Tag Archives: corruption

Here are some of those working against corruption fight in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

Frontline civil rights defender and philanthropist, Chief Patrick Eholor has taken government officials and parastatals in President Mhammadu Buhari’s government to the cleaners.

Eholor believes there are many elements in the government that are too neck-deep in corruption that they would never let the fight against it succeed.

In this interview, he mentions names and explains why he does not see any ray of hope, with such elements serving in the government.

Excerpts.

Minister Chibuike Amaechi:

Chibuike Amaechi is one of the problems of this country. As a Minister, he has done nothing else but to follow the north sheepishly.

Do you remember when he was a governor? Amaechi started the worst elephant project ever in Nigeria, by jumping into monorail construction. He claimed he wanted to connect it across Port Harcourt, but after a few kilometers, the project was abandoned, permanently, and is today, a monumental waste in the city. That monorail project cost the Rivers State Government a whopping N33.9 billion. As a matter of fact, the technical partners handling the project then, Arcus Gibbs Nigeria Limited described the project as a hoax!

Amaechi is a white elephant project man. At the moment, he is very busy connecting roads, and two roads from Jigawa and Sokoto to Niger Republic. While the railways will gulp a whopping $1.96billion, the roads will consume N30 billion.

Sadly, the old rail roads that connected his homestead of Rivers and the rest of the country are abandoned, and there is no plan on ground to start the projects.

While at it, Amaechi is busy, warming up to become a president!

The Inspector General of Police

The Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Adamu is supposed to be the watchdog for good behavior among Nigerians, but the police force has continued to be an organization lacking in morals and ethics, and swimming in corruption.

Every year, the IG would announce that road blocks have been cleared on our roads, but that statement is always in theory. As a matter of fact, the road blocks usually increase in size of police officers, and they have ended up making the road blocks cash cows. There, senior officers compel the junior ones to make daily returns for them, and thereby exploit transporters. The IG is very much aware of this, but chooses to pretend he does not.

The same ritual is repeated every year, about police attaches to VIPs. The IGP would order the withdrawal of officers attached to VIPs across the country, but fail to do anything to implement the order. This way they have reduced respectable officers to bag carriers and mere drivers to rich men and their wives.

The police is paid over N300,000 per personnel by the VIPs, and only a little fraction of this money gets to the officers themselves. You can see why they refuse to withdraw them in truth. They are fantastically corrupt, and are making money from the VIPs!

State Governors, FG, Covid 19

The government has turned the fight against Covid 19 into a mere jaw exercise. First, NCDC and the FG started by bandying figures that didn’t really exist, and when they got funds to cater for citizens who were locked down in their homes, the funds were hoarded by governors and states, palliative measures were hijacked, and items meant to be shared were hidden away from the people, even perishables. It took the End SARS protests to expose this shameless act by our governments.

In Lagos, they are busy arresting poor people who cannot afford to defend themselves claiming that they are fighting Covid 19, yet they pretend they don’t know about the parties and feasts being hosted by their fellow moneybags.

It is at these parties that the London, and American, and other foreign returnees have been using to spread the disease, and this has led to the recent spike.

Despite the fact that he United Kingdom has cried out over the new dangerous strain of the disease, Nigeria has refused to close its borders from Europe and other such vulnerable countries. The result is that our people get exposed to Covid 19 infections.

All that the Federal Government and States are interested in is the Covid 19 funds. No one is genuinely interested in fighting the disease. Or ensuring that Nigerians are well cared for, medically and otherwise.

I can tell you that Nigeria is not yet serious about the fight against Covid 19. They are treating the pandemic with kid gloves, and it will be suicidal if this unseriouness and love for money overwhelms us and lands this country in a mess where it becomes impossible to deal with the pandemic.

Godswill Akpabio

Senator Godswill Akpabio has no business being a minister, with the level of corruption cases against him. At first in 2015, a whopping N108 billion corruption case was brought against him by the EFCC.

A few years after down the line, Senator Akpabio in his capacity as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, along with the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr Daniel has been accused of embezzling N40 billion.

This man was brought to testify at the Nigerian Senate and he could not defend himself. This is the man that heads the ministry, and says he has come to clear up the Ministry.

How can a man stinking of so much corruption be able to fight it, and clean up the Ministry?

Festus Keyamo

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo said N46 billion had been budgeted to provide certain jobs for 774 Local Government Areas across the country.

