger, government should find a way of fixing the complaints and ensuring that there is good governance, accommodation and tolerance.”
Attempts to get the Presidency to comment on the travails of Mailafia, the former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 general election failed as presidential spokespersons, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina failed to respond to emails or calls and text messages sent to their mobile phones.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for taking the right decision in a bid to calm frayed nerves at the University of Lagos.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “it would be recalled that due to the aftermath of the announcement of the removal of Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe as the University’s Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday 12th of August, 2020 at a meeting of the governing council held in Abuja, there have been several reactions from different quarters.
On our part, as a concerned civil society organization, we tried to intervene in the crisis. It is on record that a letter was sent to the President, Muhammadu Buhari on 11th December, 2019 titled “MISAPPLICATION OF PUBLIC FUNDS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LAGOS: MATTERS ARISING” in which we suggested that “the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces as the Visitor to the university could also seize the constitutional provisions to, direct the National Universities Commission (NUC) to set up a visitation panel to visit and examine the state of University of Lagos (UNILAG) as at today and act upon their findings and recommendations”.
It should also be noted that in our press release dated 19th August, 2020, “we called on Mr. President who is the Visitor to the University to intervene in the ugly situation playing out at the University”
The CACOL boss said “it gladdens our heart when we read the government’s position on the crisis as contained in a statement issued on Friday night by the Director, Press and Public Relations, in the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong. The statement in which the University’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe and the chairman of its Governing Council, Dr Wale Babalakin (SAN), was directed to step aside pending the outcome of the Special Visitation Panel set up by the President, Muhammadu Buhari. The statement also directed the Senate of the university to “nominate an acting vice-chancellor from amongst its members for confirmation by the Governing Council.”
CACOL therefore commends President Muhammadu Buhari’s wisdom for intervening in the crisis rocking the University before it goes out of hand. The decision taken by the President was in line with our earlier position as stated in the letter we sent to the President and our last press release on the same issue.
We have always believed in the principle of University Autonomy which is the institutional form of academic freedom and a necessary precondition to guarantee the proper fulfillment of the functions entrusted to higher-education teaching personnel and institutions.
We hope this intervention will not in any way violate the autonomy being enjoyed by the university and also believe this will bring a lasting solution to the crisis and engender peace and mutual co-existence between all the stakeholders of the university.
Mr. Tola Oresanwo
Acting Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has chided the Governing Council of the University of Lagos headed by Dr. Wale Babalakin on how Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe was controversially removed as the university’s Vice-Chancellor on Wednesday 12th of August, 2020 at a meeting held in Abuja.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “With bated breath, we received the news of the hasty removal of the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe”.
“We have been drawn to the lingering crisis within the topmost hierarchy of the university of Lagos management, occasioned by allegations of mismanagement of funds by certain officials of the university on one hand and the alleged overbearing attitude of the Pro-Chancellor of the institution, which has weighted negatively on free administration of the school that threatens the traditional and symbiotic relationship between the Governing Council, the Senate and the university’s Vice-Chancellor as the Chief Accounting officer of the ivory tower on the other end”.
“We have tried to intervene in the crisis as a concerned Civil Society Organisation and our intervention became necessary considering the primal position the affected university holds as one of the premier universities established shortly after Nigeria’s independence in the 1960s and its impressive array of alumni that cut across all social strata in the country”.
Though we were able to gather some information from a cross-section of the University community representing both sides of the divide, we could not take a stand, specifically because we could not hear the Pro-Chancellor’s side of the story directly as all our attempts including the letter of request were rebuffed on the ground that the university’s law forbade him from discussing the issues with an off-campus organization like ours.
Although, a few of the direct stakeholders including Professors sounded out at Akoka and the College of Medicine Campuses of the institution supported the Governing Council but most of them were on the side of the Vice-Chancellor.
Inasmuch as we are not saying the embattled Vice Chancellor is right or wrong, our major interest is that due process guiding the removal of a Vice-Chancellor must be followed. The fact that the selection of the Acting Vice-Chancellor announced by the Governing Council was not known to the Senate who runs the day to day activities of the University left much to be desired of the whole process leading to the removal of the Vice-Chancellor.
Moreover, the four labour unions of the university namely, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), and Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) also kicked against what they described as arbitrary removal of the Vice-Chancellor and even staged a protest on Thursday, 13th of August, 2020 to demand for his reinstatement.
