Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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EX-ACCOUNTANT GENERAL: CACOL HAILS RULING ON INTERIM FORFEITURE OF FUNDS AND PROPERTIES

Press Release

 

EX-ACCOUNTANT GENERAL: CACOL HAILS RULING ON INTERIM FORFEITURE OF FUNDS AND PROPERTIES

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the ruling of the Federal Capital Territory High Court that ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and properties recovered from the former Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

 

In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “A statement recently released by EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said Justice M.A Hassan gave the order on Tuesday while ruling on a motion exparte marked M/1149/2022 and filed by the commission.

 

The commission had asked the court for an order of interim attachment/forfeiture of the properties in the schedule to the application, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive case in charge No. FCT, HC/CR/299/2022, Federal Republic of Nigeria V. Ahmed Idris and Others”.

 

The properties linked to Idris which were listed in the schedule for forfeiture include Kano City Mall/Al Ikhlas Shopping Mall at Mandwawarti, Kano; a one-storey Shopping Complex at Ladanai, Kano; Corner Shops at Ladanai, Kano; a duplex at Karsana, Abuja; Royal Duplex at Deneji Quarters, Kano and a Duplex at Plot 271, New Jersey Street, Efab Blue Fountain Estate, Abuja.

 

Nine properties linked to the second respondent, Mohammed Usman, which are located in Abuja, Niger, and Nasarawa States, were also ordered forfeited in the interim. They include plots of land with shops in Chanchaga Local Government Area of Niger State, 37 hectares of farmland with livestock located along Minna-Bida Road in Niger State, Bungalow flats at Gwarimpa, Abuja, Bungalow Buildings at Masaka, Nasarawa State, plots of land at Dutse Alhaji Abuja and 13 plots of land at Integrated City, Minna, Niger State.

 

 

We at CACOL are elated at this ruling, we have always believed in the principle of dignity of labour. It is so shameful and pathetic that some of those our youths are looking up to as professionals in their chosen field of endeavours are engaging in sharp practices. How else can one describe the situation where someone who is supposed to be a man of impeccable character, scrupulous and a role model to million others in his profession can easily soil his reputation by dipping his hand in the national cookie jar.  His likes have continually dragged the name of the country in the mud and are so bold to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth in public. This is why culprits of corruption need to be deprived of their evil accumulations, wherever and whenever they are found out, and made to face the consequence of their acts as a just supper”.

 

The CACOL Boss added, “We therefore hail the decision of the judge, Justice M.A Hassan to order the interim forfeiture of the said assets and funds of the accused after taking into consideration the evidences presented before the court. We hope the ruling of the court will serve as an eye opener to those who are still perpetrating this heinous crime against humanity in our various ministries and parastatals and make them have a rethink so that together we can all build and live in a corruption free society”.

 

 

Tola  Oresanwo

Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL.

cacolc@yahoo.com

08141121208

 

 

CACOL CELEBRATES 2022 INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY

9th December, 2022

Press Statement

CACOL CELEBRATES 2022 INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY

Around nineteen (19) years ago and precisely on October 31, 2003, the entire world through the international umbrella, the United Nations Convention number 58/4, declared every 9th of December each year as the World Anti-Corruption Day, in line with emerging concerns about what constitutes Corruption and its effects on societies, especially on the developing nations.

The 2022 International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) with the theme “Uniting the World Against Corruption” seeks to highlight the crucial link between anti-corruption and peace, security, and development. At its core is the notion that tackling this crime is the right and responsibility of everyone, and that only through cooperation and the involvement of each and every person and institution can we overcome the negative impact of this crime. States, government officials, civil servants, law enforcement officers, media representatives, the private sector, civil society, academia, the public and youth alike all have a role to play in this.

Corruption is a major impediment to peace, security and development. From education to the environment, from business to sports, from gender equality to access to justice, and more – corruption undermines all areas of society’s development.

Corruption, conflict and instability are meanwhile profoundly intertwined. Corruption not only follows conflict but is also frequently one of its root causes. It fuels conflict and inhibits peace processes by undermining the rule of law, worsening poverty, facilitating the illicit use of resources, and providing financing for armed conflict.

