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 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 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”.
Today marks the 19th year of our nascent democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of this administration. I am thankful to Almighty God for bringing us thus far. This administration came at a time that Nigerians needed Change, the Change we promised and the Change we continue to deliver. We have faced a lot of challenges on this journey and Nigerians have stood by us in achieving the three cardinal points of this administration namely; Security, Corruption and the Economy.
2. The commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day is a celebration of freedom, a salute to the resilience and determination of Nigerians and a recommitment by Government to keep its promise to lead Nigeria into a new era of justice and prosperity.
3. Public safety and security remains the primary duty of this Government. Before this Administration came into being 3 years ago, Boko Haram held large areas of land spanning several Local Governments in the North East.
4. Today, the capacity of the insurgents has been degraded leading to the re-establishment of authority of government and the release of captives including, happily, 106 Chibok and 104 Dapchi girls, and over 16,000 other persons held by the Boko Haram.
5. In order to minimize the impact of the insurgency on Internally Displaced Persons, Government has established secure IDP Camps and has improved the mechanism for the distribution of basic aid, foods and essential commodities using various strategies in collaboration with local and international Organizations.
6. Efforts are in process for resettlement of IDPs in their home communities by providing schools, hospitals, clinics, water and sanitation to facilitate a quick return to economic activities. Government is similarly implementing de-radicalization and rehabilitation programmes to facilitate sustainable peace and development.
7. The unfortunate incidences of kidnappings, herdsmen and farmers clashes in several communities which have led to high number of fatalities and loss of properties across the country is being addressed and the identified culprits and their sponsors shall be made to face the full wrath of the law. All the three tiers of Government are presently engaged with communities and religious organizations to restore peaceful co-existence among Nigerians.
8. I want to commend members of the Multinational Joint Task Force drawn from Niger, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and our own country in collaboration with the International Community who are assisting in the fight against insurgency in the North East. I also commend the gallantry of members of our Armed Forces and other security agencies that have continued to provide security for lives and properties across the country. State and Local traditional authorities are helping with much needed intelligence in this fight against insurgency.
9. This administration is pained over the grievous loss of lives and properties occasioned by the carnage of insurgency and other forms of criminality in the country. I wish to assure Nigerians that we will not rest until all criminal elements and their sponsors are brought to justice. Government is boosting the capacity of our security agencies through recruitment of more personnel, training and procurement of modern equipment, enhancement of intelligence gathering as well as boosting their morale in the face of daunting challenges.
10. The Niger Delta Region has enjoyed relative peace through social inclusiveness and cooperation of the Elders and the good people of the region. Government is committed to implementing the comprehensive peace, security and development plan for the region. The environmental clean-up of the region which commenced with the launch in Bodo, Ogoni in June, 2016 is progressing satisfactorily. Furthermore farming assets are being revived and investors in cocoa and palm oil plantations are showing serious interest.
11. The second primary object of this Administration is to fight corruption headlong. Like I have always said, if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will destroy the country. Three years into this Administration, Nigerians and theinternational community have begun to applaud our policies and determination to fight corruption. We are more than ever before determined to win this war, however hard the road is. I therefore appeal to all well-meaning Nigeriansto continue to support us in this fight.
12. Various policy measures already put in place to stem the tide of corrupt practices are yielding remarkable results. Some of these key reform policies include:
a. The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.
b. The Whistle-Blowing Policy has helped to recover over N500 Billion;
c. The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit set up with a mandate to validate controls, assess risks, prune personnel costs, ensure compliance with Public Financial Management reforms has helped to identify and remove over52,000 ghost workers from the Federal Government MDAs Payroll;
d. The Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) aimed at expanding tax education and awareness has offered the opportunity for tax defaulters to regularise their status in order to enjoy the amnesty of forgivenesson overdue interest, penalties and the assurance of non-prosecution or subject to tax investigations.
e. The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-IbadanExpressway, East West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2ndNiger Bridge.
13. The fight against corruption through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has resulted in recoveries of Billions of Naira, as well asforfeiture of various forms of assets. This alongside other efforts has improved Nigeria’s international image and regional cooperation.