It is a popular saying that whenever two Elephants fight, it is the grass that will always suffer, this is what seemed to be playing out at UNILAG as the administrative impasse within the University of Lagos will no doubt not only affect the majority of undergraduate and postgraduate students of the University but also affect other areas of administration, research and teaching.
CACOL strongly recommends that the way out of this quagmire is the immediate reversal to the status quo and to allow all and sundry especially the primary stakeholders which include all the Unions in the university to agree that due process has taken its course. It is University of Lagos today; it may be another University tomorrow and if the right things are not done now, then it may turn out that the wrong precedents would have been laid for such future rascality and arbitrary hiring and firing of Vice-Chancellors in our citadel of learning.
“It is disheartening that almost a week after the announcement of the sack of the Vice-Chancellor, there has not been an official statement from either the Ministry of Education or the National Universities Commission (NUC). This seemingly conspiracy of silence from the two principal agencies of government who should be in the know concerning the running of the reputable institution of higher learning is loud enough to send the wrong signals to other stakeholders and even members of the public”.
We therefore call on Mr. President who is the Visitor to the University to intervene in the ugly situation playing out at the University now and bring all warring factions to the roundtable with a view to ensuring that lasting peace and harmony reign on the campus, so that the goodwill and the brand the university has built over the years will not be brought to disrepute and the University as a whole will not be irretrievably demarketed.
Mr. Tola Oresanwo
Acting Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called on anti-corruption agencies to commence a necessary investigation into an allegation of a multi-billion naira fraudulent scheme engaged in by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Acting Director of Administration and Programmes, on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “It would be recalled that an online news medium SaharaReporters reported that the IGP had used his office to unlawfully compel and in fact threaten Mobile Police Commanders into generating millions of naira monthly through illegal means for the establishment of a Mopol Training School in Endehu, Nasarawa State. It was gathered that the same project was included in the 2020 budget of the Nigeria Police Force but was rejected by the National Assembly. But desperate to fulfil his desire, the Inspector-General of Police had each Squadron Commanders cough out nothing less than N500,000 monthly for the purpose of erecting different structures in the training school”.
“It was also reported that the IGP does not mind how these Mopol leaders get the money for the project, whether through corrupt means or otherwise, he does not care. The directive has made the Mopol Commanders do everything through corrupt means to raise millions of naira monthly to build the project just to satisfy the ego of the IGP and keep their positions too. The training school is about to be inaugurated on August 12 and the same Mopol Commanders are to be used as Guinea pigs to test run the facilities from August 16,”.
“SaharaReporters further reported that the Inspector-General of Police had insisted on having the training go on at the facility despite the warning of health experts due to the risk of participants contracting and spreading Coronavirus”.
“In view of the above and in order to keep the anti-corruption war as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari on track it is appropriate for this allegation to be investigated. We are of the opinion that given the enviable position being occupied by the Inspector-General of Police as the number one Law Enforcement Officer of the country, allegation as grievous as this should not be written off with a wave of the hand”.
“It is instructive to note that the Force has been embroiled in a number of corruption allegations leveled against its rank and file. We must not forget that in a 2019 public survey by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project titled “Corruption Perception Survey”, the Nigeria Police Force emerged the most corrupt public institution in the country”.
The Chair of the anti-corruption organisation added, “Considering the strategic and critical role of the Police Force in maintaining law and order, it is of great importance for the head of this agency of government to be above board at all times. If the allegation leveled against him was true, then the popular saying that when the head is rotten the whole body is sick can then be likened to the situation playing out in the Nigeria Police. A corruption-free Police Force under a corrupt head will be a mirage as the officers will perpetuate their corrupt tendencies with brazen effrontery. We therefore call on our Anti-Corruption agencies to swing into action now by investigating the allegation leveled against the Inspector-General and come out with their findings on the case.
President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces
Aso Rock Villa, 3 Arms Zone
Garki – Abuja
Federal Republic of Nigeria
NIGERIAN ROADS: A TALE OF WOES
Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) was established by Act No.7 of 2002 enacted by the National Assembly and assented to by President Olusegun Obasanjo. With this Act establishing the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency and for matters connected herewith, FERMA became Nigeria’s first institutional mechanism for monitoring and maintaining all Federal roads in the country. First Governing Board of FERMA chaired by Engr. Guy Otobo was inaugurated by the then Hon. Minister of Works and Housing, Chief Tony Anenih on 27th January 2003.