The leadership of the country has seen corruption as a monster that has to be destroyed lest it destroy the country itself. Corruption in Nigeria appears to be ubiquitous and takes many forms: from massive contract fraud to petty bribery; from straight-up embezzlement to complicated money laundering schemes; from pocketing the salaries of nonexistent workers to steering plum jobs to relatives and friends. It has indeed become a constant phenomenon. In 2012, Nigeria was estimated to have lost over $400 billion to corruption since its independence. In 2021, the country ranked 154th in the 180 countries listed in Transparency International’s Corruption Index. The fight against corruption has remained a constant priority for the Government of H.E. President Muhammadu Buhari since its inception in 2015. Corruption has been identified as one of the main spoilers of Nigeria’s ambition to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and, in particular, of its aspiration to lift more than 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years. The efforts made to prevent and counter corruption in its various manifestations have earned Mr. President the role of the African Union’s Anti-Corruption Champion.

Recently, the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced that the Nigerian government had realised at least N120 billion as proceeds from criminal financial operations since the Bill on Proceeds of Crime Recovery Management was signed into law earlier this year by President Muhammadu Buhari. His administration, through the anti-graft agencies, has arrested, detained and even prosecuted some public office holders, the latest being the country’s accountant-general for the staggeringly monumental fraud he’s been perpetrating for years but we want to see a situation where Mr. President is holding people to account. It is not just a few; it has to be holistic. We expect more firm actions from the president and that actually is missing in some instances. The use of state pardon to set convicted corruption criminals free should be discontinued because a convicted

Inasmuch as we want to appreciate the efforts of this administration in tackling corruption, we believe that more stringent penalties must be put in place and the judiciary must also cooperate to nip this shameful act in the bud in the country. We need to take a cue from other countries of the world that have taken anti-corruption fight to the level whereby all their citizens know that there are grave consequences for any act of corruption.

For example, in January 2021, China executed a former top banker accused of taking $260 million worth of bribes and other forms of corruption. Lai Xiaomin, the former chairman of Huarong — one of China’s largest state-controlled asset management firms — was put to death by a court in the northern city of Tianjin. The Chinese Supreme People’s Court, which reviewed and approved the execution order, was quoted as saying “the amount of bribes received by Lai Xiaomin was extremely large, the crime’s circumstances were particularly serious and the social impact was particularly severe”.

Although, we don’t support death penalty, but we are of the opinion that corruption cannot be effectively defeated in the country when convicted criminals get minimum jail sentences, plea bargaining and a “go and sin no more” verdict thereby having ample opportunity to enjoy their loots. The various anti-corruption agencies must tidy up their investigations, ensure diligent prosecution of corruption cases and the judiciary must ensure that corruption cases are speedily and timely dispensed with.

Government officials, appointed board members, heads of MDAs, and even Ministers most of whom are politicians or political appointees have constituted themselves into impediments for the smooth operation of these anti-corruption agencies. The fact that these agencies rely on these government officials and appointees for their expenditures to be approved and released, they are unable to do anything contrary to what these set of government officials dictate to them. The government officials direct the affairs of these anti-corruption and regulatory agencies and exercise absolute control over their activities. This has contributed to be a major clog in the wheel of progress to the agencies particularly in the area of carrying out their due diligence in investigation and prosecution. Until these impediments are removed, we should not expect the anti-corruption agencies to perform better than they are presently doing.

Against this backdrop, we suggest that the major anti-corruption and other regulatory agencies (i.e EFCC, ICPC, NAFDAC, NDLEA, SON etc.) should be given full autonomy or independence by funding them from first line charge, so that they would be removed from the control of various supervising Ministers who are politicians and who would want to protect their fellow politicians at all cost.

Government should remove incentives that make corruption intractable problems like pardoning corruption convicts which are capable of demoralizing investigators, witnesses, prosecutors and courageous judges who make convictions possible. Moreover, pardoned corruption convicts can also take revenge once they secure their freedom by going after investigators, witnesses, prosecutors and judges that convicted them.

The recently announced CBN’s policy which limits daily cash withdrawals to N20, 000 and weekly withdrawals of N100,000 for individuals is one that can open the corruption window in the long run. The policy did not take into consideration the people in the rural areas where everything is done in cash and bank’s presence in these areas is either relatively low or non-existent. The policy doesn’t seem to consider the unbanked and internet network deficient communities that have to travel several kilometers to resolve banking disputes and errors as well as those who don’t have usable telephone devices and the huge number of those who currently engage in POS business who may lose their source of livelihood if the policy is implemented as planned.