14. We have retained the services of one of the world’s leading assets tracing firms to investigate and trace assets globally. This is in addition to the exploitation of provisions of existing Treaties, Conventions as well as BilateralAgreements with Multilateral bodies and Nations. Nigeria has also signed Mutual Legal Assistance Agreements to ensure that there is no hiding place for fugitives.
15. This Administration has therefore focused on revamping the ailing economy it inherited in 2015. In 2016, Government executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget. The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium term plan – the EconomicRecovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.
16. The broad strategic objectives of the ERGP were to; Restore and sustain economic growth; Build a globally competitive economy; and Invest in our people. The implementation of the ERGP has started yielding results. TheNational Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.
17. Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May, 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January, 2017.
18. Recently, Government conducted Focus Labs in three key sectors of the Economy namely, Agriculture & Transport, Manufacturing and Processing as well as Power and Gas. These have yielded significant prospects forinvestments and Job creation to the tune of US$ 22.5 billion with a potential for creating more than 500,000 jobs by 2020. These investment generation initiatives are expected to increase capital inflows in the form of foreign directinvestment. There is a high prospect that the cumulative investments from this first phase of the Labs will hit US$39.2 billion by 2025.
19. Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other countries has been cut down by90% which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.
20. The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as a means to graduating our citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support. The major strategic objective is to restore livelihood, economic opportunities and sustenance for the poor across the country. The SIP programmes and projects include:
a.Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme.
bThe Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states. Less privileged Nigerians are now being paid N5,000 monthly stipendin 9 pilot States of Bauchi, Borno, Cross River, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Osun and Oyo. Eventually the scheme will cover all the 36 states of the federation including the FCT.
c. Under the Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme – About 264,269 loans had been disbursed to 4,822 societies in the 36 States and FCT, while another 370,635 are awaiting release of funds.
d. N-Power Job creation Scheme is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000 youths while the next batch of 300,000 have been selected, verified and would soonbe deployed across the 36 States and the FCT. Furthermore, 20,000 non-graduate volunteers have also been selected to kick off the N-Build programme in collaboration with the National Automotive Design andDevelopment Council and the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria.
21. In the area of power generation, Nigerians from all parts of the country continue to report better power supply and less use of generators. This underscores the effectiveness of the methodical plan to deliver incremental anduninterrupted power supply to our homes, markets, offices and factories.
22. The country achieved 5, 222.3 MW representing the highest peak of power generated onto the national grid and delivered to customers in December, 2017. With new facilities, repairs and rehabilitations by Government andprivate investors, generation capability now exceeds 7,500 MW.
23. This Administration is committed to lawful interventions to ensure the operators of the distribution business live up to expectations especially in the areas of distribution capacity, service delivery, collection efficiency, andmetering to eliminate contentious estimated billing.
24. The Transportation Sector continues to undergo a series of reforms in order to sustain the international best practices and ensure safety and security. The nation’s major airports have witnessed reconstruction of runways, installation of navigational equipment and new international terminals due for commissioning in Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Enugu. Bilateral Air Services Agreements between Nigeria and the Governments of other countries willsignificantly open up new flight routes.
25. As a result of strict regulatory and compliance policies, Nigeria retained her Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Category 1 status, after a routine international audit. Recently, a new Maintenance Repair and Overhaulfacility with capacity for aircraft C-checks and other comprehensive levels of maintenance was established in Lagos. This would save the country an estimated $90m annually.
26. Giant strides have been recorded over the past three years to improve road transport infrastructure in all geopolitical zones of the country.
27. The Railway Sector has also received tremendous attention as this Administration is committed to the goal of linking all State capitals in the Federation by rail network to ease the movement of goods and passengers.
28. The Education Sector especially at tertiary level has continued to witness expansion in order to improve access to higher education by millions of youths in Nigeria. Over the last three years, Government has approved theestablishment of 1 new Federal Polytechnic, granted licenses for the establishment of 4 State and 14 private-owned Universities as well as 12 private Polytechnics.
29. Government has also continued to support the implementation of various initiatives aimed at improving the quality of Basic Education delivery. Thus, it has ensured proper funding at the Basic Education level with thedisbursement of N42.2 billion UBE Matching Grant to 26 States and the FCT, N851.5 million Special Education Grant disbursed to 23 States and private providers of Special Education and N2.2 billion Teachers ProfessionalDevelopment Fund to 33 States and the FCT.
