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 called on the Federal Government to do more in the fight against corruption in the country and ease the burden of the citizenry especially at a time the government is just easing the lockdown.
In a release issued by the Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by Mr. Tola Oresanwo, the Acting Director of Administration and Programmes, to mark CACOL’s 13th Year Anniversary he enthused that “the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) formerly known as Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders was established on the 3rd of September, 2007. Incorporated in 2016, our vision is a Nigeria without corruption both in public and private sectors. Our mission is to use any legal and civilized means available to cause relevant authorities to probe and try all corrupt leaders both in public and private institutions”.
Over the last 13 years, CACOL has been engaging in the business of research, enlightenment, advocacy and monitoring of government activities with a view to reducing corruption. We have been at the fore front of enlightening members of the society on the virtues of living modest and corrupt-free lives. We have organized public enlightenment programmes at regular intervals on the need to be good leaders. We have also liaised with relevant government agencies in carrying out global best practices on act of governance. We have come up with researches, studies and surveys on needy areas and unanswered questions concerning corruption and we have participated in budget tracking, scorecards, open parliaments, etc.
Furthermore, we have been the vanguard of enlightenment to the people on the need to see leadership as service to the society. Over the years, CACOL’s main activity is to campaign against corruption and advocate for open governance by embarking on fact-findings through: Research, Investigations, Surveys etc., We engage in policy review and engagements, by publishing books, journals, reports, pamphlets, posters, handbills. We also carry out mass outings like, rallies, processions, marches, petitions, litigations, festivals and anti-corruption tours. We also intervene on behalf of victims of corruption.
It is on record that we have been directly involved in writing petition against and exposing some suspected and alleged corrupt public officials notably Olusegun Obasanjo former President of Nigeria, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, former Petroleum Minister, and James Ibori former Governor of Delta State which in turn led to his indictment, prosecution and conviction.
As we clock 13, we have observed that not much have changed in the Anti-Corruption drive in the country. In as much as we would like to commend the government for the introduction of various measures like Bank Verification Number (BVN), Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS), among others, aimed at curbing corruption in the country we believe there is still much to be done as corruption persists in both public and private sectors in the country. We also call on the three arms of government to synergize more to stem the tide of corruption in the country. The Judiciary as the last hope of the citizen should do more in the area of quick dispensation of justice so as to serve as deterrent.
As if that was not enough, the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, appears set to hit N160 per litre as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation has increased the price at which it sells the product to marketers from N138.62 per litre to N147.67. This is coming at a time when most Nigerians are coming out of the lockdown forced on them by the outbreak of the novel Corona Virus pandemic.
Many Nigerian workers have not being paid salaries for months as some sectors especially the hospitality and private schools have not reopen for business. Others, especially those working in the banking and aviation sectors have lost their jobs and sources of livelihood due to the fact that their organizations have either downsized or outsourced their jobs.
Prices of foodstuff have skyrocketed while commuters have been forced to pay almost double as transportation fares due primarily to the social distancing regulation being observed by transporters. All these have negative impact on the disposable income of Nigerians most of whom will still struggle to pay house rents and other bills.
The anti-corruption crusader said “we want to say emphatically that the current increase in electricity or energy tariff and the pump price of the Premium Motor Spirit is a wrong move coming at a very wrong time. It is ill-advised, unkindly and unsympathetic to the plight of the already overburdened Nigerians who eke out a living by a dint of hard work”.
“CACOL would like to call on the government to deliberately reduce prices of energy and power which are used by most Nigerians majority of whom did not benefit from the palliatives distributed by the government to cushion the effect of the lockdown. The government should rescind these unholy decisions and think of ways to ease the current socio-economic problems of the already overburdened citizens rather than further extorting them. Government should also desist from introducing anti-people policies that will burden the people and further ensnarl them in abject poverty while the few individuals that were elected to govern them live so large on the commonwealth of the generality of the populace”.
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.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called on all security agencies and the general public living and operating at Ile Zik Round-about, Ikeja Lagos, to be more vigilant as hoodlums has converted the boat monument into a brothel where unsuspecting victims are lured extorted and raped.