The Mission of the agency is to efficiently and effectively monitor and administer road maintenance with the objective of keeping all federal roads in good and safe conditions while the Vision is to become the most efficient road maintenance management organization that will enhance the economic well-being and interest of Nigerians.
From the foregoing, it can be observed that the agency has not lived up to expectation going by the present state of roads in the country. Most of the federal roads that dotted the length and breadth of the country are crying for attention.
It will be recalled that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed once disclosed that most of the bad roads in Nigeria belong to the states. The minister argued that most bad roads in the country were within the jurisdiction of states. She made this statement after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting that held on the 13th of November, 2019 in Abuja.
She went further to state that the Federal Ministry of Works was the biggest beneficiaries of funding in the 2019 budget as it was adequately reimbursed for the purpose of roads rehabilitation in the country.
Ahmed acknowledged that the government had not done enough to rehabilitate roads all over the country but still attributed most of the bad roads in the country to the states.
In the same vein, and contrary to general reports making the rounds that Nigerian roads are terrible and not motorable, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola was also reported as saying that Nigerian roads are not as bad as people think.
Fashola made this statement late last year after one of the Federal Executive Council meetings. He dismissed reports on the poor state of the country’s roads as exaggerated. In his words “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”, he had told State House correspondents.
We found this statement by the honourable minister as a clear indication that some of those occupying public offices are not in tune with the terrible realities of their fellow citizens’ daily experience.
Despite the claims made by the Ministers, ordinary Nigerians plying the roads know the true situation of our roads. Most of the roads are now death traps. It is worrisome that in addition to the adverse effects of the poor state of the roads, kidnapping and armed robberies, loss of vital man-hours, loss of lives and merchandise and enormous damage to vehicles on a daily basis are recorded, thus adversely affecting the growth of the developing economy like Nigeria’s.
For example, the current state of the Lagos – Sango Ota – Abeokuta express way that links Lagos and Ogun state is appalling and an eye sore as virtually all sections of the road has completely broken down. Major bus stops like Obadeyi, Kola, Salolo, Moshalashi, Alakuko, Toll-Gate, Joju among others are characterized by crater-sized potholes and gullies resulting in commuters and motorists spending long hours in traffic, accidents and damage to health and vehicles which is immeasurable in monetary terms and health costs. Sometimes, petrol tankers and container trucks have fallen at bad portions of the road, causing havoc to people.
One can only wonder the essence, importance or relevance of Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), if federal roads under their direct supervision can deteriorate to such an inhuman state without any intervention to mitigate the suffering of the commuting public. More annoying is the fact that the Ministry of Works and Housing who happens to be the supervising ministry of FERMA is maintaining an unholy silence. Is it that the Ministry is unconcerned?
Though we are aware of the fact that the Lagos Sango Abeokuta express road is a federal road, we believe that the Governors of Lagos state Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Ogun state counterpart, Dr. Prince Dapo Abiodun can harmoniously and as a matter of urgency come to the aid of the suffering commuters in both states, whose manhour, lives and livelihood is being jeopardized by the unmotorable state of the Lagos Sango Ota Abeokuta express road, by directing their respective states ministries of works and roads intervention agencies to urgently provide palliatives to the road.
Apart from the federal roads, the roads that are within the purview of the states are not faring better. In fact, state-owned roads are just as horrible as the stretches of roads controlled by the federal government. In Lagos state, from the expressways to the inner streets, it is a tale of complete abandonment and neglect. The dividends of democracy in terms of infrastructure development promised to be delivered to the electorates by the politicians are just nowhere to be found.
Knowing how Lagosians crave good roads, the Governor, a day after his inauguration, signed an executive order, directing the state Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) to run at least two shifts and work till 11p.m and the state Public Works Corporation to commence patching and rehabilitation of bad roads to address the perennial problem of traffic in the state. Till date, Lagosians are still waiting for this order to be carried out in some areas.
From the mainland to the Island, particularly, the densely populated areas of Ikeja (like Ipodo Street), Coker-Aguda (Akin Olowolagba Street), Somolu (Haastrup Ajimoke Street off Apata Road), Mushin-Odi-Olowo (Agege Motor Road before Olosa bus stop, Idioro), Ikorodu (Church Street, Odogunyan, Frontage of Ikorodu West LCDA, Odonla Road, Ojuemuren Street Odogunyan, Sagamu Road), Yaba (Herbert Macauly by Birrel Avenue, Kadara Street, Oyingbo, Ladipo Street off Bornu way) Lagos Island (Idumagbo Avenue, Oroyinyin Street off Adeniji Road) the story is the same as one is faced with the embarrassing sight of the decrepit roads that dots Nigeria’s most cosmopolitan city despite the high internal revenue generated by the government.
