Friday, May 20, 2022
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CACOL BACKS CALLS FOR PROBE OF FEDERAL ALLOCATIONS TO OTHER TIERS OF GOVERNMENT

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL in a release by its Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by Adegboyega Otunuga, its Coordinator, Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, has lent its voice to the call for the Federal Government to probe virtually all the states’ governments in the federation and their local councils’ counterparts for not just their allocations accruable from federal governments but also other sources like their internally generated revenue (IGR) extracted from taxes, rates and usage of its properties and cognate holdings. This is primarily necessary as they all hold these fiscal functions on behalf of the people and not just on behalf of selves.

The Anti-Corruption tsar noted, “ In lending our voice to the general calls of Nigerians in groups and as individuals, for proper accountability and probity to be fostered in the country, we hereby call on the federal government of Nigeria through the office of the Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and other relevant anti-corruption agencies, to spring into action and probe how the allocations to all the 36 (Thirty-six) states and 772 (Seven Hundred and Seventy-Two) local governments, including those local council areas created for ease of administration, were managed so far by those levers of government. This would go a long way in recovering much of the public funds and federal allocations that have been whimsically and carelessly siphoned by at those levels. This becomes germane when we consider how the states’ governments have shortchanged many of the local governments in their allocations by diverting such into their private pockets while on occasions, they both collaborate to loot such resources to the detriment of the general public and the society at large, which should naturally profit from those resources.

“As much as CACOL backs the calls for financial autonomy of the local governments without any let or hindrance, we must note that both the 1979 and 1999 Constitutions of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), the United Nations Convention and African Union Charter Against Corruption, etc., clearly confer such oversight powers on the Federal Government and its agencies. This is so even if the polity is to restructure today for greater effectiveness and accountability. Without such leverage, the other tiers of government become a Lord of the manor and consequently deny the people, in whose custody the sovereignty must rest, the benefits of government. This is why in other climes, the local councils as the nearest authority to the grassroots, usually provide those salient services like housing/council flats, primary health care, neighbourhood roads, good drainage system, interconnectivity within the areas, etc., which makes governance more impactful to all and sundry. The National Assembly is, on the other hand, empowered and mandated to perform similar oversight on the finances of the Federal Government towards discouraging incidences of impunity and conspiracy at mismanaging the collective resources.”

The CACOL boss added, “Without any equivocation, it is very clear that the drafters of our Constitution and Presidential Model of governance, could not have wanted a ‘jungle Republic’ where anything goes as many of our officeholders behave at a different stage of governance today. For the entire country to be sanitized and ridden of corruption, the searchlight must be beamed on these other levers such that the kind of recklessness and official irresponsibility that led to a situation where a Councillor was collecting higher salary and emoluments than a University Professor in our clime during this same dispensation in the past, would not rear its ugly head again. We are seriously convinced that if much of the wastage and mismanagement that afflict our state governments and their local councils are checkmated, governance would take on a more relieving nature and make life more abundant for our people.”

FORFEITURE OF ALUKO’S USD73MN, N350MN PROPERTIES: CACOL HAILS ORDER

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has praised the order of the Federal High court in Lagos concerning three (3) properties that hitherto belonged to Kola Aluko, a known ally of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In a release issued by CACOL’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran and signed by the anti-graft organization’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga, he stated, “We received the news of the forfeiture order on certain properties that were located in choice areas, both in Lagos and Abuja by Kola Aluko, one of the closest allies to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke. These properties in question were on Plot 3389 and Plot 3390, House 2, Margaret Thatcher Close, Asokoro Cadastral Zone, Abuja as well as Avenue Towers, Plot 1391, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. They were reportedly bought for N350mn, USD18mn and USD55mn (Three Hundred and Fifty Million Naira, Eighteen Million American Dollars and Fifty-Five Million Dollars) respectively totalling over Twenty Billion Naira (N20bn) as purchased sum for the properties illicitly acquired altogether.

“CACOL under its former name Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders had first blown the cover on the illegal acquisition of these properties through illicit funds of corruption by writing petitions to the EFCC about six (6) years ago. This is after we received an intelligence report on how Mrs. Allison Diezani was embarking on unethical conduct and secret transfer of production rights in the oil mining leases through various cronies. Prominent among the companies used to perpetrate these frauds were KAA and Atlantic Energy Holding Limited, based in the British Virgin Island after receiving humongous and suspicious transfers from its sister companies namely, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited that were based in Nigeria. Through our investigation, we were able to discover that all this manifest corrupt dealings went on for over three years, resulting in siphoning and looting of the country’s scarce resources. It is therefore, relieving and huge justifications of our principled stance that grabbed corruption by our esteemed public officials, is primarily responsible for the effervescent poverty, suffering and situation of want and helplessness the ordinary Nigerians have been made to confront in their daily existence. This is considering the fact that if a snippet of stealing could result into over N20bn (Twenty Billion) being spent on properties, you could then imagine how much has been stacked away by this same element in the course of this condemnable gang-looting of our commonwealth. Little wonders then that our roads are largely not motorable and our public hospitals are without drugs, while poverty walks on all fours in the country.”

The CACOL Boss added, “It is so unfortunate or rather very ridiculous and inexplicable that the name Allison Diezani Madueke today, is synonymous with everything that is vile, preposterous and repugnant especially where corruption is concerned. After all the opportunities offered her to serve the generality of the people in Nigeria, she simply went ahead to coordinate a corruption ring which intent was to fleece the entire nation and thereby render its economy prostate. Her team and tenure while she called the shots as number one in the petroleum sector represents a monumental disaster and great disservice to the entire country. While we commend the EFCC Team, led by Ibrahim Magu for their relentless fight against official corruption, we implore the presiding judge, Justice Mohammed Liman to, within the stipulated time, issue a final forfeiture order of all the properties and return them to source, the pulse of the Federal Republic of Nigeria while adequate punishments should be meted to serve as a deterrent and a just dessert for evils of corruption and its harbingers.