This was contained in a press release issued on behalf of the Centre’s Chairman, Debo Adeniran on Saturday June 20th.
The Centre got wind of these immoral acts through one of its CACOL’s Good Governance, Accountability and Transparency Educators (C-GATE) Units.
According to the CACOL Chairman, “the CGATE Units were created and inaugurated in all Local Government Areas (LGAs) and Local Council Developmental Areas(LCDAs) in both Lagos and Osun state to educate the grassroots on how to hold the government accountable and demand transparency through its educators.”
The Chairman expressed worries on the escalation of the nefarious acts perpetrated by the hoodlums in that vicinity during and after relaxation the lockdown.
According to the Mr Adeniran, “report reaching us at one of our C-GATE meetings indicated that this wicked and ungodly act has been persistent underground even before the Coronavirus lockdown and many have fallen prey to the criminals hunt as undergarments, purses, wallets, school bags and one passport picture of a young school girl were found at the suspected crime scene. Although the notoriety of the place had been acknowledged in the recent past, up till this present moment, nothing has been said or done by the law-enforcement agents to detect, investigate and to bring these suspected possible perpetrators of the suspected heinous crimes to book.”
The anti-corruption leader expressed his utmost disappointment towards the security agencies under-performance in curbing street crimes in Lagos, especially during this pandemic crisis.
The CACOL Chairman lamented on the increased rate of crime and sexual violence during this pandemic and urged all security agencies to up their games in bringing it under perpetual check.
According to him, “since the beginning of the pandemic and the attendant lockdown, reports of rape cases have sky-rocketed in all states of the federation, hence the extra vigilance of all security agencies on active duty and the protocol cannot be overemphasized. He urged the authorities to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the capacity of different security agencies are reinforced to ensure maximum protection for the Lagos citizens and that of Nigeria in general.”
The CACOL’S boss therefore demands for an immediate investigation into this demonic and shameful act and diligently prosecute anyone found culpable to ensure that the guilty ones are given deterrent punishment.
The Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka scripted “The Trials of Brother Jero”, the immaculate one with more tricky and deceptive maneuvers than can be imagined, tempted not by anybody but only by himself. This sums up the on-going drama in our political landscape. The court of appeal has ordered that the code of conduct tribunal can entertain the case of false declaration of assets against the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Earlier, the Code of Conduct Bureau has dragged the Senator to the Tribunal on allegations of false declaration of properties while he was Governor of Kwara State and at resumption of office as a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Bureau laid an eighteen count charges against the Senator. However, the Tribunal in its judgment in June acquitted the Senate President which was challenged by the Bureau at the Court of Appeal. The decision at the appellate court that the Senator has a case to answer on count numbered 4, 5 and 6 is not only worthy of commendation but it is instructive to all public office holders who usually declare false assets and sometimes forget properties they own by proxy.
We, at the Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, (CACOL) strongly condemn every attempt to arm twist the judiciary particularly the courts which are supposed to be the last hope of the nation. It would be recalled that the trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal was characterized by ploys to stampede the Tribunal with solidarity mobilization of members of the Senate to proceedings which invariably intimidated the Tribunal into taking its political judgment. The decision of the Court of Appeal is a resounding reminder that the judiciary is still independent and can assert the law irrespective of whose ox is gored. Though the Senate President has signified intentions to appeal at the Supreme Court, we hope the path of justice would neither be muddled nor delayed by this process. For it is not common sensical for a judgment to come after the tenure of the Senate President has expired.
Nigerians know how cases drag on for years in our court system. CACOL demands that if the Senate President intends challenging the Appeal Court decision, he should first resign as the President of Senate. As a matter of fact under refined democratic rule in comparism to the crude democracy in Nigeria, even the appearance of the Dr. Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal would have warranted his stepping aside.
CACOL warns the judiciary to be wary of those who engage in technicalities to divert the smooth sail of justice. The defence that the prosecution did not proofthat Dr. Saraki operates a foreign account with American Express Service Europe Limited merely goes a long way to vindicate our position about systemic conspiracies. It is a trite fact that most Banks that serve as warehouse for laundering ill-gotten wealth would always hide under the veil of confidentialities not to reveal indicting documents. CACOL call on global leaders and well-meaning people to rise up to the challenge of piercing the invincible corporate veil whenever corruption charges are at stake.