We at CACOL, are intensifying our Public Enlightenment campaigns through grassroots engagement and interventions. We are also vigorously intensifying our engagement of the Media and collaborating with relevant Stakeholders towards ensuring that corruption is finally extirpated or minimized within the body polity, in line with United Nations resolution against corruption.

Debo Adeniran  

Chairman, CACOL

cacolc@yahoo.com

08037194969

RESOLUTIONS REACHED AT THE CONSULTATIVE MEETING WITH SECURITY AGENCIES IN LAGOS STATE

RESOLUTIONS REACHED AT THE CONSULTATIVE MEETING WITH SECURITY AGENCIES IN LAGOS STATE ON PRIORITIZING ANTI-CORRUPTION AND ACCOUNTABILITY ISSUES DURING THE UPCOMING 2023 ELECTIONS IN LAGOS STATE: THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY AGENCIES ORGANIZED BY THE CENTRE FOR ANTI-CORRUPTION AND OPEN LEADERSHIP (CACOL) IN COLLABORATION WITH CIVIL SOCIETY LEGISLATIVE ADVOCACY CENTRE (CISLAC) HELD AT RIGHTS HOUSE, 43, ADENIYI JONES AVENUE, OFF OBA AKRAN AVENUE, IKEJA, LAGOS STATE ON WEDNESDAY, 30TH NOVEMBER, 2022.

Background:

The consultative meeting with representatives of security agencies was organized to dialogue with the representatives of security agencies in Lagos State on prioritizing Anti-Corruption and Accountability issues during the upcoming 2023 General Elections in Lagos State.

Those invited were representatives of various security agencies among who are the Nigeria Police, the Nigeria Army, the Nigeria Air Force, the Nigeria Navy, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, the Nigeria Customs, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Department of State Security Services, Federal Road Safety Corps, Lagos Neighbourhood Security Corps and some Media Organizations.

The meeting started with the introduction of participants and opening remarks by Tola Oresanwo, CACOL’s Director of Programmes. There was also a paper presentation, by Debo Adeniran, The Chairman of Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL). He highlighted the needs for the security agencies to collaborate and avoid inter agencies rivalry as the nation prepares for the forthcoming general election in 2023.

Observation:

It was observed during the meeting that:

1)    Safety and security of persons and properties is important for the conduct of free and fair elections.

2)    Electoral violence has become a recurrent decimal anytime there is general election since 1999 till date.

3)    Security is without doubt a key ingredient for a violence free election and for the process to be perceived as effective.

4)    Since 1999, security personnel of the various agencies have been mobilized to provide security during elections.

5)    Though the police, being the primary civil force are largely responsible for the election duties. The increasing involvement of various security agencies in the election duty is closely attributed to the high incidence and threat of violence at stages of the electoral process.

6)    The deployment of various security personnel during elections has in many cases, been associated with irregularities by incumbent authorities such as intimidation, electoral fraud, collusion with politicians to undermine free and fair elections and incompetence in handling problems at polling stations.

RECOMMENDATIONS

After discussions and deliberations with the representatives of the agencies, the participants made the following recommendations:

  1. Effective security during elections should not be equated with mere physical presence of security agents. It includes the presence of security agencies, and also their professional roles in terms of being impartial, protecting all political actors and voters and protection of electoral materials, venues, counting centres and prevention of violence during all the phases of the elections.
  2. Prior to deployment of security agents – before, during and after election – there must be proper briefings on roles and responsibilities.
  3. Security deployment must also be professionally executed to curb compromise by erring security officials.
  4. Security agents must be alive to their responsibilities in ensuring the safety and security of INEC officials, INEC infrastructures, voters and election observers, during and after elections.
  5. Law enforcement officials on election duty should ensure that electoral offences published by INEC are either prevented or controlled or do not take place on election days. These offences range from canvassing for votes; persuading any voter not to vote for any particular candidate or not to vote at all at the election; shouting slogans concerning the election; being in possession of any acid, offensive weapon or missile or wearing any dress or having facial or other decorations which in many events is calculated to intimidate voters; loitering without lawful excuse after voting or after being refused to vote; to the offence of voting or attempting to vote, when one’s name is not in the register of voters; among others.
  6. The curricula for the training of the police at all levels should include modules on democracy, elections, political parties and constitutional/statutory provisions on elections.
  7. The independence of the police force should be guaranteed by strengthening its autonomy from the control of the government of the day, the police force should be strengthened in areas of communication, weaponry and transportation for effective mobilization, deployment and enhanced performance.
  8. Inter/intra agencies rivalry while performing election duties should not be encouraged rather all security agencies should collaborate and see themselves as partners in progress working to achieve a common goal.
  9. Security agencies should investigate pre and post-election violence, and bring perpetrators to book. This will go a long way to improve participation in the elections and serve as deterrent to others.
  10. The media should mount pressure on security agencies to be more responsible, accountable and transparent in security provisioning especially during electioneering period.