In their projection, they are to pay each of the beneficiaries who is either a graduate and Masters Degree holder N20,000, when the government realised that the minimum wage is N30, 000.

Literally, they will be giving a graduate N60,000 within three months, which is less than $200. The disbursement of such money to the graduates will not address the issue of unemployment in the country.

The best option was for the Federal Government is to use that money to establish industries across the geo-political zones to absorb the teeming unemployed youths in the country.

The Minister also kicked off this so-called empowerment programme with wheelbarrows and cutlasses for the youths, most of who are graduates. How can you give cutlass and wheelbarrow to graduates? When they have openings at the NNPC, FIRS, CBN, Nigerian Customs, Immigration, NIMASA, NLNG, and so on, then give it to their own children.

The children of the common Nigerian is only good for wheelbarrows and cutlasses. They spent N46 billion to acquire those things. Tell me how we intend to end corruption in this country.

ASUU and Covid 19

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has began to play the kind of dirty politics that the Nigerian Labour is used to. After keeping our youths at home for one whole year, and then having reached an agreement with the Federal Government, they are now saying that they cannot go back to the classrooms to teach.

Apparently, they want to begin to demand for more money to return to school.

ASUU, in as much as he had a genuine cause to go on strike initially, must avoid the temptation of keeping our youths at home again.

The police still ranks number one in corruption in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

Democracy Observer-General and social crusader, Comrade Patrick Eholor has decried the continued rot of corruption eating up the Nigerian Police Force.

Eholor, who made exhaustive but damning reference to a report by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), expressed that it has become expedient that a total reform be carried out in the Police Force, if the government considers its corruption war serious at all.

“As we begin to enter into a New Year, it saddens me that the road to a new Nigeria is still far away, since despite the efforts we made during #EndSARS, no effort has been made to clean up the Police Force.

“What they are doing is window dressing, while the real puke is still right there in the police. Take for instance this report by SERAP. It says that the police is number one in bribery and corruption, out of all the public institutions they surveyed.

“Looking at the survey, it says that “a bribe is paid in 54 per cent of interactions with the police. In fact, there is a 63 per cent probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he or she interacted with the police. That is almost two out of three.”

The survey, which was presented to our reporter by Eholor, quoted the chair of the report launch, Akin Oyebode, as saying: “Nigeria is looked upon as a giant of Africa. Yet Nigeria could not conduct free, fair and credible elections. It is a smear on the image of Nigeria. If we do away with selective enforcement and condonation of corruption, we will build and live in a better society. Corruption is a refined form of stealing. The politicians are stealing our common patrimony. Development of the people is almost inversely proportional to the level of corruption.”

Part of the survey report stated: “Corruption remains a significant impediment to law enforcement, access to justice and basic public services such as affordable healthcare, education, and electricity supply. Several Nigerians have to pay a bribe to access police, judiciary, power, education and health services.

“Corruption is still a key concern in the country with 70% of Nigerians describing the level of corruption as high and in the same measure, stating that corruption levels either increased or remained the same in the last five years.”

“The national survey carried out between September and December 2018, covered the police, judiciary, power, education and health sectors to assess the state of corruption in law enforcement and public service provision.”

“From the analysis of the anti-corruption legal and institutional framework in Nigeria, the following cross-cutting issues emerged: there is lack of political goodwill to consistently enforce the different anti-corruption laws; inadequate funding for the various anti-corruption agencies; weak public support and/or ownership of anti-corruption initiatives; poor clarity of roles between various anti-corruption agencies; and public perceptions of politicisation of corruption arrests and prosecutions.”

“Bribery experiences were interrogated and recorded in the key sectors of education, health, the police, judiciary and power. Data analysis was conducted under five different and interrelated variables. There was a 63 per cent probability that an average Nigerian would be asked to pay a bribe each time he/she interacted with the police. The likelihood of bribery in the power sector stood at 49 per cent. With the chances of encountering bribery at the judiciary, education and health services standing at 27 per cent, 25 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.”

“The police were the most adversely ranked on this indicator. For every 100 police interactions reported by the respondents, there was a bribe paid in 54 interactions. The prevalence levels stood at 37 per cent in the power sector and 18 per cent in education,17.7 per cent in the judiciary and 14 per cent in the health sector.”

“51 per cent of the individuals that paid bribes to the police and 35 per cent to the power sector believed this was the only way to access the services sought from the institutions. The ranking of the education sector and the judiciary was less adverse with 16 per cent perceiving bribery as the main avenue of accessing services in the institutions, and health services recording 13 per cent.”