It is instructive that the prosecution team should diligently appraise the recently released Panama Papers where the Senate President was exposed to have maintained a foreign account in a tax haven country. An account which obviously was not declared in any of the Asset Declaration Forms.
The narratives of economic sabotage committed by people in public office are legendary and this is done with impunity, believing that the system can never catch up with them. The Senate President’s family has a robust history in this regard, the collapse of defunct Societe Generale Bank is a vintage example. The Code of Conduct Bureau should re-examine the papers of all public office holders because we are confident that Dr. Bukola Saraki is just a symbolic representation of a pervasive offence by most if not all public office holders.
Being the Address of Press Conference by Debo Adeniran of CACOL on the Occasion of Marking the 2017 International Anti-Corruption Day, Saturday, 9th December, 2017
“Concerned about the seriousness of problems and threats posed by corruption to the stability and security of societies, undermining the institutions and values of democracy, ethical values and justice and jeopardizing sustainable development and the rule of law”…….Rationalization in the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
BACKROUND CHECK: This year’s thematic pre-occupation of the United Nations in marking International Anti-Corruption Day is very apt in capturing situation in Nigeria and what remains to be done. This is even more succinct when examined against the fact that UNODC and UNDP have developed a joint global campaign focusing on how corruption affects education, health, justice, democracy, prosperity and development submitting that corruption is the greatest impediment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
President Muhammadu Buhari presented an N8.6Trillion 2018 budget to the national assembly with a deficit of N2.005Trillion and a plan to borrow N1.69Trillion from local and foreign lenders to execute the budget. He also informed Nigerians that the budget would be part financed from proceeds of recovered loot. Interestingly, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Barrister Femi Falana has variously asserted that the country has over N300Billion unrecovered loot. In a co-related twist, several European countries where the country’s stolen wealth where kept like Australia have demanded that the Government should demonstrate the infrastructural development project which the funds would be invested on before they can be released. This clearly paints a vivid impact of corruption on our nation’s development.
The President in its 2015 campaign promised to fight corruption and insecurity. This anti-corruption crusade got the kudos of the major leaders of world. John Kerry, the Secretary of State of United State expressed support for the anti-corruption policy at World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, while Grant Sharp, the Minister of Interior of United Kingdom explicitly showed the direction of Europe when he stated that “ …. We would continue to provide capacity building technical support to Nigeria to tackle corruption”.
President Buhari is often quoted as stating that the historic duty of his administration is summed up in the clarion that “If we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”. No doubt if this is imbibed by the entire populace, it would be re-echoed with vigour. Many corruption cases have since been blown into the open; Halliburton, Siemens, Mallabu, Panama and Paradise Papers, and the in recent period time the scandalous, brazen sharing of the N2.6Billion arms deal.
HOW FAR FROM LAST YEAR?
In commemoration of Last year International Anti-Corruption Day, we embarked on anti-corruption to highlight the state of infrastructural decadence in the country particularly in Lagos and environs. We were at the then notorious Sango-Otta toll gate, Alimosho and visited a public primary school.
It is highly imperative to note and commend the Lagos State Government in particular that after our tour and awareness campaign last year, most of the affected roads have been taken care. As a matter of fact, the astronomical speed and pace with which Lagos State Government has embarked on road construction and rehabilitation particularly opening up of feeder road has been breath-taking. This has no doubt reduced traffic grid on some major roads thereby reducing the productive man-hour usually wasted on traffic lock.
We however also note that there is continuous downward and negative slide in the standard of the country’s social infrastructure. The health clinics are indeed death clinics, there is no portable pipe borne water, many Nigerians are living in slums or as destitutes while the ruling elites loot the treasuries to buy choiced properties in Dubaiand Europe where no one lives. Even the informal settlements that our people built themselves without government help had been stolen by state land grabbers in places like Makoko; Badia; Ilubirin; Tejuosho market; Otodo Gbame, and others without following international standards on evacuation and relocation of mass housing areas and in clear negation of judicial pronouncements. This is unfair to a people that really need low-cost social housing units enmasse. Public education is not only underfunded but consciously castrated to pave way for private education institutions and no guaranteed social welfare scheme for Nigerians.