Signed

Debo Adeniran

Chairman,

Centre For Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL)

cacolc@yahoo.com

dadnig@yahoo.com

08141121208

THIRTEEN PERCENT DERIVATION FUND: MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

Friday, November 25, 2022

 

Press Statement

 

THIRTEEN PERCENT DERIVATION FUND: MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

The principle of derivation as encapsulated under the proviso to Section 162 (2) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. It is geared towards providing recompense to the producers of any natural resources for the expropriation and sequestration of their rights to control and manage same, by the Nigerian State.

The percentage of revenue paid to the oil-producing states from the oil that is produced from their areas has been a matter of contention since oil was first discovered in Nigeria. The 1999 constitution provides that at least 13 percent of the revenue derived from natural resources should be paid to the states where it is produced, though there have been substantial delays in calculating and paying these sums. The federal government only began making payments in accordance with the increased allocation in January 2000, although they fell due from June 1999, and in practice has never paid the 13 percent minimum. Nonetheless, allocations from the federal government to the oil-producing states have increased markedly since 1999, rising to 25 percent of the amount paid out to states from the “federation account” in 2001 (the equivalent of just over U.S.$1 billion), from 12 percent in the second half of 1999 (or approximately $120 million). The main oil producing states – Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers – have about 10 percent of the population of Nigeria. These payments have not satisfied residents of oil-producing areas who feel they still do not receive adequate benefits from the oil. Individuals and groups from across the political spectrum in what is known as the “south-south” zone of Nigeria have demanded that the oil producing states assume “full control” over their natural resources, and pay tax from those revenues to the federal government. They also demand the repeal of a number of laws that give control over land and mineral resources to the federal government.

Despite claims of neglect and abandonment, investigation has revealed that governments of oil-producing states in Nigeria had over the years, failed to utilize the resources provided them to develop their states and the region. Data obtained from a series of reports from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, revealed that oil-producing states in Nigeria received N7.006 trillion as payments under the 13 per cent Derivation principle over the last 18 years, from 1999 to 2016.

The oil producing states are Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Edo, Bayelsa, Abia, Ondo, Imo, Anambra, and of recent, Lagos State. Analysis of the payments showed that from 1999 to 2003, N360.4 billion was paid to oil-producing states; N1.338 trillion were paid to the states between from 2004 and 2007; 2008 to 2011 saw the states receiving N2.36 trillion, while from 2012 to 2016, the states received N2.947 trillion. Ironically, the 2017 budget of all the states, inclusive of Lagos, stood at N3.165 trillion, about half of the amount received by the states from the Federation Account under the 13 per cent derivation principle.

The huge sum notwithstanding, the Niger Delta region is still suffering from massive infrastructure decay, widespread poverty and environmental degradation, among numerous others. The 13 per cent derivation fund has been a subject of controversy between the oil-producing communities and their various states government, with the former asking the Federal Government to stop paying the money directly to the communities and not into the coffers of the state.

The federal government has announced on several occasions the priority it gives to development in the Niger Delta, including by establishing a Niger Delta Development Commission. But the announcements have not led to significant improvements on the ground. In particular, little of the money paid by the federal government to state and local governments from the oil revenue is actually spent on genuine development projects: there appears to be virtually no control or proper audit over spending by state and local authorities-despite the federal government’s creation of an Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) with the mandate to investigate such wrongdoing

Recently, the revelation of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State that President Muhammadu Buhari approved and paid the arrears of the 13% derivation fund to Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Akwa Ibom states came like a bombshell. Wike spoke on the arrears during the inauguration of the N17billion Port Harcourt Campus of the Nigerian Law School. The governor said President Buhari’s gesture was the major source of revenue for his projects, including the flyovers, the law school and the cancer centre. He was quoted as saying: “Monies that were not paid to the Niger Delta states since 1999 mainly 13 per cent deductions, the President approved and paid all of us in Niger Delta states.” Wike repeated his comments at two other events afterwards.