30. The Federal Government has continued to support fiscal sustainability at the sub-national governments through the implementation of the Budget Support Facility which was accompanied by the 22- point Fiscal SustainabilityPlan. Thus, bailouts funds were made available to States to ease their fiscal challenges and other obligations including payment of salaries.
31. In addition, a total of 73 Ecological Fund projects for the control of gully erosion in different communities across all geopolitical zones have been completed in the last three years and are undergoing commissioning while 53 other projects are ongoing. The execution of these projects has generated 357 skilled jobs and 1,350 unskilled jobs during this period.
32. It is pertinent to also make mention of the immeasurable contributions of the Nigerian woman to national development and advancement of democracy, over the last three years. The government and people appreciate you all asmothers of our great country.
33. My dear country men and women, as we all celebrate our democratic experience, let us resolve to avoid hatred and intolerance; we can only achieve our objectives in an atmosphere of harmony and peaceful co-existence.
34. Finally, the up-coming months will usher us into another season of general elections. Let me use this opportunity to urge us all to conduct ourselves, our wards and our constituencies with the utmost sense of fairness, justice andpeaceful co-existence such that we will have not only hitch free elections but also a credible and violence free process.
35. In few days to come, I will be joined by many promising young Nigerians to sign into law the “Not Too Young to Run” Bill
36. I thank you for your attention.
37. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
*Being the full text of the 2018 Democracy Day Broadcast by President Buhari.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership CACOL has strongly condemned acts of brigandage and obstruction of justice displayed by supporters of former Governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau who was yesterday arraigned before a Kano State High Court over an alleged fraud of N950m.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran, while expressing the Centre’s views, decried a situation whereby ordinary Nigerians who are the direct victims of corrupt practices would make themselves available to be rented as a crowd by the same politicians that mortgaged their future through their insatiable stealing of the commonwealth entrusted to their care.
Mr. Adeniran stated that: “As much as our law provides that even for corruption charges, every accused person remains innocent until proven guilty, we implore accused persons and their supporters to note that the process of justice and equity is sacrosanct and requires that caution is applied so that the course of justice is not perverted or compromised in any way.
“We deem it necessary to remind Nigerians of the fact that Corruption has neither tribe nor religion as its ravaging effects could be felt by all and sundry, especially ordinary Nigerians that are left with no cover. We therefore appreciate the fact that Alhaji Shekarau did not abscond but made himself available for trial to respond to the allegation levelled against him.
We also need to caution his followers on the right attitude to display during his court appearances. In the same vein, we want to appreciate our law-enforcement agents for bringing the situation under control without undue casualties, while we recommend speedy trial and conclusion of the case so that the course of justice is not only served, but seen to be served.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has lauded the arraignment of the Secretary to Rivers State Government, Mr Kenneth Kobani for money laundering.
In a statement issued by Mr Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, he noted that the six-count charge brought against the duo of Kobani and one Samuel Okpoko, bordering on money laundering involving a sum of N750m, was another bold step in tackling the hydra-headed monster of corruption in the country. It is noteworthy that the exhibits in this case are part of the infamous $115m, Diezani Alison-Madueke scam which were clearly proceeds of corruption.
Mr. Debo Adeniran stated that, “For every million Naira or Dollar stolen or misappropriated by any Government official and their cronies, millions of Nigerians are directly deprived of access to education, good roads, electricity and other social amenities and the right to life through good Medicare. This is why like Caesar’s wife; those who have being put in positions of public trust must rise above board by accounting for every penny in their care.
“We commend EFCC and ICPC for their patriotic zeal to rid our land of evils of corruption and provide the accused the opportunity to clear their names if they are innocent of the charges proffered against them. We also advise that this case and many others like them should be clinically, diligently and fairly prosecuted and concluded. Whoever turns out culprits should be made to suffer for their wicked acts while proceeds of the crime should be completely retrieved and repatriated to their original source to relief long-suffering Nigerians and serve as a deterrent to others. If however, they are found innocent of the charges, they should be promptly released and adequately compensated for the moral and material damages they could have suffered. It will also send a strong signal that no matter how long it takes, the seemingly slow-grinding wheel of justice will eventually catch up with whoever is involved in corruption crimes.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, received news about the allegations of mismanagement and ‘outright pilfering’ of $16b (Sixteen billion Dollars) through power projects during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure with a measure of caution while calling for the setting up of a probe panel to officially ascertain how much was actually spent, on what and where, and bring culprits to book, if any.