So bad are the roads in Lagos thatThe Economist Intelligence Unit and World Bank in their 2018 Global Liveability Index, ranked the state as the third worst city for humans to live in the world. The state was ranked 138 out of the 140 cities considered for the ranking. This, however, was a slight improvement from the 2017 ranking, where the country was ranked 139th out of 140 cities on the index. According to the ranking, Lagos only outperformed Dhaka in Bangladesh and Damascus in war-torn Syria. Out of an overall score of 100, Lagos was rated 38.5 points. The 2019 least liveable list has 10 cities with five from Africa. Lagos, Nigeria tops the list for the continent. This is Lagos’ third consecutive time as the worst liveable city in Africa.
Similarly, Ogun State that happens to be a close neighbour to Lagos is fast becoming a State identifiable by its bad roads. From Toyin to Giwa, Oke-Aro, Lambe, Matogun, Isaashi, Akute, Ajuwon, Alagbole, Agbado to Agbara, Lusada and all other major roads in that axis where some major factories are located, the sad reality is the same.
Recently, it was reported that the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun was fully aware of the challenges occasioned by the deplorable condition of Sango-Agbado Expressway and other roads. The statement was credited to the Ogun State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Ade Akinsanya, who inspected the abandoned project. This followed his earlier inspection of the Ojodu-Abiodun-Denro Ishasi-Akute and Oke Aro-Lambe-Matogun roads some weeks back, as engineers from the ministry visited the area to further assess the roads.
Akinsanya, who said it is worthy of note that the construction of the 32km Sango-Agbado road was started by the immediate past administration of Senator Ibikunle Amosun, decried how the project was left unattended to months before the end of Amosun’s administration.
He said: “The Prince Dapo Abiodun-led Administration is now engaging contractors, as the government evaluates how to rescope, accelerate and get the contractors back to site towards completing the road for use by the people”.
The key to economic growth and development in any nation is the provision of basic infrastructure such as good road network. We believe the rehabilitation and completion of the various roads will revive economic activities in the axis while ensuring the safety of persons, goods and vehicles.
In addition, we feel the pains and agony being encountered by the commuting people on our roads who have had to endure both the physical and psychological trauma of traffic gridlock all over the state caused by the poor condition of roads.
Your Excellency, the pains and agony commuters are enduring on our roads on a daily basis can only be mitigated by the commitment of both the federal and state governments of the states concerned to deliver dividends of democracy to the people through reconstruction, rehabilitation and completion of various road projects that litter the various parts of the states in particular and the country in general. There is an urgent need for both the Federal and the State Governments to redouble their efforts and commitments to addressing the hardship being faced by road users across the country. Alternative means of transportation like the rail and the waterways should also be improved upon to reduce the pressure n our roads.
Therefore, we are calling on your office to immediately swing into action by directing and mobilizing the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to provide palliative measures for temporary relief pending the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the federal roads in Lagos state in particular and other states in general.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has taken a swipe at the action of Former Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari for allegedly assaulting an environmental officer enforcing the COVID-19 protocol put in place to curb the spread of the dreaded virus at the nation’s airports.
In a release issued by CACOL on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo, he noted, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL received with concern and disapproval news making the rounds to the effect that the former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari allegedly assaulted an airport official who was doing what he was paid to do”.
It would be recalled that the airport officer, on Saturday at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano State, tried to disinfect the luggage of the former governor who was a passenger but Yari pushed him away, claiming he was a very important personality.
“We condemn the attitude of this former governor in its entirety. His action is reckless and height of irresponsibility. By his action he has portrayed himself as an enemy of the state going by the enormity of the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on the country. One would have expected a supposed ‘Very Important Personality’ to support and abide with all directives and protocols laid down to stem the tide of this pandemic”.
“It is lamentable that a man of his status would make nonsense of a well thought out arrangement and protocol aimed at curtailing the spread of the dreaded virus. His attitude shows that many of our past and present public office holders see themselves as superman and demigods that should always be revered, adored and worshipped wherever they are. Can he try that absurdity in a foreign land? Little wonder then, the reason many of them are so bold to engage in various acts of corruption and acting as if they were above the law while holding public offices and forgetting that power is ephemeral”.