“The police and judiciary had the largest proportion of total bribes paid at 33 per cent and 31 per cent respectively. Bribes paid for education, power and health services accounted for 19 per cent, 10.9 and 5 per cent respectively of all bribes reported. The average amount of bribe paid by the respondents was highest among those who paid to the judiciary at about Naira 108,000 (US$ 298). All the other institutions ranked lower on this variable with Naira 12,253 and 11,566 reportedly paid to the police and education sectors, and Naira 6,462 and 5,143 paid for health and power services respectively.”

“Perceptions on corruption trends in Nigeria show almost 70 per cent of the respondents perceived the current level of corruption as high compared to 15.5 per cent that felt it was low. 70 per cent of the respondents said corruption levels either increased or remained the same in the last five years. Only a quarter of the respondents felt corruption reduced in this period.”

“About 41 per cent of the respondents projected that corruption will either increase or remain the same in the next year. About a third of the respondents (31.5 per cent) believed the ruling elite are pursuing their selfish interests only, therefore, corruption levels will increase into the future. Additionally, about a quarter of the respondents (24.9 per cent) believed the current anti-corruption efforts are not comprehensive enough. The poor state of the economy was also seen as a driving factor to increased corruption at 17.2 per cent.”

“Respondents identified poor coordination among the different state players as a key obstacle at 18.4 per cent. Lack of political will from the government and weak public support were ranked second at 12 per cent. Civic action against poor governance:

54.8 per cent of the respondents reported that they had not taken any action against poor governance. That more than half of the respondents were unwilling to initiate action is alarming and points to low confidence levels that appropriate measures would be taken even if the respondents took action.”

“This assumption is buttressed by the finding that 82 per cent of the actions taken were either not responded to or deemed sufficiently appropriate. Low civic action may also indicate low levels of public awareness on what redress mechanisms exist or how to access them.”

“The federal government should establish an independent commission of inquiry to conduct a transparent, comprehensive, and impartial investigation into systemic corruption within the Nigeria Police Force, judiciary, and the ministries of power, education and health.”

“The Inspector General of Police should receive and investigate complaints of bribery and corruption against police officers filed by members of the public. The police should liaise with community leaders and civil society organisations in regard to incidents of police bribery and corruption within the community.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the National Judicial Council should identify and review all outstanding cases of judicial corruption and refer such cases to appropriate anti-corruption agencies. They should apply the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers in a consistent and transparent manner, with full respect for the fundamental guarantees of fair trial and due process.”

“The Chief Justice of Nigeria and the NJC should publish annual reports of all activities involving the judiciary, including expenditure, and provide the public with reliable information about its governance and organisation, including the number of judges found to be corrupt, as well as ensure that the Chief Justice of Nigeria and all other judges make periodic asset disclosures.”

“The National Assembly should move swiftly to amend the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act to ensure public access to asset declarations made by public officials, and urgently pass the Proceeds of Crime Bill, the Whistleblowers Bill, and the Witness Protection Bill among other relevant pieces of legislation.”

“The National Assembly should immediately publish all reports of investigations on corruption and corruption-related matters in the judiciary, education, power and health sectors among others that have been conducted by the National Assembly since the return of democracy in 1999.”

“A positive legacy by the in-coming administration on 29 May 2019 and the recently appointed Inspector General of Police will mean improving accountability of the police, and proactively working to end all forms of corruption within the rank and file of the police. The Inspector General of Police should streamline and prioritise internal control mechanisms by establishing an Ethics and Integrity Unit at each police station. The unit should include a human rights officer, an anti-corruption officer, and an officer responsible for service delivery complaints.”

“The survey targeted a total of 2,655 respondents selected from seven states spread across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria and the capital city of Abuja. The sample was proportionate to population size across these zones. The survey covered the police, judiciary, power, education and health sectors to assess the state of corruption in public law enforcement and service provision.”

“Data for the survey was collected through a survey among ordinary citizens picked through simple random sampling of Nigerians above 18 years; in-depth interviews with key governance experts including representatives of national anti-corruption bodies, trade unions, the business community, media, lawyers, academia, people living with disability and university student leaders; and a review of the legal and institutional frameworks guiding anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria to assess their effectiveness.”

RECESSION: ‘We must end corruption, strengthen our institutions, introduce death sentence’ – Eholor

Democracy Observer-General and founder of human rights group, One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor has said that unless Nigerians begin to fight corruption with a greater frenzy, the second wave of the recession will bite much harder than the first.