Mr Debo Adeniran, CACOL Executive Chairman, recalled how the nation was taken aback when under the erstwhile president’s successor in office, President Umar Yar’ Adua, it was alleged that Obasanjo’s government had spent about $16b on electricity without anything substantial on ground after his tenure. But a probe panel set up by the then National Assembly exculpated ex-President Obasanjo of any wrongdoing while insisting that the figure was unduly exaggerated. This much has been reiterated by the spokesman to Olusegun Obasanjo, Mr KehindeAkinyemi, who revealed that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo never claimed to have spent the bandied sum of $16b on power projects and that aside from the allegation, what was spent could be seen in the seven National Integrated Power Projects and 18 (eighteen) gas turbines. Mr Akin Oshuntokun, spokesman for the Obasanjo-led Coalition for Nigeria, CNM, also echoed a similar view by pointing out that based on several investigations that had been carried out on the matter and reports compiled, it was clear Obasanjo only spent $6.3bn (Six Billion, Three Hundred Million Dollars) on the power sector throughout his eight-year tenure.
The CACOL Coordinator went further, “Our checks revealed that during 1999-2007 when Obasanjo held sway, the Federal Government built six gas power plants now supplying electricity to the national grid. They include Afam II (276mw), Papalanto (330mw), all completed by May, 2007, a fifth plant at Alaoju, Delta State (545mw), was under construction while a sixth plant was being constructed at Ikot-Abasi, Akwa Ibom state (145mw). It was a state government partnership with FGN.
‘Also during the same period, six states initiated power projects under the NIPP Program with FGN support at Sapele, Egbema, Ehobor, Gbaram, Calabar and Omoku; rehabilitated existing power plants at Kainji, Egbin and Shiroro, which were all performing far below capacity due to accumulated neglect. In all of this, our position remains that, as an organization that prides itself as a coalition for exposing, shaming, and consigning corruption to the dustbin of history while encouraging openness in leadership without minding whose ox is gored, we hereby recommend setting up of an impartial and competent probe panel to finally lay to rest, this ghost of how much Obasanjo’s administration actually spent on power projects during its 8-year tenure and expose any shady deals therein while bringing culprits to book. This practical approach must also be patiently applied in other identified areas of corruption.
As the on-going war against corruption gains momentum, prosecution of culprits has been visibly stalled by various tricks displayed by malefactors in a desperate bid to undermine the course of justice.
Based on our own observations which recent revelations have confirmed, corruption has permeated the psyche of Nigerians so much that many have accepted it as a way of life. To make matters worse, corrupt elite facing trial across the country have delayed the wheel of justice through cleverly thought out schemes and tricks in a bid to buy time in their various cases.
These stalled trials therefore result in indefinite postponement of corruption cases and reduction in deterrent punishments meted out to those convicted. It also results in: counter attacks by those arraigned; disappearance of the alleged perpetrators and many more vices in the criminal justice system.
It is pertinent to point out that some notable corruption cases have been stalled by one shenanigan or the other, especially that of sudden illness that has been over-used by suspected corrupt leaders.
For instance, the case of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke stands out in this category. The former minister’s corruption cases have broken all known records in the past few years as she has been linked to a series of money laundering scandals that are too many to count. In order to curry sympathy for Allison-Madueke from the unwary public, a photograph of the physically-ravaged former Minister was circulated by the publisher of Ovation magazine, Dele Momodu, who confirmed that she had been receiving treatment for breast cancer. This was despite the fact that she had denied such reports before corruption allegations against her started piling up.
Also, the Former presidential adviser on Niger Delta and Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Kingsley Kuku, was rumoured to have fled Nigeria after he was invited for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2015. Kuku later responded to the rumour by releasing images of his knee operation in the United States and denied being a fugitive. He later launched an unsuccessful attempt in court to block the EFCC from arresting him as he remained at large.
And just recently, Former National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, made a dramatic entrance into an Abuja Federal High Court on Monday, when he was wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher to face his fraud trial. Metuh joins a long list of Nigerian politicians who have developed health challenges after being accused of one form of corruption or the other.