Wike’s revelation has raised another series of questions such as what have the other governors who received a similar windfall been doing with their own? How much was received by each state? And did they just receive it and keep quiet? How will they expend it? Or will they just walk away with it or utilize it as campaign funds in an electioneering period like this or use it for other extraneous purposes that are not related to the yearnings and aspirations of the people of the state who are supposed to be the major beneficiaries? Another important question that comes to mind is how such conspiracy of silence was possible in a democracy and where there are a plethora of checks and balances put in place which is expected to put people in the know.

We at CACOL, would like to know the exact amount collected by each of the states involved, how the money was spent or is being spent. We would also use this medium to call on the anti-corruption agencies to investigate the governors of the states concerned including Rivers, so as to be sure that the quantity and quality of the projects executed is commensurate with the money collected.

Debo Adeniran

Chairman, CACOL

08037194969,

dadnig@yahoo.com,

cacolc@yahoo.com,

www.deboadeniran.com

References:

SPDC, People and the Environment: Annual Report 2002, p.10.

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/08/13-derivation-oil-producing-states-receive-n7trn-18-years/

CACOL’S SECRETARIAT GUTTED BY FIRE

2nd November, 2022

Press Release

CACOL’S SECRETARIAT GUTTED BY FIRE

 

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL’s National Secretariat located within the Humanity Centre, 610, Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, Ijaye Bus Stop, Ijaiye-Ojokoro, was gutted by fire early Wednesday morning.

In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “The Humanity Centre that houses headquarters of many civil society organizations, including the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, gutted fire earlier today after the office closed for the day’s commitments and locked the building yesterday. The immediate and remote causes of the inferno which gutted the ante room to the Director of Administration’s office are not known but electrical surge was suspected as the likely cause. Due to the fact that all doors to other offices were securely closed, the fire did not go beyond the office where it originated from, only the smoke passed through the openings around the entrances and left thick hoots on all the office equipment, furniture, fittings, walls and the floors of other offices”.

In their bid to curtail the fire, the first responders who happened to be the good people living around the area had to break the main access door and the windows of the office where the fire was raging, and eventually put it out. This was after the fire had destroyed office equipment, electronics, furniture and fittings valued at millions of naira. The only consolation is that no life was lost in the incident.

Some of the residents of the area, the estate agent to the premises Mr. Adeyemo, and the Chairman of CACOL called the Lagos State Emergency number (112) but instead of getting a favourable response from them they were being asked some frivolous and trivial questions.

The Chairman further remarked, “I am still amazed at the level of mediocrity displayed by the personnel of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA). I personally called the emergency number around 4:29 am and I was expecting to be attended to as someone who urgently need help but unfortunately despite the claim that they now have improved response time to emergencies, they were asking if I am at the scene of the incident, I told them the place is our office and we don’t sleep at the office, they further asked what is the magnitude of the fire and how sure am I that the fire is really burning the building”.

We are still at a loss concerning the cause of the fire, though we are not suspecting sabotage but the men of the fire service would have used their expertise to decipher the real cause of the fire had it been they responded to our call.

“Though we are grateful that no life was lost in the incident and we appreciate all those living in the neighbourhood who tried their best to put out the fire, we would like to use this medium to call on the Lagos State Government to go beyond the provision of safety and rescue infrastructures and equipment but also invest heavily in the area of training and retraining of the personnel of the emergency contact centre, who are the first line of contact so as to make them more efficient and responsive to the yearnings of the people during emergencies”.

Tola Oresanwo

Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL

cacolc@yahoo.com

08141121208

 

EX-CJN RESIGNATION OVER ILL HEALTH: CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS LEVELED AGAINST HIMMUST BE THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED – CACOL

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has reacted to the recent resignation of Chief Justice of Nigeria,Justice Tanko Muhammad over ill health.