NDDC: HOW CORRUPTION DESTROYED A MORAL INTERVENTION

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was established in 2000 with the mission of facilitating the rapid, even and sustainable development of the Niger Delta into a region that is economically prosperous, socially stable, ecologically regenerative and politically peaceful. The Niger Delta is today defined officially by the Nigerian government as an area that extends over and about 70,000 km2 (27,000 sq. mi) and makes up 7.5% of Nigeria’s land mass. Historically and cartographically, it consists of present-day Bayelsa, Delta, and Rivers States. In 2000, however, Obasanjo’s regime included Abia, Akwa-Ibom, Cross River State, Edo, Imo and Ondo States in the region. It is typically considered to be located within nine coastal southern Nigerian states, which include: all six states from the South-South geopolitical zone, one state (Ondo) from South West geopolitical zone and two states (Abia and Imo) from South East geopolitical zone. Of all the states that the region covers, only Cross River is not an oil-producing state.

The Niger Delta is a very densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The delta is a petroleum-rich region and has been the center of international controversy over pollution, especially caused by oil exploration within the region with the claim of lack of necessary precaution and requisite provisions that could mitigate the ecological disaster occasioned by the oil exploration. The Niger Delta and the South-South geopolitical zone (which contains six of the states in Niger Delta) are two different entities. The Niger Delta separates the Bight of Benin from the Bight of Bonny within the larger Gulf of Guinea. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The core Niger Delta later became a part of the eastern region of Nigeria, which came into being in 1951 (one of the three regions, and later one of the four regions). The majority of the people were those from the colonial Calabar and Ogoja divisions, the present-day Ogoja, Annang, Ibibio, Oron, Efik, Ijaw and Ogoni peoples. The National Council of Nigeria and Cameroon (NCNC) was the ruling political party of the region. The NCNC later became the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens, after western Cameroon decided to separate from Nigeria. The ruling party of eastern Nigeria did not seek to preclude the separation and even encouraged it. The then Eastern Region had the third, fourth and fifth largest indigenous ethnic groups in the country including Igbo, Efik-Ibibio and Ijaw.

In 1953, the old eastern region had a major crisis due to the expulsion of Professor Eyo Ita from office by the majority Igbo tribe of the old eastern region. Ita, an Efik man from Calabar, was one of the pioneer nationalists for Nigerian independence. The minorities in the region, the Ibibio, Annang, Efik, Ijaw and Ogoja, were situated along the southeastern coast and in the delta region and demanded a state of their own, the Calabar-Ogoja-Rivers (COR) state. The struggle for the creation of the COR state continued and was a major issue concerning the status of minorities in Nigeria during debates in Europe on Nigerian independence. As a result of this crisis, Professor Eyo Ita left the NCNC to form a new political party called the National Independence Party (NIP) which was one of the five Nigerian political parties represented at the conferences on Nigerian Constitution and Independence.

A new phase of the struggle saw the declaration of an Independent Niger Delta Republic by Isaac Adaka Boro during Nigerian President Ironsi’s administration, just before the Nigerian Civil War.

This new era of resistance in the Niger Delta and local communities led to the demands for both environmental and social justice from the federal government, with Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni tribe presenting themselves as the leading figures for this phase of the struggle. Cohesive oil protests became most pronounced in 1990 with the publication of the Ogoni Bill of Rights. The indigenes protested against the lack of economic development, e.g. schools, good roads, and hospitals, in the region, despite all the oil wealth created. They also complained about environmental pollution and destruction of their land and rivers by foreign oil companies. Ken Saro Wiwa and nine other oil activists from Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) were arrested and killed under Sani Abacha in 1995. Although protests have never been as strong as they were under Saro-Wiwa, there is still an oil reform movement based on peaceful protests today as the Ogoni struggle served as a modern-day eye opener to the Peoples of the region. When long-held concerns about loss of control over resources to the oil companies were voiced by the Ijaw people in the Kaiama Declaration in 1998, the Nigerian government sent troops to occupy the Bayelsa and Delta states. Soldiers opened fire with rifles, machine guns, and tear gas, killing at least three protesters and arresting twenty-five more.

Since then, local indigenous activity against commercial oil refineries and pipelines in the region have increased in frequency and militancy. Recently foreign employees of Shell, the primary corporation operating in the region, were taken hostage by outraged local people. Such activities have also resulted in greater governmental intervention in the area, and the mobilization of the Nigerian army and State Security Service into the region, resulting in violence and human rights abuses. In September 2008, MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Deltans) led by Asari Dokubo, a former Law student at the University of Port-Harcourt, UniPort, released a statement proclaiming that their militants had launched an “oil war” throughout the Niger Delta against both pipelines and oil-production facilities, and the Nigerian soldiers that protect them. Both MEND and the Nigerian Government claim to have inflicted heavy casualties on one another. In August 2009, the Nigerian government granted amnesty to the militants; many militants subsequently surrendered their weapons in exchange for a presidential pardon, rehabilitation programme, and education.