The present anti-corruption war must result in the plugging of gaping holes and the blocking of the conduit pipes of corrupt and sharp practices to avoid a backsliding to the culture of corruption we are gradually leaving behind as a nation.
As such, CACOL calls on the various anti-graft agencies operational in the country to devise counter measures to ensure that these attempts to stall the course of justice are resisted. We also implore the Federal Government not to allow tricks by those seeking to escape the full wrath of the law to dampen its zeal in the attempt to holistically eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
BEING THE TEXT OF PRESS CONFERENCE ADDRESSED COMRADE DEBO ADENIRAN, EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN, CENTRE FOR ANTI-CORRUPTION AND OPEN LEADERSHIP (CACOL) HELD ON THURSDAY, 8TH MARCH, 2018 AT THE HUMANITY CENTRE, OJOKORO-IJAIYE, LAGOS
“A Man stung by wasp, fears the buzz of a house-fly” – Igbo Proverb
As we welcome you; our friends and compatriots from the media, we must commence this conference with a truism. We are in the hub of sublime maneuvers by political war-horses to position themselves as likely next heir-apparent to deceive unwary electorates and gain the unfettered access to our collective patrimony. A popular saying goes that once bitten, twice shy but Nigeria has been severally bitten, serially raped by public officers of all hues, shapes and gabs that we need to be extremely cautious as we approach the 2019 general elections.
This month’s press conference coincides with the International Women’s Day, consequently CACOL is using this occasion to express our strong solidarity with the women of Nigeria, Africa and the World as the day is being commemorated across the globe. We identify with the struggles and pains of women in this contemporary World dominated by patriarchy and capitalism. We believe the engendering of gender equity, social justice and egalitarianism in society is a precursor to liberation of women and all oppressed strata of the people of the world. We thus remain in solidarity with the struggles of women focused on ensuring equity and social justice until victory forever. In line with theme for this year, ‘Press for Progress’, we call for the intensifying of the efforts of women and men to move the World, Africa and Nigeria toward an egalitarian society where the mode of co-existences amongst different classes, people and gender will be socially, economically and politically harmonious. Freedom cometh only via struggle.
As the 2019 elections approaches, we are most concerned that Nigerians are worn out with forlorn promises and hopes dangled by politicians that democratic rule would bring the country to Eldorado. Our people fought valiantly to overthrow the burden of military dictatorship demanding and rightly so their rights to humanity and democratic governance, the glorious human rights and pro-democracy crusades were littered with a lot of bloodied heads, broken bones and lost souls but the spirits of Nigerians remained high till the return of democracy in May, 1999. Ever since the entire nation watched haplessly as succeeding democratic leadership rule roughshod over the citizens.
We are most concerned that pre-general elections year has assumed a dimension when things that ought not to happen occur. The most damaging reference point is that in 2014 just before the general elections, the Chibok girls were abducted just as similarly now; in 2018 before general elections the Dapchi girls have been abducted. Is it not possible to re-write the plot structure of the tragedy of our history? CACOL mince no words at insisting that as we get nearer to the next year’s elections, we are confident that there would be daring attempts to stampede the nation into precipice by global prophets of doom acclaiming that Nigeria would become a failed State.
The alarming records coming out to the public domain from all corners of the world show a country that is seriously hemorrhaging because of the brazen looting of its treasury by its greedy leadership. The country lie permanently in a state of comatose because of the injurious activities of the past administrations especially since even the return of democracy, Nigerians now feel that there cannot be anyway out to junction out of the vicious cycle of poverty, ignorance and diseases as they even see old notorious looters being re-packaged into new national positions while many serving public officers are paying mere lips service to the present administration’s commitment to change, for economic reconstruction and anti-corruption. If Nigeria must come out of the present economic doldrums, all Nigerians must be totally and irreversibly own the process for programmatic system change.