 

In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, TolaOresanwo, on behalf of the Centre’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “The recent report about the resignation of the 17thChief Justice of Nigeria,Justice Tanko Muhammad is very laudable. First and foremost, we would like to commend the courage of the outgone Chief Justice of Nigeria for taking a bold step that is not too common in this part of the world. Although he resigned due to ill health, we hope other public office holders will take a cue from this action of the Ex CJN by quitting at the right time, especially when they have been alleged to commit some official infractions or what is popularly referred to as gross misconduct”.

 

It should be recalled that, Muhammad’s resignation followed quickly on the heels of the allegations of mismanagement of funds leveled against him by 14 justices of the Supreme Court. It was reported that the justices of the apex court, in a joint petition, accused the Ex CJN of poor welfare, among other ill-treatment being meted out to them. In the leaked petition, the 14 justices accused the CJN of abandoning his responsibilities and diverting funds meant for the running of the Supreme Court.This is an unprecedented development in Nigeria’s judicial history and it will go down in history as one of the highlights of the tenure of the outgone CJN. But the man in the eye of the storm Justice Muhammadin a statement by his aide, titled, ‘Re: State Of Affairs In The Supreme Court And Demand By Justices Of The Supreme Court’, denied the allegations.

 

“We at CACOL would like to state expressly that all the allegations leveled against the outgone CJN should be thoroughly investigated by the Nigerian Judicial Council (NJC), the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the various anti-corruption agencies in the country, swift prosecution should as well follow and he should be punished if found guilty of any of the allegations so as to deter others”.

 

The CACOL Boss added, “We would also like to congratulate Justice OlukayodeAriwoolaon his appointment as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria. We urge him to live above board and write his name in gold by carrying out extensive reforms in the judiciary that will facilitate speedy dispensation of justice like we have in other climes while carrying along other supreme court Justices”.

 

 

CACOL ON ICPC’s RAID OF ABUJA PROPERTY BELONGING TO MILITARY CONTRACTOR

The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has reacted to the recent raid of an Abuja property belonging to a military contractor for alleged money laundering by officials of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

 

In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, TolaOresanwo, on behalf of the Centre’s Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “The recent report about the raid on an Abuja property, is one that is bound to generate a measure of public comments and interests, due primarily to the kind of society we have inadvertently turned Nigeria into overtime and because it is coming at a time like this when the game of politics is being played all over the country.

 

However, crime has no other name, especially when it bothers on financial impropriety which we all agree is single handedly responsible for the downward socioeconomic situation of things we are facing today, as a country. This is why we need to commend, the sense of responsibility, promptness and due diligence with which the ICPCresponded to this case.

 

Although the Commission has come out to say the investigation is still ongoing, facts available for the time being indicate that the property is owned by the owner of K Salam Construction Company, a military contractor. From the raid, the Commission recovered money and other items from the property namely: N175,706,500; $220,965; G-Wagon; 2022 editions of BMW and Mercedes Benz cars; customized mobile phones; several designer wrist watches, including three Rolexes, and some property documents. Operatives of the Commission also arrested the Managing Director of K Salam Construction Company Nigeria Limited, Mr. KabiruSallau.

 

 

“We at CACOL would like to implore the anti-graft agency to intensify its investigation into the case involving this military contractor and come out to tell the Nigerian populace the gospel truth about it.We would like to know if truly the company is associated with anyone currently serving or who has served in government. It is a known fact that impunity and the ability to engage in crime without being punished arelargely responsible for the current sorry state the nation has found itself.  We believe that it is the moral duty of all Nigerians to be well informed and acquainted in cases such as this. We have always posited that the issue of corruption is too weighty to be swept under the carpet, irrespective of whose ox is gored”.

 

OWO MASSACRE:  CACOL CONDEMN ATTACK OF INNOCENT AND UNARMED CITIZENS

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has condemned the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on Sunday the 5th of June, 2022.

In a release signed by the organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran he noted that “It would be recalled that some gunmen attacked worshippers of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on Sunday maiming and killing scores of them in the process.”

The attack of these innocent worshippers is senseless, barbaric, condemnable, unacceptable and uncalled for. It is another sad tale of the security situation in the country.  It is so unfortunate that the security situation in the country has degenerated to an abysmal low level making all efforts aimed at restoring the lost glory of the security situation to be counterproductive.