The CACOL Chairman added, “Against this unfortunate aberration, we therefore call on Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to put mechanism in place that would prevent reoccurrence of this unfortunate incidence and spell out sanctions that would be meted out to anyone who violate the COVID 19 protocols so as to serve as deterrent to others while calling on the former governor to publicly apologize for his action”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has decried the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by the officials of Department of State Services (DSS).
In a release by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by its Coordinator, Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, he stated, “The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received the news of the arrest of the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mr. Ibrahim Magu by officials of Department of State Services (DSS) with mixed feelings”.
“We can recall that the arrest is coming barely two weeks after the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) reportedly complained to the President, Muhammadu Buhari about Magu’s conduct and advised that he should be relieved of his appointment. The AGF was said to have accused Magu of insubordination and discrepancies in the figures of funds recovered by the EFCC”.
“Though the details of his arrest is still sketchy, we believed that inasmuch as no one is above the law Mr. Magu just like every other citizen of the country can be call to give an account of his stewardship at anytime, our position is that it would have been nice if Mr. Magu was investigated by the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) or other anti corruption agency of government but not DSS that has continually shown bias towards him (Magu) going by the report submitted to the Senate by the DSS which has stalled his confirmation as the Chairman of EFCC for some years now. It is a common knowledge that there had been no love lost between DSS and the person of Mr. Magu. We have also observed that the relationship between EFCC, DSS and Ministry of Justice had been frosty over the years”.
“In view of the above, we hope Mr. Magu would be able to defend himself and come out clean from the myriads of allegations leveled against him. We are also optimistic that he will be given a fair hearing and his rights will be respected.
Since he has demonstrated extra courage in the fight against corruption in the country we hope his arrest is not a case of ‘Corruption fighting back’.”
“A situation where the Acting Chairman of EFCC is ‘invited for questioning’ with a very short notice could cost the fight against corruption serious setback, as well as much embarrassment to the Federal Government and its anti-corruption stance, hence, the need for the various agencies of government to always be mindful of their actions at all times”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the Federal High Court Abuja for granting an order of interim forfeiture of 48 choice properties, allegedly belonging to a former chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds, Ngozi Olejeme.
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Coordinator for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “it would be recalled that the forfeiture order was granted after the counsel for the EFCC, Ekele Iheanacho, convinced the court that the said property was purchased with proceeds of crime. The former chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds, Ngozi Olejeme who was also the treasurer of the Jonathan-Sambo Campaign Organisation in 2015 has been on the run since 2016 and was in September 2017, declared wanted by the EFCC for criminal conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds and money laundering. She was alleged to have, along with the former managing director of NSITF, Mr Umar Abubakar, mismanaged and diverted over 69 billion Naira”.
“The court presided over by Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in granting the application, ruled that the interim order should be published in a leading newspaper within seven days of receipt of the order and for any interested party to show cause within 14 days why the property should not be permanently forfeited to the government”.
The chair of the Anti-Corruption Coalition said “we commend, laud and enthuse on the Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja for granting an order of interim forfeiture for these choice properties though the principal suspect in the case is still at large”.
“We can also recollect how President Buhari, recently asked the current Managing Director, Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, Mr Adebayo Somefun, to go on immediate and indefinite suspension for alleged financial misappropriation.
In a statement by the Ministry of Labour and Employment on Thursday stated that 11 other officials in the NSITF were also asked to proceed on suspension. Their suspension, according to the ministry, was due to the preliminary established prima facie infractions of the Financial Regulations and Procurement Act, and other acts of gross misconduct”.
“This recent suspension of the top management cadre of the fund is an indication that corruption has indeed found its safe abode in the nest of the trust fund. It further shows that these set of people who were entrusted with the fund cannot be trusted as they have continually been dipping their hands in the cookie jar”.
The CACOL’s Chief added “It is pathetic and lamentable that in a country with majority of its citizens living far below the poverty line and where social safety nets are almost nonexistent, the fund allocated for social insurance can be misappropriated and spent without recourse to due process”.