New generations of Nigerians must arise to truly change the colour, shapes and character of leadership, far away from expired former leaders parading themselves as vanguards of a third force of leadership. If President Muhammadu Buhari really wants to stamp his foot prints in the history of the country’s search for industrial and socio-economic advancement, he must change the narratives and consciously massify his clamour for anti-corruption in the younger generations of Nigeria. This is even much more imperatives when we consider how the following global rankings have revealed that Nigeria is speedily deteriorating:
· Annual Corruption Perception Index: Nigeria’s corruption perception worsened between 2016 and 2017 according to the annual Corruption Perception Index, CPI, by Transparency International. Nigeria slipped by 12 positions in the country rankings, from 136 in 2016 to 148 in 2017. The rankings are from 1 to 180, with 180 indicating the country having the worst perception of corruption.
· International Press Freedom Index: Nigeria’s ranking in the international press freedom index has witnessed steady declined since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office in 2015. The country is currently ranked 122 out of 180 countries according to the 2017 edition of the annual survey. The country fell from 111 in 2015 to 116 in 2016 and has fallen again to 122 in 2017, entering the “red zone” for press freedom.
· Rule of Law Index:Nigeria was downgraded by the World Justice Project (WJP) 2017/2018 Rule of Law Index. The country currently ranks 97 out of 113 countries, dropping one position from the previous ranking. The index measures the adherence to rule of law across 113 countries worldwide.
· RMB’s Africa Investment Attractiveness Index:Nigeria has fallen from the top 10 in the ‘where to Invest in Africa 2018’, Rand Merchant Bank’s (RMB) Investment Attractiveness Index. Nigeria fell from No 6 on the list to number 13. The Investment Attractiveness Index balances economic activity against the relative ease of doing business.
· Global Retail Development Index: Nigeria’s global ranking in retail development dropped from the 19th position recorded in 2016 to 27 out of 30 countries surveyed in 2017. Nigeria’s total sales from the retail sector dropped from $125bn in 2016 to $109bn in 2017. The Global Retail Development Index measures retail investments based on all relevant macroeconomic and retail-specific variables in developing countries.
· World Economic Forum Networked Readiness Index: Nigeria dropped seven places to rank 119 in the Networked Readiness Index ranking conducted by the World Economic Forum. The NRI is an indicator that measures a country’s ICT development by its ability to implement and take full advantage of ICTs.
· Nigeria’s ranking dropped to 127th in 2016 GCI analysis: Nigeria deteriorated by 3 places from 124th in 2015-2016 to 127th in 2016-2017 ranking released by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The GCI index measures the set of institutions, policies, and factors that set the sustainable current and medium-term levels of economic prosperity. The drop in ranking is attributed to two core pillars, the macroeconomic and financial market efficiency.
· Ernst and Young’s Africa Attractiveness Index: Nigeria declined to the 17th position on Ernst and Young’s Africa Attractiveness Index (AAI) 2017. This is a two-step decline from the AAI 2016 ranking. The 2017 report revealed that the number of new FDI projects in Nigeria declined to 51 in 2016 from 53 in 2015.
· World Internal Security and Police Index:Nigeria Police ranked bottom in Africa and 127th in the world, making the country, one with the worst police in the world according to the 2016 World Internal Security and Police Index (WISPI) released by the International Police Science Association (IPSA) and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP). Nigeria was followed by countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, and Pakistan and the report attributed Nigeria’s low rank to the rising cases of terrorism, corruption and low number of police personnel.The WISPI ranks the police based on 16 indicators around their ability to address internal security issues in their countries across four domains – capacity, process, legitimacy and outcomes.
· Worst Electricity Supply:Nigeria was ranked the second worst nation in electricity supply according to a World Economic Forum report released by The Spectator Index on the 15th of January, 2018. Nigeria suffered a power decline to 3,851 megawatts according to the ranking which puts only Yemen ahead of other countries like Nigeria, Haiti, Lebanon and Malawi.
WAKE UP CALL: These rankings were not fabricated but a sincere, statistical presentation of the continuous slide of the country, no matter the fact that officials have been accepting these only by denials. It would be recalled that the Minister of Agriculture recently claimed that Nigeria’s growth in rice production has led to decline in the export of rice in a certain Asian country which the nation immediately debunked just as the triple Minister of Housing, Power and Works claim of improved power generation is belied by the deteriorating supply of electricity situation in the country. CACOL consider this global rankings as a clarion call for Government and Nigerians to tighten up our girdle if are serious about taking Nigeria to greater heights. A cursory examination of number of contemporary social developments in the country will also validate these data.
Herdsmen Carnages and Terrorism: The nation is grappling with the orgies of violent attacks and bloodletting of herdsmen carnages and farmers clashes in several States of the Federation while government seems either incapable or without requisite political will to stem the tides. Many villages have been sacked in Benue, Taraba, Nasarawa and Plateau States with many people displaced from their homes, farmlands and workplaces. The grave implications of these ravages are very grave as the country risk high possibility of experiencing famine and outbreak of diseases from where these heinous carnages take place. Government must put in place security measures to stop these carnages and bring culprits to book.
Porous Borders, National Security Threats: Our territorial borders particularly with Chad, Niger, Sudan and Cameroun have become virile markets for smuggling of arms and ammunitions into the country. The borders are also routes for terrorists from other parts of the continent and elsewhere that daily infiltrates the country and perpetuates violent crimes. We consider this as manifest threat to our national security which relevant government’s security agencies must tackle headlong.
Greek Gift Called Minimum Wage: It is interesting to get news reports of the plans of the Federal Government to pay a new minimum wage in September this year. It is trite to state that there are statutory mechanisms for negotiation of minimum wage and it is not the business of Government to dangle the promises of a fantastic minimum wage especially when such promise is expected to come just a few months to general elections. Many patriotic observers have noted that there may be hidden agenda to this promise of Eldorado for workers. This is even more curious when most States are unable to pay the last minimum wage while many owe workers arrears of their monthly salaries. In most advanced industrial economies of the world, there is no periodic rituals of minimum wage as the priorities are always to fix and stabilize the economy so that inflationary indices does not make nonsense of the value of workers’ wages. We call on the labour sector and informal unions to think out of the box and task Government to address the ailing economy, reverse its negative downward slides so as to make the value of labour wages meaningful.
The Bulls in the China-wares Shop: Virtually all State Governors in the country can be effectively described as rampaging bulls in a China-wares’ shop except perhaps for Lagos and Ogun when it comes to the treatment of workers and retirees. The most notorious even go to the extent of not only bullying workers but sacking or threats of mass sacks and wanton terrorization of civil populace. The most notorious are Governors of Kaduna, Bayelsa, Oyo, Ekiti, Kogi and Ondo States. The Governor of Ondo State even has the brazen effrontery to contemplate privatizing and commercializing the educational sector in a State that its major vocation is education! Paradoxically, these Governors and other elected public officers smile home every month with their jumbo pay and unaccounted security votes. Nigerians should note these bullish leaders and exercise their franchise rights to take ownership of their States to secure their future.
The Outrageous Price of Development in Lagos: As much as this State has the envious record of almost been self-sustaining courtesy of its aggressive revenue drive, yet, the poor and toiling populace have no resting place as they are heavily taxed and brutally displaced from their homes and place of work. The general cry is for the State to put a human face to its developmental plans. It is demographically wrong to build a city only for the rich. CACOL has raised it at every opportunity that class is of essence in societal and city development. A mega city cannot exist without the masses. This is why CACOL joins all conscientious voices to call for the reversal of the Increment in the Land Use charge, and the re-introduction of the Tenement Rate. The economic sensitivity of the effect of the recent recession is to deliver a good level of welfarism to the people who are the worst hit and depressed so far.
Stem the De-industrialisation Slides of the Country: The major historic task before President Muhammadu Buhari is to shift decidedly from the socio-economic developmental paradigm of neo-liberalism imposed on the country by the Brettonwood global financial institutions’ hawks which has effectively turned the country into a veritable dumping ground for consumeric industrial goods of the advanced western world. Many industries in the country have winded down and the nation is presently de-industrialised by the economic policies imposed on us by the quisling ruling elites that are ever ready to be errand boys of western world in our corridors of power. These dangerous neo-liberal economic pills and those who prescribed them must be fumigated out of the Nigerian system. We must consciously embrace system change and a paradigm shift to alternative socio-economic order.
Shut Up. Make Atonement and Retire to Old Peoples’ Home: A couple of former Heads of States and their hordes have been befouling the country’s political space with their odious pronouncements in recent times. These are elements that when they were in power have boggling records of looting the country treasury dry. If they are genuine elder statesmen and men of conscience, what they should do is to beg the entire nation and public to make atonement by returning all their ill-gotten wealth into the coffers of the country. Nigerians should rise up and tell these types of bad experiment in our national leadership to atone for the lootings and mis-governance of the past because most of them apparently deserve to be behind bars.
Quintessentially, it is significant to point out that routine election as a democratic practice does not necessarily translate to collective control of the socio-economic existence of the people. Even though our constitution provides for government to ensure the socio-economic rights of the people whereby their security and social wellbeing is prioritized in a way that the wealth of the people is not concentrated in a few hands as required of a democracy, the aberration of this reality is what obtains in Nigeria.
Consequently, as the 2018 – 2019 elections approach and with the excruciating conditions of living of the majority, Nigerians must rise in unison to struggle for the assertion of their socio-economic rights as dialectically required components of a democracy under best practices. Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution should be the guide of the choices we make in the elections by ensuring that the governments at all levels commit to the security and social welfare of the populace before earning their votes.
The economic practice of neo-liberalism that has continued to be imposed on the country by successive governments is antithetical to democracy given that it has only succeeded in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The Bretton Woods institution dictated neo-liberal policies which have failed almost in every country it had been imbibed must be abandoned to achieve a socio-economically harmonious existence of the people.
Beyond elections, Nigerians must invigorate the struggles for social emancipation holistically because the present status quo will perpetually ensure penury in their lives if the system is not overhauled and replaced with a more humane one that would guarantee the social welfare and security of life and property.
WE PAY OUR TRIBUTES TO BEKO RANSOME KUTI ON THE OCCASION OF THE 12THBEKO ANNIVERSARY OF HIS HEROIC PASSAGE
The Beko Rights Klub, BRK, the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL and the Peoples Action for Democracy, PADare paying their homage to the heroic feats of Dr. Beko Ransome Kuti in the struggle for the freedom, equity and socio-political and economic justice on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of his revolutionary passage to commune with the ancestors.
The quintessential revolutionary, dogged fighter and crusader for democracy, social justice and human rights passed on 12 years ago, precisely on 10 February 2006. For us, that incident was only a passage to the other World as his spirit is still living in us and with us; his spirit continues to guide us in almost everything we do even beyond revolutionary activism.
The dogged fighter and crusader for democracy, social justice and human rights passed on after living and leading a life of commitment to the struggle for the prevalence of a socio-economic and political order that will ensure an egalitarian and harmonious societal co-existence. His voyage on such terrains witnessed confrontations with both military and civilian regimes that deployed all means possible to make the lives of the poor working and toiling people miserable. Beko, working with other compatriots contributed monumentally to the ousting of the military from government; the struggle against civilian dictatorship, the resistance against IMF/World Bank imposed policies such as the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), deregulation and corruption. As a matter of fact it was during the heat of the battle against deregulation that the renowned Medical Doctor passed on barely 4 months after the activist community incurred a similar colossal loss in the passage of Comrade Chima Ubani.
Beko Ransome Kuti was a foremost pro-democracy revolutionary activist who dared all the odds to play several roles in leadership of the struggles of the oppressed peoples of Nigeria for social emancipation. His monumental contributions to the ousting of military rule, the enthronement and deepening of democracy remain epochal and serve as sources of inspiration to the BRK and Nigerians generally. An indefatigable crusader and defender of human rights, democracy and good governance with exemplary leadership and bravery, Beko’s footprints on the sands of the struggle for an egalitarian society remain indelible and worthy of emulation.
Following the demise of Beko, and in appreciation of his historic roles we found it duty-bound to carry out annual activities that will immortalize the late colleague and ingrain the memory of the Hero in the hearts of those he left behind and their yet unborn generations. This we believe is the only way we can keep the memories in perpetuity. This is done annually to immortalize the ideals of Late Beko Ransome-Kuti. Thus we are inviting compatriots to join us as we commemorate his memory as follows:
THEME:No Democracy Without Socio-Economic Rights
DATE: February 15, 2018.
VENUE: Beko Garden, Anthony Village, Lagos.
TIME: 12.00 noon
NOTE: Procession starts by 10:00am from Obalende to Ikoyi Cemetery, for Wreath-laying Ceremony, and ends at Beko Garden, Anthony Village, Lagos.