Since the formation of NDDC in year 2000, its mandate has remained: –

• Formulation of policies and guidelines for the development of the Niger Delta area.
• Conception, planning and implementation, in accordance with set rules and regulations, of projects and programs for sustainable development of the Niger Delta area in the field of transportation including roads, jetties and waterways, health, employment, industrialization, agriculture and fisheries, housing and urban development, water supply, electricity and telecommunications.
• Surveying the Niger Delta in order to ascertain measures necessary to promote its physical and socio-economic development.
• Preparing master plans and schemes designed to promote the physical development of the Niger Delta region and the estimation of the member states of the Commission.
• Implementation of all the measures approved for the development of the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government and the states of the Commission.
• Identify factors inhibiting the development of the Niger Delta region and assisting the member states in the formulation and implementation of policies to ensure sound and efficient management of the resources of the Niger Delta region.
• Assessing and reporting on any project being funded or carried out in the region by oil and gas companies and any other company, including non-governmental organizations, as well as ensuring that funds released for such projects are properly utilized.
• Tackling ecological and environmental problems that arise from the exploration of oil mineral in the Niger Delta region and advising the Federal Government and the member states on the prevention and control of oil spillages, gas flaring and environmental pollution.
• Liaising with the various oil mineral and gas prospecting and producing companies on all matters of pollution, prevention and control.
• Executing such other works and performing such other functions, which in the option of the Commission are required for the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region and its people

For the Commission to be able to achieve all or most of those aforementioned objectives and make the region to be on a sustainable development, the NDDC has collected almost N2tn (Two Trillion Naira) from both the Federal Government, the oil companies operating within the region and internal revenue from taxes, sales, etc. According to the former Acting Managing Director/CEO of the Commission, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, the Federal Government has, since its inception in 2001 to 2015, contributed a total of about N521BN (Five Hundred and Twenty-One billion Naira) to the NDDC while the total contribution of the oil companies is over N940bn (Nine Hundred and Forty Billion Naira) and other sources of revenue, including the internally generated, stands at over N7bn (over Seven billion Naira). She also disclosed that over 8,000 (Eight Thousand) infrastructural projects and five hundred and ninety-four (594) programmes were carried out within same period. Upon all these huge resources so far made available to the Commission, she disclosed that over N900bn (Nine Hundred Billion) Naira remains as shortfall in Federal Government’s contributions to the Commission from inception to date while the commission is yet to receive any contributions from the Ecological Fund since inception and issue as contributions from Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG) from gas processing remains cloudy.

With this much in focus, governors of the states that make up the NDDC, led by Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, met with President Buhari at the State House, Abuja within the week and complained about the mammoth corruption and secrecy that have characterized the operations of NDDC, thus robbing the region of its much vaunted goal of setting the region on sustainable development and growth. This prompted the President to declare his intention in ordering a forensic audit of the operations of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) from 2001 to 2019, following persistent criticisms of the operations of the organization by various stakeholders within and outside the region. Since this declaration by President Muhammadu Buhari, many Nigerians have hailed the government for taking this bold step in sanitizing the operations of the NDDC, currently led by Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba and called for complete overhauling of its operations to reposition it for capabilities and result. We cannot but agree with this general opinion that the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, as a child of necessity that birthed during a most checkered history of the region, though has achieved some remarkable feats since inception; but like most good things ever created in Nigeria, has been tainted with corruption in its operations thus denying the region the grace of its full benefits. This is why we expect all stakeholders, particularly from the region, to be more proactive and eschew any bitterness towards ensuring that this golden hen that lays the valued egg gets its due share of modernity and social development on all required fronts. That could only be the minimum target from this presidential order on the forensic probe of its operations since inception.

ZAMFARA N84MN FRAUD: CACOL CALLS FOR HOLISTIC PROBE

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has called for the holistic probe of some INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) officials over the breach of trust and criminal diversion of the ad hoc staff allowance to the tune of N84,696,000 (Eighty-Four Million, Six Hundred and Ninety-Six Thousand Naira) fraud.

In a release issued by the Media and Publications Officer, Toyin Odofin on behalf of the anti-graft organization’s National Coordinator, Mr. Debo Adeniran he noted, “It was reported that Abdullahi Nasiru had written a petition to the EFCC on behalf of all presiding officers that worked for INEC during the 2019 presidential and governorship elections in Zamfara State, where the petitioner alleged that the ad hoc staff were each denied payment of their N6,000 movement allowance for the two elections. He further alleged that what INEC paid to them was different from what other states paid their ad hoc staff. Also, INEC allegedly paid its staff the sum of N9,000 in Zamfara, while INEC in other states such as Sokoto paid N12,000. All these shortfalls in payment were what accumulated to the said amount, i.e. N84,696,000.

The said INEC officials who diverted the allowance were; Administrative Secretary, Hassan Sidi Aliyu; Head of Operations, Hussain Jafar; State Accountant,  Abdullahi Yusuf Abubakar; and Abdulmumin Usman. The arrest of these commission officials was what led to the stormed of the EFCC at the state office of the commission, also the recovery of over N65mn stacked in two fireproof safes during a search conducted in offices of the HOD Accounts and Cashier of INEC in Zamfara State.

“Efforts are being made by EFCC to recover the money criminally diverted by the three INEC heads of department and Electoral Officers of the 14 local governments in Zamfara State, namely, Abdullahi Sambawa, Zurmi LGA; Aliyu Jafaru Goronyo, Maradun LGA; Balarabe Ahmed S Gobir, Gummi LGA; Amadu Ibrahim, Gusau LGA; Mohammed Bashir Musa, Kaura Namoda LGA; Dalhatu Usman Musa,Birnin Magaji LGA; Abdulmumin Usman, Maru LGA.”

“Also, one begins to wonder why our electoral system continues to wobble and fumble with all the allowances to it from respective federal and state governments, year in year out. This is a confirmation of how such scarce resources simply vanish into thin air through syphoning of the larger proportion of sums budgeted and diversion of such finances.

The CACOL boss added “It is therefore incumbent on the two anti-graft agencies, the EFCC and ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission) to sustain and further intensify their commendable efforts in nipping much of this illegal expropriation of our resources in the bud and recover the ill-acquired wealth as much as possible, with a view to plugging them back to their original purposes.”