The country has become a society where amidst plenty, the majority goes starving and the elites loot more than they can ever spend in their combined lives span. We hear of suicide every day. And the masses groan the more. It is common knowledge that the recession still persist, and only a few in the business class are making the billions. All these are ailments that we have diagnosed over and over again. When corruption bedevils a society, development would go amiss, peace will be eluded, and security would be in tatters!
EFFECTS OF CORRUPTION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, PEACE AND SECURITY
It is correct to assert without any iota of contradiction that Nigeria needs to tackle the monster of corruption before it can effectively embark on its flight to development. What is however worrisome is whether the government, the ruling class and Nigerians realize the enormity of the task of the campaign as manifestly confusing and sometimes conflicting signals are what can generally be discerned by observers. For instance, no state, local government or government agency has openly come with its version or acceptance of the dire need for an anti-corruption policy.
In recent period also, there are obvious cases of dysfunctionalism in the prosecution of the anti-corruption campaign. There is the glaring lack of synergy and absence of coordination among the various anti-corruption agencies [ACAs], as well as between and among the ACAs and other relevant law enforcement and security agencies.The most recent example is that involving the botched attempt by the EFCC to arrest the retired Director Generals of both the DSS and the NIA.Acting on a warrant of arrest issued after the failure of both Ex-DGs to honour invitations with the EFCC, the agency made an attempt to execute the warrant of arrest which also included a search warrant to search their residences. The EFCC operatives were however prevented from executing the warrants by DSS officers, a situation that led to a standoff which lasted more than 10 hours in broad daylight. This arrogant display of official lawlessness is not only reprehensible but an indictment of the President and his team failure to walk his talk on the corruption anti-corruption campaign.
This is not the first time however that similar scenario will be played out. We had something similar when the EFCC raided the homes of some serving judges, and arrested them, with both the EFCC and the NJC trading accusations as to who was to blame for the lack of cooperation which prompted the EFCC to act the way it acted.
Also, the unfolding Mainagate drama speaks volumes as to the absence of coordination within the government. Not only are the two most senior bureaucrats of the government – the Head of Service and the Chief of Staff pitted against each other, but so also are several organs of the government, including the ministries of interior and Justice, as well as the Federal Civil Service Commission [FCSC]. In the same regards, we can also cite the recent public disagreement between the Minister of State for Petroleum Affairs, and the Group Managing Director [GMD] of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation [NNPC] over acts of insubordination and alleged breach of statutory limits for contract approval by the GMD.Given that in this specific instance, the President is also the substantive Petroleum Minister, it begs the question, how this could have happened under the watch of the President. And it also raises the question as to what the Federal Executive Council [FEC] actually really deliberates upon during its weekly midweek meetings.
Perhaps nowhere else is the consequences of corruption more glaring as in the situation with internal security and the economy. The on-going investigation into the dare devil sharing of funds allocated for combating the insurgency in the North East is a vintage example.
We continue to have a situation where with all the plethora of security outfits at Federal and State levels, all by their legal mandate performing policing and therefore internal security roles and functions; we still have huge and significant gaps with internal security.Kidnapping, armed robbery, gangsterism and cultism, as well as rural banditry and the now seemingly intractable conflict between Herders and Farmers; have all continued to grow in intensity and fester like untreated sours on our body polity.
Compounding this as a significant driver is the unprecedented levels of poverty, inequality, and unemployment – particularly youth unemployment.The police and other security outfits performing policing and internal security duties including Road Safety, Civil Defence, VIO, and all the retinue of paramilitary units and neighbourhood watches established by state governments; lack adequate training, facilities, equipment, welfare conditions, and all the necessary infrastructure required to support effective policing and provide adequate internal security cover.