“We were particularly saddened by the report that the two Police Divisions in Owo town and Area Command have no official patrol van to get to the scene of the crime despite having almost 50 men standby at the ACPOL, Owo. This is very sad going by the annual budgetary allocation to Security year in year out.”

“We at CACOL would like to call on the government to find a lasting solution to the menace of insecurity in the country by having a proactive approach which will prevent further atrocities of this nature.  Since the security of lives and properties is the responsibility of the government, the government of the day should also look into the possibility of completely overhauling the security architecture of the country. We would also use this medium to call on the security agencies to use all legal means to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act to book”.

We also express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the Catholic Church, the government and the people of Ondo State over the incident.

 

Supreme Court crisis: NBA wants ex-CJN probed, Ariwoola sworn in, workers demand autonomy

The Chairman, Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, also stated that the former CJN should be probed.

“It is a good thing he honourably resigned and didn’t allow himself to be thrown out like Onnoghen but then, apart from the NJC, the Body of Bencher, the anti-graft agencies should do their separate jobs on him and at the end of the day, he should be given adequate punishment, if found guilty. This is necessary to serve as deterrence for others,” he submitted.

In her reaction, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Mrs Idayat Hassan, said the centre would go beyond calling for just probes.

She said the situation demanded an in-depth look into the implications on the judiciary and above all, on the democracy in Nigeria.

She further added that while the resignation of the former Chief Justice was honourable, it was worrisome that it was happening close to the 2023 elections.

The Convener, Human Right Writers Association of Nigeria, Emmanuel Onwubiko, noted that no Nigerian should be above the law and hence, the allegations against the former CJN should not be swept under the carpet.

The Chairman, Transparency International, Nigeria, Musa Rafsanjani, said the development presented an opportunity to remove the secrecy in the judiciary “because there’s too much secrecy in the judiciary spending,” adding that Nigerians needed to know how funds were managed and spent in the judiciary.

He also said reforms were also necessary to tackle the conditions that made judges give contradictory judgments.

When asked if the Independent Corrupt and Other Related Offences Commission would probe the allegations against Muhammad, the commission’s spokesperson, Mrs Azuka Ogugua, declined comment.

“We don’t disclose our plans or investigations; when we are ready to carry out a probe, we would do it and inform you,” she said.

https://punchng.com/supreme-court-crisis-nba-wants-ex-cjn-probed-ariwoola-sworn-in-workers-demand-autonomy/

 

There Are Political Racketeers In APC, PDP –Adeniran

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 Comrade Debo Adeniran, a veteran activist and public affairs commentator, is the Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL). He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU on the failures of 2021 and the expectations of 2022, as well as other crucial national issues. Excerpt:

How would you assess activities in 2021? 

As far as 2021 is concerned, it was a year of rhetoric. There was nearly nothing new done by the government that was not predictable. People’s expectations were not met. The hope that there will be better infrastructure, better welfare and security will be dashed. The economy plummeted, conditions of service became unbearable. A lot of people lost their jobs. Some businesses could not operate. Crimes and criminalities, like kidnapping, mass murder, banditry rose to unprecedented level in different parts of the country, especially the North West, though they still exist in North East. Killings by unknown gunmen reached a crescendo in the South East.

Agitations for ethnic nationalism got to the peak. Those agitating for Biafra Republic and Yoruba nation became louder and had to be subdued by the federal authorities. It was a year without any flavour, a year no one hopes should come back. Different variants of Coronavirus (COVID-19) emerged, vaccines and booster shots were introduced. Leaders publicised their vaccination. Nigeria has not been able to develop its vaccine. No security against COVID. Vaccination does not reduce morbidity.

But, governments are trying to force people to take vaccines when it has no proof of efficacy. It is unfortunate that the government has not done anything to relieve it. Yet, people are readjusting to cope with the situation.The investigation panel on #EndSARS reports did not bring any relief. Police have remained bestial. There is nothing to cheer about in 2021. But, we shall continue to hope for a better tomorrow.

Would you say 2022 would be better? 

The government will remain in power till 2023. It is the people who are absorbing the shock of this devastating moment that will adjust well. A lot of people are returning to the farm. Food security may be better enhanced in 2022. People are adjusting to non-pharmaceutical remedies for COVID.

Vaccination should be by conviction and not by force as people seem to have safe guarded themselves. People do not really come down with COVID fully. People have subdued COVID.

Insecurity has gone down in the South West, South South. South East is already tackling the issue of unknown gunmen, which was also attributed to IPOB. The unknown gunmen were not as bold as they were before. It is believed that they will be caged.

So, there is hope for a better new year. National economy may improve if there is no fear of bandits. Issue of bandits and kidnapping is going down. The IPOB has suspended its sit-at-home. The activities of the unknown gunmen have reduced.

Trade and commerce will improve in those places. It is in the North West that insecurity still abounds. People in Kaduna, Niger are in fear. But, once it is tackled, there will be improvement.

With continued crises in the APC in several state chapters, indicating widespread factionalism, some people are afraid that the party may witness an implosion before the 2023 general elections. What is your take on that?

I don’t know why people put so much premium on APC. It does not matter if there is an implosion in APC or not. What is important is good governance for the people. APC has not been unable to put its house in order because it is made up of strange bedfellows. The gain of its victory was a surprise to them. So, they were unable to manage it. It has crises in 16 states and has parallel executives in these states.

We should wait for INEC to tell us the parties that are fit for elections. It is not how neatly a party is run. It is how expeditious the government will tackle the welfare of the people. We will do our due diligence when candidates emerge. It does not mean that APC will run the next government. PDP is not a better alternative. The parties are made up of racketeers who want to corner public resources for the benefit of few people. That is why we are canvassing that any political party should have its ideology, develop its mechanism for social inclusion so that no section will feel cheated. We are not canvassing that the old folks be pushed away because their wisdom is needed in whatever party.

What is your view on the emergence of the New Nigerian Movement being championed by Mao Ohuabunwa and few other members of the intelligentsia for the next general elections? Are you part of them? 

The New Nigeria Movement is not new. What they have not done is to put themselves on a strong pedestal. The arrow heads have run or participated in one organisation or the other, or in one agitation or another, but they were unable to sustain their efforts. I doubt if they can command respectability among the people.

Some of the organisations and civil societies they run are not membership based. They are elitist and rely on social media. That is why they do not improve on strategies that will take them to the grassroots. Such an organisation without grassroots structure is bound to fail when they get to election. If they succeed in participating, they may not win grassroots support. Most of the arrowheads had been involved in some parties and ran in some elections.They remain elitists. Their campaigns are run in the media. They are a group of elitists who speak to the elites.

I cannot join such an organisation with the type of rudderless political structure they have. It will be difficult for people to take them seriously until the situation changes and the group becomes people-based. That is why I cannot join such an organisation.

The recent National Judicial Commission (NJC) hammer on three High Court judges is still reverberating. How do you see the development?

I think that is a step in the right direction by the judiciary in trying to sanitise itself. Such judges that turn their calling into merchandise should be punished. That is the least we expect from the NJC. Any judicial officer that does not fulfil the minimum standard should be punished.

This was not really the first time that judicial officers were punished. The judge involved in Aregbesola’s case was disciplined. Same was a former judge involved in a case of an indicted former governor. He too was also disciplined. These things happen in trickles. If the NJC does its work well, some judges and magistrates will be de-robed. Several lawyers will also be punished.

Some lawyers do not deserve to be Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs). Some of them buy the position. That is why they turn justice to merchandise and many people cannot access justice.

How far has CACOL gone in its voter education programme which it started last year? 

Talking about our successes, we cannot score ourselves yet because we have not got to the end. When you are doing capacity building and you have not tested your effort, you cannot beat your chest. But, the capacity building is well received and people feel better equipped to tackle electoral issues. They have shown enthusiasm in sanitising their communities of corrupt elements with a view to stop such elements from corrupting the serenity of the environment so that the young ones will not see corruption as beneficial. They have now learnt to ask their representatives questions. A lot of people we have built their capacity are already asking questions in the existing structures in their areas to safeguard their interests.

We are waiting for the Osun and Ekiti governorship elections to see how well they will perform. We have taught people how to identify corruption, tackle corruption and ensure that corrupt elements are not allowed to continue. But, we need more cooperation and support from the media for us to do better in the coming years.

We did capacity building in Lagos and Osun states. We hope to expand, if we have support. There is no way we can succeed without such support. We need to source resources and logistics to these states to be able to increase and expand the capacity building to other states to ensure that all the states in the federation are involved.

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