CACOL BEMOANS RECURRENT CULTURE OF CORRUPTION AFFLICTING NHIS AND CALLS FOR HOLISTIC REFORMS TO REPOSITION SCHEME

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has decried the incessant corruption activities that take place at National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) since it was set up at the behest of the Federal Government of Nigeria to cater for urgent health needs of ordinary Nigerians at an affordable cost since the birth of this democratic dispensation in 1999.

In a release issued by CACOL’s Coordinator for Media and Publications, Adegboyega Otunuga on behalf of the organization’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Adegboyega Otunuga, he said, “The National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS, as a body corporate, was established under Act 35 of 1999 Constitution by the Federal Government of Nigeria to improve the health of all Nigerians at an affordable cost. It was established to provide social health insurance in Nigeria where health care services of contributors are paid from the common pool of funds contributed by the participants of the Scheme in line with international best practices.

“It is a pre-payment plan where participants pay a fixed regular amount. The amount/funds are pooled, allowing the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) to pay for those needing medical attention. It is primarily a risk-sharing arrangement which can improve resource mobilization and equity. Health Insurance is a social security system that guarantees the provision of needed health services to persons on the payment of token contributions at regular intervals. The pool of resources is usually financed by participants, who pay a regular token, the government and on occasions, employers of individual participants. It is today regarded as the most widely used form of health care financing worldwide.

“However, the scheme has been consistently mired in unbridled corruption since inception, prominent amongst which was the crisis that birthed the probe of its Executive Secretary, Professor Usman Yusuf, on July 2017. This was a sequel to two separate petitions by Solomon Agbo and Dr Tunde Ladele, who accused the Executive Secretary of Nepotism and Fraud. This invariably led to his suspension by the then Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Ademola. It would be recollected too that the suspension order was upheld by Professor Yemi Oshinbajo, who was the acting president at that point in time. It is therefore, heart-wrenching to note that the same National Health Insurance Scheme is again, enmeshed in a fraud allegedly perpetrated in its Health Maintenance Organizations, Clearline International Limited over which two persons, including an employee of the NHIS, have been arrested while the Head (Media and Public Relations) of the scheme, Ayo Osinlu, has already admitted that humongous amount of money is involved and that appropriate investigations and apprehension of those indicted are being carried out.

“The Boss of the anti-graft organization added, “There is no doubt that this scheme is intrinsic to whatever plans and programmes the current government has in assisting Nigerians to overcome its teething health challenges. It is, therefore, commendable that the Spokesman of NHIS, Mr Ayo Osinlu, also confirmed the reforms and rebranding ongoing at the level of the health insurance scheme. Howbeit, we advise that such reforms must be holistic and taking cognizance of the tripartite arrangement of the scheme by ensuring that ordinary Nigerians, who are the main targets of the scheme, are adequately represented and protected by adopting enough checks that could discourage and nip in the bud, incessant occurrences of corruption within the implementation of this laudable scheme. This must be such that not only would corrupt enrichment by individuals and officials be prevented but that the reforms and rebranding are such that majority Nigerians is captured in the scheme with adequate access to qualitative and affordable health provisions in the country.”

NDDC N67 BILLION PROJECT SCAM; CACOL CALLS ON THE ANTI-GRAFT AGENCY TO WADE-IN

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership CACOL has called for the intervention of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) into the recovery of over N67billion disbursed for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) contracts.

In a release issued by its Media and Publications Officer, Toyin Odofin on behalf of the Executive Chairman of the Centre, Debo Adeniran stated “it is not enough for the Committee of the House of Representatives on abandoned projects which was awarded by the NDDC to investigate and bring to book the looters of such funds, but also with the support of the anti-graft agency that establishes an independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission vesting it with the responsibility for investigation and prosecution of offenders thereof.

The report has it that, the Committee has urged the NDDC to recover N61.4 billion from contractors who abandoned sites ‎and another N5.8 billion alleged excess payment to others as discovered in a preliminary report of the investigation by the committee. According to the committee chairman, over 600 contractors were dubiously awarded contracts by the NDDC across the states of jurisdiction. Also, one of the officials told ‎NDDC that the lawmakers that 49 of the contracts awarded across the Niger Delta region were terminated and 342 others stalled. CACOL as an anti-corruption and transparency organization with total disdain for any corruptive acts, especially by government officials directly or through proxies, agencies or their representatives, believes that these allegations and the amount involved is weighty enough to attract the interest and intervention of relevant anti-graft agencies in the country, with a view to investigating and redressing the anomalies, where relevant.

However, it is on this note that the Committee’s chairman revealed that the Commission, apart from engaging in questionable dealings, lacked effective control mechanism in the award of contract and project finance which led to flagrant abuse of due process. Also, it was discovered that the commission’s approved budgets from 2008 to 2018 stood at N2,832,611,325,966; and the total receipts, N1,848,774,602,103.

The CACOL boss added, “Considering the monumental woes and destruction corruption has wreaked on Nigeria till date, no stone should be left unturned in beaming searchlight wherever the scourge bares its fangs, irrespective of whoever is involved. This is why we are using this medium to call on the anti-graft agency, ICPC to, as a matter of urgency and national interest, wade in and bring whoever is culpable in depriving the Niger Delta people of the
needed development by short-changing them through the NDDC to book without much ado so as to serve as a deterrent to others.”

CACOL CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT PROBE ON EX-AGF OVER ALLEGED $1.2BN MONEY LAUNDERING

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has called for an independent probe on the case of the former Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Mohammed Adoke and former minister of petroleum, Dan Etete over alleged $1.2bn money laundering.

In a release issued on behalf of Executive Chairman of the anti-graft organisation, Debo Adeniran, by the Media and Publications Officer, Toyin Odofin, he stated that “A prima facie case bordering on official corruption was established by the commission following investigations; culminating in court charges against Adoke, Dan Etete and others, which is still pending before the Federal Capital Territory High Court and the Federal High Court in Abuja. The case centred on the 2011 sale of the Nigerian oil license OPL 245, where the charges focus on the transfer of $801m in proceeds of the deal, facilitated by Adoke, into bank accounts controlled by Dan Etete. The charges were filed at the Federal High court.

However, It is heart-lifting that after many years since the Malabu Oil scam broke open whereby some Nigerian dignitaries and nationals of other countries were involved in fraudulent allocation of the Oil Prospecting License 245 and money laundering, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration, where a principal suspect, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN) served as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice.

According to the EFCC, the charges bordered on the fraudulent allocation of the  Oil Prospecting Licence 245 and money laundering involving the sum of about $1.2bn, forgery of bank documents, bribery and corruption. Adoke has been living outside Nigeria since 2015 when President Goodluck Jonathan administration that he served as the AGF left the office.  The prosecution has not been able to apprehend the former minister and the rest of the suspects since 2016 when the charges were instituted against them”. The alleged $1.2bn scam involved the transfer of the OPL 245 purportedly from Malabu Oil and Gas Limited to Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Co. Limited and Nigeria  Agip Exploration Limited

The arraignment of Adoke, Etete and others could not take place because they, along with other defendants, have remained at large, refusing to make themselves available for trial.

It is a great step forward with the anti-graft showing that anti-graft agencies are serious about tackling corruption, CACOL hereby challenges the former Attorney General of the Federation to make himself available for the trial instead of alleging the commission of prosecuting him.

The CACOL boss added, “It is against this background that many of our economy watchers, outside and within the country, advocated for more stringent punishments and sanctions against those looters and thieves who continually perpetrate these heists with the belief that grand corruption is still a bailable offence in Nigeria and so, they could easily get away with it. While CACOL may seriously frown against Capital punishment as a deterrent unlike obtainable in some climes, we believe that for Nigeria to be reasonably rid of this menace or ogre of corruption, no offender should go away unpunished, irrespective of his or her political cum economic status. As a matter of fact, such high profile officials should attract sterner punishments as the saying is, ‘To whom much is given, much is certainly expected.”

CACOL LAUDS ANTI-GRAFT AGENCIES OVER THE RE-ARRAIGNMENT OF EX-SGF BABACHIR LAWAL FOR FRAUD

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has applauded the anti-graft agencies, The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) over conspiracy and fraud allegation of the  immediate-past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and five others.

In a release issued by its Media and Publications Officer, Toyin Odofin on behalf of the Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran he stated “vividly we would note that on January 30, Offem Uket alleged that Lawal conspired with a director and staff in Rholavision Engineering Ltd, Hamidu David Lawal and Suleiman Abubakar, to fraudulently acquire a property and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 26(1)(c) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act. One of the charge accused Hamidu, Abubakar and Rholavision to have abet the award of contract to Rholavision Engineering Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation to the tune of N6.4million by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE). Also, count 9 of the charge accused Hamidu to have “abet the holding indirectly of a private interest by Engineer Babachir Lawal in the award of contract to Josmon Technologies Ltd for the removal of invasive plant species and simplified irrigation by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF) through the Presidential Initiative for North East (PINE) to the tune of N272.5million.”

However, the report has it that early this year President Muhammadu Buhari ordered the prosecution of Babachir Lawal for allegedly misappropriating the funds allocated to people displaced by Boko Haram insurgency.

“It is in realization of the unimaginable damage and social destruction that grand corruption could actually cause that some countries like China and Pakistan have deemed it fit to introduce death penalty against official corruption for any of its government official to serve as a worthy deterrent. This has, no doubt, discouraged grand corruption even if it has not succeeded in totalling eliminating it. Though we may not fully subscribe to the death penalty as a human rights’  anti-corruption organization for its obvious violation to citizens’ rights’ to life, the main issue is that the law against corruption must be seen to be absolutely effective against all known violators, no matter how highly placed the culprits are. This is where we think the current government’s fight against corruption must be reviewed towards better effectiveness to make any tangible impact.

The CACOL Boss added “It is against this background that many of our economy watchers, without and within the country, advocated for more stringent punishments and sanctions against those looters and thieves who continually perpetrate these heists with the belief that grand corruption is still a bailable offence in Nigeria and so, they could easily get away with it.”

P&ID SCAM: CACOL HAILS EFCC, JUDGE

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The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has hailed the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for saving Nigeria from a planned heist of $9.6b by a fraudulent Irish outfit known as Process and Industrial Development (P&ID).

This was contained in a press release issued on Thursday by CACOL’s Coordinator For Research and Documentation Mr Okechukwu Ndiribe on behalf of the Centre’s Executive Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran.

Citing Thursday’s order by an Abuja Federal High Court that both the local and foreign arms of the scam corporate body must forfeit all their assets to the Federal Government, the CACOL boss stated that: “This revealed how far some unscrupulous Nigerians could go to undermine the interest of their fatherland  with the collusion of international fraudsters masquerading as foreign investors and contractors.”

He continued: “The fact that the suspected Nigerian conmen could plead guilty to the 21 charges levelled against them by EFCC indicates that the whole transaction was a grand fraud cooked up to fleece Nigeria of its hard-earned resources especially at this period of economic adversity.”

CACOL also praised Justice Edward Ekwo who heard the case and took a firm decision to convict the Nigerian fraudsters and their foreign collaborators to serve as a deterrent to others.

CACOL is however unhappy that the judge did not sentence the convicts to terms of imprisonment to send a clear signal to both local and foreign fraudsters to steer clear of Nigeria in future.   

CACOL also calls on EFCC to dig deeper into the entire scam and apprehend all others that may have been directly or remotely involved in this all-time attempted heist that could cost the entire nation about one-third of its entire budgetary income projection for 2019.

Finally, we also recommend that Muhammad Kuchazi, Adamu Usman and all other Nigerians convicted of involvement in this economic sabotage should be jailed for life for going this far to undermine the economy of Nigeria in pursuit of their own narrow pecuniary interests.

An Interview With Nigerian Impact Online Newspaper

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debo adeniran

NIGERIAN IMPACT INTERVIEW

The Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership has appraised President Muhamadu Buhari administration as the anti-Corruption regime. The CACOL Chairman said this in an interview conducted by the Publisher of an online newspaper “Nigerian Impact”, Mr Clifford Ejeanavi on Monday while discussing the present administration of the government in power.

Can you introduce yourself, sir?

My name is Debo Adeniran, I am the Executive Chairman of Center for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL)

Thank you very much, sir, for giving us the opportunity to talk with you.

We want to look at what is actually going on in Nigeria today, in your own view, do you think we are moving forward or we are going backwards considering lack of development for education, considering a negative device that is happening today, do you think we are still on the right side?

Thank you very much, is like you have kind of compile some of the atrocity or some of the inadequacies of the government but I will not agree with you that corruption is still as rampant, the truth is that a problem that was created several years earlier cannot be stopped overnight, there is no country that has been able to solve corruption overnight. Considering the fact that there are different phase of the opinion of what constitutes corruption, there are type, kind, and varieties of corruption, there is certain confusion to what actually should be taken as ground corruption. Remember the last government, the former president Goodluck Jonathan said that stealing cannot be classified as corruption, then wonder what be called corruption. He wouldn’t have fought to steal as a serious crime against the citizen. So, that may be the reason why corruption was not adequately fought during that administrative.

But remember that corruption has been there as far back as when Nigeria was constituted in 1940 because Nigeria is a product of corruption, nobody actually agreed on any referendum or flipside that we wanted an amalgamation of Nigeria. And Lord Lugard didn’t consult anybody before he gave us the name Nigeria, he only consulted his girlfriend, so these are elements of corruption that have gone into the creation of Nigeria.

At CACOL, we defined corruption as any act of dishonesty, now any action is taken that one will not want it to be exposed to the law because it is contradictory to the provision of the eastern law classified as corruption. Now to fight corruption in Nigeria is like to dismantle Nigeria and make an attempt to extract all of those things that have been put into the making of Nigeria act of dishonesty. And that means that the very name of Nigeria will be removed, then all of those who have participated in one way or the other in the governing of Nigeria will also be the tyre for corruption. Through planning and executions are corruptions because you don’t govern people by the force that is enslavement. It means that everybody that has participated or contributed towards the planning and executions are a corrupt element. They have but engage through political corruption and they deserve to be made to pay the price because that is what the law provides.  Those civilian that serve during the military era are beneficiary of corruption, they are supposed to be a tribe and punish for that level of corruption, and then the military government didn’t give account to the populace, which means that a lot of things could have gone wrong during the military regime. They are books to check what could have gone wrong during the military regime and everybody that is finding wanted in the auditing process should be made to face the wrath of the law. Now let’s fast forward to the Buhari administration, people see him as that magician who will extract corruption from our body policy, is not going to happen.it didn’t happen in Singapore, it took them several years before he could bring Singapore to the level which he finds himself now. Several other countries didn’t do it overnight. Even Ghana which is our west African country didn’t do it overnight Rollins didn’t just jump on the platform and started killing people, he has to identify those that deserve to die, rounded them up and give them the justice that he believes they deserve.

 Buhari military regime was acclaimed to be the one that introduces what against indiscipline in Nigeria. Of course, everybody agreed that there were lots of discipline when he was in government even when those disciplines have to be enforced by the military jacket. They have to beat people, queue at the bus stop, stop open defecation that was when the essential commodity has to be controlled, Sold at control prices with the view of making it difficult for anybody to exploit the witness of the poor, the vulnerability of the poor to further enrich the rich. But lots of people who benefitted from the act of indiscipline, the act of corruption didn’t like him; eventually, the counter poll was organized and was thrown out of power before he was able to consolidate.

That was the record and background upon which people spell the present president when he started contesting. Of course, you don’t forget those who locked out during his military regime as a result of the fraudulent activity and so on wouldn’t want him to become the president of Nigeria. But lots of them actually fought vigorously against his emergence as the president of Nigeria. President Buhari is the candidate of the Nigeria poor, the majority of the Nigeria population. It’s on the back of the Nigeria poor that he road to the presidency.

If you remember during his second time campaign he embark more the Nigeria poor and he told the rich that we are going to have a harder time, and he was going to fight corruption the way he has never fought it before, and he also told the people in the government sector not to spend government money for campaigning for him. That is a way of exceeding confidence, he didn’t ride on the back of the rich to rain prominence, he believes that those that are going to vote for him are the people who do not have access to government money, that why could have that confidence to say that nobody should use government money to campaign for him. While some other candidate says that they are going to tell the commanding high commissioning of Nigeria to their friends.

Its seems you are 100% in support of President Buhari administration

It’s not that he has performed 100% correctly in the fight against corruption, but we see him as that one hard man in the city of the blind that has to be the king. I wanted to do a comparative analysis with his co-contestant when he was campaigning, he didn’t spend so much the way people will think that contestant should spend money, so the little he has been able to do we have to bank on the campaign promise that he was going to fight corruption.

When we look at the APC political party today we still have some people like the Jagaban who are ready to put in their money

Well, I don’t know, it is what that has been done that could have been treated to have been done. Nobody been able to come out with the fact and figure of how much they have collected from Jagaban or whoever, what we believe is that the money that was used to for the Buhari campaign should have come from support group constituted by those who supported him that are yet to be identified as individual or corporate entity.

Is CACOL part of those who supported him?

No, we didn’t participate in the electoral process, but we supported any acorn that is genuinely geared towards fighting corruption in Nigeria, and we believe that among those who have governed us before especially during this first republic we believe that the person government has fought corruption different from the way the predecessor fought it and likely to work. I will tell you why I think so, all the safeguard that is the legal instrument that makes corruption crime difficult to commit have been operationalized by the current administration even when those instruments are already there before the emergence of the administration one of it is;

The principle of treasury single account, it has always been there the previous government couldn’t monster adequate political will to operationalize it but the present administration has done it, and they did it well making it difficult for government official to open account on behalf of NBO without the knowledge of federation account so much money flow into the hand of those who open such account. That has been a block to the very large extent, the second one is the

 BVN if anybody accumulates illicit fund, he will not have the opportunity of enjoying it or launder it through financial institution because CFA will the account that you have and how much you have in them. The owner could be called to account for the property of fraud to resources and that has been made difficult. Then beyond those two, we have the (ACTU) Anti-Corruption and transparency unit that is residing with (ICPC) that means that all procurement will have to pass through (ICPC) through (ACTU). So procurement will be scrutinized before it is done, money release will also follow to ensure value for money.

 (NFIU) which is now (NFIE) that have been taken from EFCC to the central bank that every transaction from any financial institution ranging from 1m by individual and 5m by an entity will have to be recorded. We also have (SCUAML) special control unit against money laundering it is also residing with the EFCC any NGO civil society organization will have to register with (SCUAML) any transaction they are making ranging from 1m by individual and 5m by entity or Organization will pass through (SCUAML).  That makes it difficult for people to quickly notice corruption; it is also difficult for them to launder the money.

***There is this very instrument that has been suspended some years back in national code of corporate governors, that code I’m happy to have a copy of it for the private and public entities, while he suspended that code we still don’t understand up till now but that is an instrument to probe corruption

Well, the present instrument has effectively replaced the code of conduct of National code of corporate Governors because in the corporate governors they have to check the procurement before it is done. And when you remember that there is this bureau policy procurement all of this is becoming necessary because that code we are talking about seems to be cumbersome. But in a situation whereby directly whatever that is going in the financial institution would be recorded and sent directly to the anti-corruption agency or financial regulatory agency like (CBN). Part of the new instrument is the financial regulatory agency commission like (FRCN) which also regulates the inflow and outflow of hard currency and local currency. All of this makes corruption difficult to commit, remember what happened at the Kaduna airport, Falomo Shopping Complex etc. People can no longer keep the money, take it to a financial institution this is the reason why they abandoned such money. Also, there are several assets that they are owner are disowning them, the reason is because of this entire instrument that is being put in place. There is serious political will that the present administration has been able to monster, this has given the anti-corruption agencies the go-ahead to do their work without any pestilence. That is the reason why we believe that he is the right option. Let take a look at the new entrance, they are criticizing corruption, because they don’t have opportunity to be involved in the act, and not a direct beneficiary of corruption if they have been the direct beneficiary of corruption they might not have to criticize corruption the way they are doing it.

There are some of the contestants simply utilizing the opportunity provided by several criticism eg “Not too young to rule”. Many of them couldn’t follow through because they didn’t have adequate plan to contest the election and that is why they didn’t monster adequate supporter all over, they didn’t even have good structure, there structure only exist on the internet. If you look at the way APC won in 2015, you will know that people desire thing. They are looking for the pro-poor person who is closer to them, among the presidential contestant in 2015, they see the current president as someone who is trusted, and who can grant them their desire. This may be the reason why we support the fight against corruption the way it is been going on.

Let’s not forget, it is during this administration that the former governors who had cases about 11 to 12 years after service were prosecuted and proper punishment was filed against them. Despite all of this, people criticized that there were some persons in his cabinet who were also corrupt. Of course, there is no way any government can run in a corrupted riddled society like ours without having some of those who supposed to be on trials in that government, you can’t trial everybody at the same time. This is a case of the political game plan, because Nigeria constitution didn’t allow individual candidate, and the constitution has made it compulsory for any administration to have his minister from all of the states in the federation.

Basically we need to look at the one that can still be tolerated for some time, that does not mean that they can’t still face trial at the fullness of time, look at what happened to Kemi Adeosun, she was made to resign when they discovered that NYSC certificate was forged, also Adebayo Shittu, he was not allowed to contest for election. It is only in this administration that we have seen such thing, it could have been covered, in fact, we won’t even know that they have a fake certificate and all of those things. Now it is because of openness and disinterest of the administration of how prosecutions go. That gives us confidence in the administration of criminal justice will be awesome if we allow this present government to continue to implement his plans.

*** I want to quickly draw your attention to the recent report by Forbes who raised our president son Yusuf as the first richest child of a city president with the net wealth of 3.6billion dollars. Is this corruption? As we know he has no job and he’s not working anywhere.

How do you know that he’s not working anywhere, I hope you read the Forbes report yourself, and I’m not sure it is our president son is been referred to.

*** if he’s the one, don’t you think it’s worth investigating

Of course, it is not now that you have to face the press before the investigation commence, because if the administration goes to the media and say we want to investigate this issue they will say that investigation is been done on the media. Nevertheless, they have to come up with findings. As an investigative journalist you don’t have to tell the presidency to investigate himself, nor the government, you should have a concrete fact and evidence to it.

*** Unfortunately for us sir, we are unable to break through, even the freedom of information bill we are unable to use it effectively, what I’m actually asking for is, does it really worth investigating?

It doesn’t worth it, because there is a lot of fake news that is flying around, how many of these fake news does the government have time to investigate. There are lots of corruption crimes being committed daily and everywhere. Insurgency crime, we cannot leave such crime and be focusing on the bear parlour gossip. Basically maybe that those who supposed to carry out an investigation on such crime are overwhelmed by more important investigation they are conducting, it is not the static band it can be conducted at any time. Any that is why I said this concerning those who feel strongly about it, because all of this things are gossip, supposing it was actually real, all I will do is I didn’t get it written.  Is there any money missing in government, Does this money traced into the account of the president son? This is some of the things that an investigator would carry out. Actually, I don’t believe that is the truth, they only want to waste nice time on it.

When we are talking about security, insurgency, terrorism is not what has been conquered completely anywhere. we still have pocket of terrorism here and there, the Boko Haram is no longer targeting hard places they target soft spot like churches, mosques, market places, and it is difficult to identify who is a member of Boko haram, so no matter how somebody tried, to identify which Army they belong, you cannot continue raking market in search of this people, otherwise, a lot of innocent souls would be involved.

*** Based on what you just said now, that if they cannot identify them, last week the government is considering of giving them a working sum of 100 billion naira, so who do we give this money to?

Anyway let me disclose my thought on that, we can attribute some of this successful bombing of such tragedy to failure of intelligence. So if the intelligence has been perfect, it would have been drastically reduced, in fact, it would have been a nip in the bud before they carry out the assignment. However, Nigeria has been known as the home state of corruption. So all of this, even the intelligence agency, the secret agencies could have been bribed. They would have their own anger against the system which they want to unleash by being on the side of the terrorist until Nigeria is clean.

When you now talk about Boko haram element people talked about it that Boko haram should be given amnesty the way Niger-Delta was given amnesty. Of course, the Government has not appeased with that request. I’m not sure that Boko haram has been given 100 billion naira because I know that the 100 billion naira cannot mean much to the said Boko haram. They cannot bribe and indoctrinated pest into submission, they can only be converted. Everybody should be integrated into the situwestial programs of the Government, the investigation should be carryout to know what the Boko haram element want. They should look into how to breach the gap between the rich and the poor, also to educate the uneducated; the government should make education generally acceptable to anyone who needs it. Also, effort should be made in the aspect of job creation.

Someone said that when there is cold, don’t think about sex, don’t think about tea, think about those who doesn’t have house to place their head, think about those that are homeless, you see some people who have nothing, while there are some who has too much than they need that is why we have a reckless society.

***Election have come and gone, even though we still have some challenges at the tribunal let look at the main election that will be in 2023 what type of Nigeria will you want between now and then?

 Ordinary if I am to go by my own conclusion, the minimum would have been on welfarist Nigeria where education, all the socialist sector are made cheap for the people, in terms of education, healthcare, good road, potable water, food, as a matter of that, right to food should be entrenched in our constitution, because all of these essential services are very important to people, and they should be made free. Anybody who cheats in the exam should repeat the class instead of taking to the prison. In a nutshell, any offender should face the consequence of their offences. Also, anybody who involves in election manipulation will be ban from contesting ranging from five years to ten years. We also recommended for corruption official any cases should face the wrath of the offence by staying behind the wall with hard work so that it will serve as a lesson to other who wants to go that way. We don’t agree on the death penalty, in CACOL we believe that people can change, and if they wanted to change, because of their offence which they have committed, they can change behind the wall, serve diligently, and teach good children to see that they contributed to the national economy.

Let’s everything be justiciable, let us have our right, and let the offenders be punished accordingly. Then we want the president who will not be scared of his own people but will be approachable. Also, all the Ministers should work with the people, the budget should not be done on behalf of the people, should be done with the people, there should be the least assessment during budget write up where people will contribute into what they want in their community. This should be done by their Legislatures.

The legislature should go back to their constituency, to carry out the needs assessment they will now submit this to the executive and ensure it goes into the budget. The question of budget padding will no longer come up, the question of constituency project will no longer come up, and everything will have been completed into the budget. All of this will make Nigeria have that sense of belonging and they will feel the new leave of life and that will make a better place for all.

Nobody will want to steal from nobody because they know that everybody earns his own living through honest leave, the reason why Bigande see crime persist in Nigeria is as a result of the unleashing anger of poverty from the rich, they believe that everybody that is riding a car could have stolen one in one way or the other to get one, or anybody that is spending lavishly could have stolen the money knowing that they also work for the money, but they are not earning enough. Basically, we have a better more people to society than the way we are going to now.

*** Does CACOL support restructuring?

The restructuring has been differently defined, we at CACOL don’t think political restructuring is our problem, we think moral hammering will have to introduce ethical conduct into our daily dealing and that could be thought at the level of code. When you talk about political structure of Nigeria, that is not our problem, Nigeria poor don’t know that someone is from anywhere, they believe that they belong to the same class, the same thing with the Nigeria rich, the middle class have been eliminated, so if you restructure and we have the Oduduwa state for the Yoruba and Biafra for the Igbos and the Arewa for the Hausa, they will soon be oppress before we see the oppressed, the rich will still exploit the vulnerability of the poor, that restructure will still not work, what will work is there should be national ideology where there will be upper feeling on how many individuals can possess before he gives the remaining to the state, before that can happen, if you have too much, and you will not be able to use it before you forfeit it to the state. A political party should not be registered on symbolism. Nigeria should refocus on what will constitute everybody coexistence. Thank you.

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