A core and central part of the problem however is thus this absence of coordination, and the inability to effectively deploy in a complementary manner the available internal security resources in the country.
A government and administration that is torn apart by internal strife, a regime bedevilled with mutually antagonistic internal disputes cannot however be well positioned to provide the political leadership and strategic oversight required to achieve the anti-corruption war of the administration and the needed level of coordination to improve internal security situation
It is pathetic to note the increasing militarization of the polity, yet the Nigeria Police Force and other security agencies are notorious as nest of corrupt practices. There is an ongoing campaign to scrap the Special Anti- Robbery Squad (SARS) which epitomizes a dangerous, violent corrupt security body. Rather than address the fundamentals, we continue to witness repressive militarization of the society. The Government continues to demonstrate its commitment to draft the Armed Forces more and more into internal security duties and operations. The result is that according to the Internal Police Service Association, our own Police Service is the worst performing police force with respect to internal security among 127 countries whose internal security situation was assessed.
It is curious to note that just as we have the Anti-Corruption Task Force, as well as other task forces, yet the experience is gloomy and the outcome has been increasing levels of dysfunctionality and systemic failure.The only sane and strategic conclusion to be drawn is that coordination, and building synergy is not synonymous with holding meetings. Government must show seriousness by removing all the square pegs in round holes so that corruption can be sent to oblivion once and for all. It is now clear to whoever is honest that there is aneed for all the government agencies to have unity of purpose. There is no way we can kill corruption when some other agencies are openly fighting EFCC or there is entrenched inter-agencies rivalries instead of collaboration
We in CACOL want to call on President Buhari to put his house in order and address the recent internal sabotages against the much-acclaimed Anti-corruption war.
We in CACOL also want to say that economic Development is one of the major ways corruption can be killed. The Buhari government must make bold to start the conscious mass re-industrialization of the country. The rate of unemployment can be drastically reduced if the 2018 budget invests in massive industrialization and capital investment through the revival of public industries and creation of new ones. When industrialization is effected accordingly, there will be less primitive money to steal by those in government and their cronies. This is the logic we have been arguing for a long time now. This country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder if corruption is not killed.
We also want to note that the judicial frustration of anti-corruption cases must be addressed by the Buhari government if there is any seriousness. The office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice needs to be separated and overhauled especially as its strategic hold on the outcome of the anti-corruption war is highly significant. The power of that office portends a great danger for the survival of our democracy.
Finally, we call on the President to start rejigging this non-performing cabinet. The combined ministries of Works, Housing, and Power has been lukewarm and helps vigorously as leakage for corruption especially as the combined ministry has gotten the largest chunks in budgetary allocations since the inception in 2015. Government needs express qualitative functionality in a way that keeps development in the front burner. Performance helps to keep corruption at a low pace. It is trite to emphasise that the refusal or inaction in executing the planned dualisation of Lagos-Ibadan express way, Ojo-Badagry, Onitsha East road and rehabilitation of many roads that are in state of total dis-repair becoming death traps is an indictment of this unwieldy three-star ministry.
We thank you once again for your prompt attendance.
“ A House Divided Against Itself Can Never Stand ”
In less than a month, there are several reports of incidences of inter-agencies clashes especially between officers of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Department of State Securities (DSS) in a manner lacking all the paraphernalia of civil governance guarded by entrenched decorum, protocols, rules and patriotic responsibilities.
In a brazen display of national disgrace and embarrassment, the EFCC and DSS flexed muscles in gangsteric style when the anti-corruption agency wanted to arrest a former Director General of DSS, Ekpenyong Ita, and the same fiasco was displayed at the residence of the former Director General of Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NIA), Mr. Ayo Oke. The operatives of the two security bodies lay armed siege against each others, brandishing sophisticated weapons, taking pictures like yoyo kids for hours.