Eholor, in a telephone interview with Jungle Journalist Media Limited, suggested a strengthening of our institutions, trial and death execution/life imprisonment for defaulters, and recovery of stolen funds back into the economy.

His words: “It’s an unfortunate circumstance that Nigerians have found themselves. You deserve those who govern you, and unfortunately, we have never had the opportunity to choose who governs us. We’ve never had leadership in this country, just banditry and bandits who call themselves leaders instead of them referring to themselves as emperors.

“The only way we can salvage this situation is to strengthen our institutions and if possible, to have a proactive law to try every corrupt civil servant and politician, service chiefs and others; to introduce death sentence or life imprisonment for those who have stolen our common patrimony and recover the moneies they have stolen and put that money into infrastructure, health sector, educational sector and other public interests, and reduce the number of churches and mosques we have in this country.

“Unfortunately, most of them have become merchants of misery, and I therefore suggest we borrow a leaf from China and Rwanda.

“If we follow suit, a better Nigeria is possible. Don’t forget the trademark of president Muhammadu Buhari that if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us”, he argued.

How Tinubu Diverted N22.4bn, $4.4m From Alpha Beta To Vintage Press, Oando, Purchased Shares In Wema, Starcomms, Others

The national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has been accused of diverting N22,360,000,000 and $4,396,063 from Alpha Beta Consulting account to that of Vintage Press Ltd, publisher of The Nation Newspaper, according to a report by Sahara Reporters.

A former Managing Director of the firm, Oladapo Apara made the allegation in writ of summons marked LD/7330GCMW/2020 deposed at a Lagos high court.

Claiming to own 30 per cent stake in the company, Apara alleged that the former governor reneged on certain agreements reached in the past about the management and control of the consulting firm.

According to a report by SR, Tinubu used Osun State governor, Adegboyega Oyetola, as front for the establishment of the firm.

Other fronts used by Tinubu according to the former Alpha Beta boss are Olumide Ogunmola and Tunde Badejo.

In his statement of claim, Apara said during a review of the company’s account, he discovered that huge sums of money earned by the company over the years were not reflected in its account.

“The claimant avers that despite the huge income made by the 1st defendant since 2010 to the present, Tunde Badejo and Akin Doherty acting under the direction of the 2nd defendant (Bola Ahmed Tinubu) breached Clause 8 of the partnership agreement and denied the claimant his share of the profit from the partnership as provided in the agreement.

“The claimant avers that Messrs Tunde Badejo, Michael Olunride Ogunmola and Akin Doherty have colluded and conspired to run the affairs of the business in a manner designed to bankrupt the 1st defendant through suspicious monetary transfers to 3rd parties running into billions of naira contrary to the partnership agreement.

“The claimant avers that some of the suspicious transfers to 3rd parties amongst many others unknown to the claimant are as follows: N500,000,000 payment to SW8 Investment Ltd payment instruction dated the 30/12/13

“$2,989,963.33 USD payment to Summit Integrated Services Ltd dated the 18/3/15. $1,407,000 USD payment to Summit Integrated Services dated the 18/3/15. N25m payment to Haliziew International dated the 18/3/15.

“N39m payment to Halizview International dated the 3/3/15. N38m payment o Halizview International dated the 6/3/15. N550m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd dated the 15/5/18.

“N850m payment to Ocean Trust Ltd dated the 14/3/15. N1bn in Afkar Printing Press together with Vintage Press Ltd (publisher of the The Nation) and Lagoon Press Ltd October 2017. N1bn Ocean and Oil Investments Ltd (Oando) various times.

“N3.5m Oceanic Bank(Now Ecobank) various times. N100m.Ibile Holding Land (Plot 16/17 Block VI Oniru Estate. N500m Starcomms (Aranda Resources) 100,000,000 shares.

“N1.4bn Sterling Asset Management. N960m HITV 300,000,000 shares and N11.9bn SW8 (Wema Bank) 30,909,000 shares.”

Patrick Eholor leads Abuja Anti-Corruption Protest, as Group Demand Capital Punishment for Corruption

By Ebriku John Friday, Abuja

A group of Nigerian students and activists under the auspices of Joint Action Committee, JAC, Wednesday, embarked on peaceful protest at the popular NICON Junction, in Maitama District of Abuja to demand capital punishment for corrupt public officials including other issues.