“We therefore call on the Federal Government to immediately and as a matter of urgency audit the role of the suspended officers in financial and procurement breaches as well as in gross misconduct in the NSITF from 2016 till date as stated in the statement from the Ministry of Labour and Employment and if found wanton they should be handed over to the anti-corruption agencies for necessary prosecution. The government should not fold its arms and allow unscrupulous public officials to run the various parastatals of government in their care aground while illegally enriching their private purses”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, with clear mandate for anti-corruption crusade and open, transparent governance has hailed the Auditor-General of the Federation for exposing the financial misappropriation of several millions in the records of the Nigerian Law School.
In a press release issued by the anti-graft coalition’s Coordinator for Administration and Programmes, Mr. Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “it would be recalled that the Office of Auditor-General of the Federation uncovered multiple infractions in the school records, ranging from outright misappropriation to spending without approval and necessary appropriation. The Auditor-General’s Financial Report for 2015 which was submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for investigation indicted the management of the Nigerian Law School and exposed how N32 million was paid to an unnamed “cleaner over a period of 12 months.”
The payment, it was noted was not appropriated in the budget of the Nigerian Law School, which indicated the money was withdrew directly from its internally generated revenue without necessary approval. The Auditor-General also queried the payment of another N36 million as dressing allowance through the account of one of the staff for 52 others; again without approval and in violation of Nigeria’s Financial Act.
The Auditor-General’s report also indicated that the financial record of the Law School showed very weak signs of internal control measures, the Law School Storehouse had no ledger to show its inflows and outflows with some of its bank mandates not dated and even the Internal Auditor official stamp was not numbered; suggesting massive recklessness in the finance of the Law School.
The anti-corruption czar noted that “It is despicable that an institution meant to train and develop the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains of legal professionals could be embroiled in acts of corruption like this. What are the values the school wants to inculcate in our young lawyers, if it cannot be run with probity and accountability?”
It is in light of these revealing allegations that we (CACOL) commend the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation for submitting the report to the Senate Committee on Public Accounts for investigation. We urge the authorities not to sweep this case under the carpet and call on the Anti-corruption agencies to take this case up and carry out diligent and meticulous investigation in order to bring all known culprits from both past and present management staff of the school to book by recovering all the misappropriated funds, while making them to face the full wrath of the law to serve as necessary deterrent”
Anti-corruption groups, including Transparency International and the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, have condemned the Lagos State House of Assembly for sending wives of the state lawmakers to Dubai at the cost of N80m.
The Speaker of the House, Madashiru Obasa, had told a panel of inquiry set up to probe corruption allegations levelled against him that the N80m was spent on training the wives of 20 lawmakers in Dubai with a budget of N4m each, adding that he declared the event open.
Obasa had said, “We gave N4m to each of the participants for air ticket, hotels, feeding and local travel. An air ticket to Dubai alone costs about N2m.
“The House of Assembly is above common standard of excellence and we have to train people, and this comes at a cost. Learning is not cheap and I have never collected N80m for estacode at a go before.”
But speaking to The PUNCH, Auwal Musa, aka Rafsanjani, the Head of TI in Nigeria, said it was saddening that N80m would be spent on such an event when the health and education sectors in the state were in shambles.
Rafsanjani, who is also the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, said an act could still be deemed as corrupt even if it is approved officially.
The TI head said, “If this is not corruption, what would you call this? The truth is that there is something called official stealing, looting and diversion of funds and it is happening across Nigeria and what the Lagos Assembly has done is just to tell you what is going on in other states.
“It is also a reflection of what is happening at the federal level because states usually emulate the federal. Nigeria’s democracy has been hijacked by those stealing the funds meant for development. Imagine how many communities would have clean water if that money was spent on development?
“Imagine if the money was used in equipping a primary health centre? Why spend it on legislators’ wives?”
Also speaking, the Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said, “For me, it is not really the N80m that matters but the fact that the state is not supposed to spend a dime on the wives of lawmakers who are not even elected officials. These legislators are already receiving outrageous allowances which ought to cater for their families.
“They need to explain to us why it was important for the wives of lawmakers, women who were not elected, to be trained in Dubai.”
Similarly, the Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Olanrewaju Suraju, said the spending could not have been included in the state’s budget.
“Lagos Assembly has 40 lawmakers out of which 37 are men. How come it is the wives of 20 that were taken for that controversial event? That money could not have been included in the budget. I don’t believe the wives even travelled but the money was just transferred to them.”
He called on anti-corruption agencies to investigate the trip.
Suraju said, “Constitutionally, it is inappropriate; these are not members of the parliament.