This act in itself is not only condemnable but it is symptomatic of a larger ailment afflicting our nation. Nigeria is held at captive in a permanent siege by the bankrupt and degenerate ruling class who do not respect the constitution and the citizens aspirations better life and socio-economic advancement in the same way the DSS and EFCC are pursuing a grand design to stalemate President Muhammadu Buhari anti-corruption campaigns. More importantly, the security forces in the country are not suffering from bringing forward the military mentality during the military absolute despoliation of governance in the country but act according to their conception. The security force in Nigeria were established by colonial dispensation as “ Forces of Occupation”, decades after, we are yet to purge these bodies from these idiosyncrasies and civilinised, constitutionalised and democratized their operations.
It is a trite fact that the EFCC and DSS are creation of laws and should be accordingly guarded without this menace of inter-agency clashes. The EFCC, like its sister organizations Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), was established by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 and deriving further legal sinew from the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), African Union Convention on Preventing and combating Corruption, ECOWAS Protocol on Corruption, UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC). The DSS on the other hand, though as an intelligence organization, there are various enactments, Instruments and protocols given it powers and regulating its operations, mechanism and jurisdictional demarcation.
Thus under normal and abnormal circumstances, there should not be any valid reasons for the two agencies to have jurisdictional clashes. These agencies are supposed to work together, their operations are meant to be complementary not contentious and antagonistic. We are clear that there breaches by the parties leading to this clashes which must be quickly probed by the Presidency and stopped immediately.
CACOL calls on Mr. President to urgently call the pointsmen of the two organizations to order before the tear eachothers’ jugular and shred into dirty pieces this administration’s commitment to prosecute without resting the campaigns to eliminate corruption from our national psyche and menu.
Justice Walter S. Nkanu Onnoghen GCON Chief Justice of Nigeria
Supreme Court of Nigeria
Three Arms Zone
URGENT CALL FOR THE REMOVAL THOSE WITH CORRUPT PROCLIVITY IN THE RECENTLY CONSTITUTED COMMITTEE TO TRY LOOTERS
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL welcomes the decision of the National Judicial Council, NJC to constitute a committee dedicated to the trying of looters of the commonwealth of Nigerians.
Sir, our organization, was up till December 28, 2016 known as Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders. An aggregate of human rights; community based, civil society organisations and individuals with anti-corruption and openness in governance agenda across Nigeria. It is a non-political, non-religious, non-sectarian, non-profit organisation.
We find it pertinent to call on you and your honourable office to reconsider the appropriateness of some members of the recently constituted committee by NJC on trying the looters of our commonwealth based on their apparent corrupt antecedents.
We are convinced that with the task before the said committee and the sensitivity of it, the NJC ought to constitute the body with people of impeccable credentials in terms of incorruptibility and glaring integrity.
As an organization that has been following the efforts of your Lordship particularly the recent positions being put forward by you against the behemoth called corruption and we believe it is imperative to forestall whatever will frustrate your noble intentions.
Justice Ayo Salami and people like Olisa Agbakoba are good nominees because of their track records in public space for the committee but one cannot say the same about some other persons basically because they apparently have baggage of corrupt practices. There are some lawyers on the committee who have clearly demonstrated that as long as they get their ‘fat briefs’, the learned fellows would defend the corruption cases against their clients. Morally and ethically, Lawyers like Wole Olanipekun, SAN, and J B Dauda, SAN have no business being on the committee based on their antecedents of defending suspected corruption criminals.
Your Lordship, the lawyers we are talking about have been persistent in defending suspected corruption criminals and helping looters with the benefit of their knowledge of law to wriggle through the lacunae to escape justice. Their regular justification has always been “we are only doing our work”.
It is against the foregoing that we are urging you not to take the risk of allowing people who are corrupt or have allegations of corruption that can distort your good intentions on the committee. We believe that the present government’s efforts on anti-corruption have its gains that are commendable and with judiciary rising to the occasion, we can end the repeated starts we have been making at excising corruption from our country.
Lastly, your Lordship, we call for a thorough and clinical screening on all the members of the committee to establish, and made public, their true qualifications upon which they are so trusted to be on such a quintessential body. The judiciary remains the last hope of the common people; in a situation where the Judiciary can longer serve the purpose of its creation, it becomes anachronistic, useless, and self-help is becomes the only hope, which is a recipe for anarchy.
Long Live, Nigeria!
Yours in service to humanity,
Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL