LAGOS – Comrade Debo Adeniran, the nation’s frontline anti-corruption crusader and activist, on Friday May 15, 2020, turned 60.
Adeniran, Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), although marked the epoch making occasion without funfair, a cross section of activists held a colloquium in his honour.
The colloquium held at the Talk Hall, Angle 1706, Sango- Otta, Ogun State, attracted notable activists, although many could not be there physically due to the lockdown occasioned by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Although only about 17 participants were at the venue, most of the discussants joined online via Zoom. Expectedly, the colloquium centred on corruption, with the theme: ‘LaunderedLootasPotentialForeignReserve for an Economy: What Lessons from Nigeria’s Abacha’.
The colloquium was held under the auspices of ‘Debo Discussions’, an interactive forum inaugurated that day, meant to hold at regular intervals as a retirement engagement by the celebrant.
‘Debo Discussions’ is a forum meant to find meeting point on what is said, promised or meant by duty bearers (ruling elites) and what is understood, expected or desired by right holders (the citizenry) on socio-economic and political issues at different levels of government in Nigeria.
Personalities that graced the occasion, included Rt. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, former Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly; Barrister Femi Falana (SAN); Comrade (Barr) Femi Aborisade; Ogbeni Kolawole Isola, who represented Rt. Hon. Olakunle Oluomo, Speaker, Ogun State House of Assembly; Hon Kehinde Joseph, who represented Rt Hon Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker, Lagos State House of Assembly; and several others.
During the discussion, several observations were made by participants concerning looted funds in Nigeria. They noted that there had been too much emphasis on Gen. Sani Abacha’s loot, whereas there are still many more of such funds stashed away in foreign banks, while the culprits move about freely, just because they are still alive.
The participants also maintained that other past Heads of State suspected to have looted public treasury during their tenure in office, should also be probed and their loots recovered.
They stressed that such recovered loot could be used to provide critical infrastructures for the country.
One sore point they noted as unfortunate was that some of the petitions submitted to anti-corruption agencies by civil society organisations were not investigated.
The participants also observed that foreign countries which received the looted funds always paid them back without interests despite using them to develop their economies, but give stringent conditions to repatriate the recovered loot.
Participants at the colloquium also noted that Nigeria’s foreign reserve is denominated in U.S dollars, while America’s reserve is denominated in Gold, thereby making it less volatile.
They also lamented that Nigeria’s youth of today have not been showing much interest in assuming leadership positions.
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