The protest which was organised by One Love Foundation, initially was billed to hold at Unity Fountain, opposite Transcorp Hilton, but was stopped by security agents from using the venue.

Speaking on the reasons for their protest, the Founder, One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor, said Nigerians are indeed taking for a ride and the common patrimony that belongs to them are on daily basis carted away with impunity, and they can no more sit and watch.

He also lamented that worsening insecurity situation in the North East region, which has claimed over 37, 000 lives of innocent Nigerians, therefore called for the resignation and apology of Service Chiefs.

He said: “Our demands include capital punishment for who loot our common patrimony, and this is our first demand. In order to eliminate corruption is to introduce capital punishment because Buhari said if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill us.

Founder of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor, speaking with journalists

“We are also saying that Nigerian institutions should reverse what they call admittance fee for the sake of the poor people. We are saying the Nigerian Police should be given adequate package to stop the aggression towards us, the Nigerian Customs Service should leave our streets and go to the borders, the Nigerian Immigration Service should stop giving citizenship to Lebanese, Indians and Chinese, and women should get more involved in politics.

“Service Chiefs have done us a disservice. We have lost over 37, 000 people in the North and the statistics are very correct. They should retire and apologise. So we must change the Service Chiefs because they have done us a disservice.

“We call on the Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amechi, for putting Nigeria’s sovereignty in danger over his signing of agreements that we just know about.

“We warn that if there is no change we all will become unruly and outlawed.”

He further stated that the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen God’swill Akpabio, mention all names of those who have milked the nation as far as the National Assembly probe on Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is concerned ., which he aqlso alleged that the NDDC has not funded any project in Edo State, where he hails from.

“I approached my Member House of Representatives, who was allegedly mentioned by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Sen God’swill Akpabio as a contract beneficiary to show me where in the constituency he executed the projects, but he denied categorically, saying Akpabio must be day-dreaming. NDDC has not being funded in my area since 2018. Akpabio must mention to us those with him that milked Nigeria”, he added.

Speaking further, he (Eholor) called for peaceful and fair election in Edo State governorship election.

“My advice the governorship candidates of the two political parties, PDP and APC respectively is to ensure free and fair electoral process and think of the electorates, and who the cap fits should wear it, there is no loser or winner, who wins should be saluted and whoever lose should be embraced”, he said.

However, he said that, “I am not partisan because there have been accusations of god-father left and right. If we say former Chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC, and former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, was a god-father for instance, the son who is my friend and present Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, benefited from that god-fatherism.
Comrade Sunny Idika speaking during the protest

“So he who has not lived or sin let him cast the first stone. They all have one interest and don’t have interest of the people. We must stop that and people must be educated to go out there and register and truly vote. We must not sacrifice ourselves for these ‘bandits’.”

Meanwhile, other leaders of the protesters, including Nigerian Students and Youth Activist, Comrade Osemudiamen Ogbidi, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Chapter, Comrade John Michael, and others said President Muhammadu Buhari, should not leave those people who siphoned Nigeria’s money, eaten what belongs to the Nigerian youth and citizens should surely pay heavily for it, and ensure that anybody caught siphoning Nigeria money should be sentenced to death.

“Whether it is any institution or individual to siphon the money that belong to the public by private individuals it is not in the interest of Nigerians to continue to fight corruption that has no effect on the well-being of fellow Nigerians.

“Every day in our lives we have people who are dying because of poverty what has caused it is not more than corruption. We are here as Nigerian students, activists, advocates and conscience that anyone found wanton of corruption should die by corruption. Corruption is now a ‘Nigerian’ living with us but we say no to corruption.

“The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, should provide the N80 billion spent within four months. The NDDC must tell us the N128 million they used to send drivers to driving schools. Where on earth is that done? Today everybody wants to travel to Dubai, but what did it take the people there to establish and develop their country? It was less than N1 billion. We hear billions of Naira budgeted for schools and others and yet our country is retrogressing. We say enough is enough!

“The reason why the Nigerian students have not resumed school is because of corruption. How long are we going to live like this in poverty, Diaspora, suffering, and if there is no change we are going to contain Nigeria”, they alleged.

CORRUPTION: Activist advocates use of African Traditional methods for oath-taking

Social rights defender and Observer-General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Patriot Patrick Eholor has said that the best way to eliminate corruption among public officer holders is for them to take oath of office in the African traditional method.

Eholor argued that the Bible and Quran which came with foreign religions lack the potency of the African religion whereby one gets punished spiritually if he or she lies on oath. He said that way, dishonest and corrupt politicians will become extinct in public offices as whoever is seeking office must be ready to be honest or suffer the consequences.

Addressing our media representative in an interview, he stated;

“We have been deceived very well. We have seen Akpabio and the other people confessing. We have seen how corrupt these people are and how the pastors have become very mute over the whole thing. My advice today is that Nigeria has become so corrupt. We must drop Quran and Bible when taking oath. We must come back to African Traditional Religion, ATR.

“Before they are elected into office, they should take oath with Ogun, Alusi, or Eledumare, or Sango. They should take serious oaths, and say, “I swear by Sango, or Eledumare, or Ogun that what I am saying today is the truth and the whole truth. That if I go contrary by looting the treasury, or making the citizens suffer by stealing the money of the country, may Ogun kill them”

“Former president of Ghana, Jerry Rawlings, may God bless him agrees with what I am saying. He said we should go back to ATR, so that all these people stealing our money, when they steal our ,Onye, they will be struck by thunder. If they steal our money and buy a car, the same month they will die by accident.

“When they see that criminals perish like that, they will not steal again. But now when they steal our money, they will pray in Jesus name. They will go to Bible and pray. They will go to church and stay in the front row, and donate money that was stolen to do road. You are a murderer when you steal money meant for road, and people die because of your corrupt actions. If you steal money for security and security was not provided, and somebody was raped, or murdered, is kidnapped, it’s on you. You are a murderer.

“If money is allocated for a hospital and you take that money and take your children to Dubai, and you take your girlfriend to Dubai, and leave people to die, you are a murderer. If you don’t get it now, your children and your grandchildren will get it. It will remain in your family line, that curse, until you change. And you people must change. Because I am going to write to the National Assembly that we are going to dump Quran and Bible.

“The elders and the youths, you must ask questions, you must demand your rights. Enough is enough. You either live free or you die, what’s the point living when you are not free? It’s better we question these people, who are full of banditry, stealing our common patrimony, who are foolish that they take money abroad. They don’t even invest it.

“I wonder why every people that failed us in this country are all P. Pastors is P, not all the pastors, some are good, politicians is P. Everything that failed us is PPPPP, what’s wrong with the letter P? Should we take it off our vocabulary”, he queried.

CORRUPTION: Edo Indigenes to investigate Edo NDDC, institute litigation if…

The leadership of Edo Progressive Indigenes Association (EPIA), has warned that they will institute litigation against the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Edo State branch if found complicit in the corruption galore going on in the agency.

Edo Indigenous Movement Leader and President of EPIA, Chief Dr Bishop J.O.Enoyiogiere Edokpolo gave this warning in Benin City, Edo State capital while speaking on the gravity of the NDDC scandal.

He said that the country should be embarrassed that the issue of corruption seem unending as different ministries, agencies and even national assemblies seep with the odious stink of corruption.

“I am not surprised but is obviously angry that at this stage of our national life, we are still battling with this thing called corruption. Unfortunately, its now at a level where it looks impossible to eliminate, because those who are supposed to enforce its elimination are all into the game.

“But we at EIM and EPIA do not believe in the power of corruption over our people. This is because of the strong cultural value behind every Edo indigene. We want to however warn that, as Niger Deltans, and naturally, benefactors of the NDDC projects and plans, we will not fold our hands and watch a few individuals corner or pocket wealth meant for the people.

“We warn Edo NDDC that we are embarking on a fact-finding mission, and woe betide if the agency is found wanting. Edo Indigenes will fight corruption at the level of the NDDC with all that we have got. We will not sit back and watch one man or a group of people squander our commonwealth, or pocket what is the right of our people. Let no man think he can do that here in Edo State.

“We all must play our different roles to ensure that we eliminate corruption in this country”, Edokpolo stated.

Court Dismisses Corruption Charges Against Tompolo, Others By EFCC

A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court Wednesday dismissed all the 40 counts bordering on alleged N34 billion fraud filed by the Federal Government against Global West Vessel Specialist Limited, a company linked to a former Niger Delta militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as Tompolo.

Mr Ekpemupolo was charged alongside a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Patrick Akpolokemi; Kime Engozu; Rex Elem; Gregory Mbonu; and Warredi Enisuoh.

Three other firms – Odimiri Electrical Limited; Boloboere Property and Estate Limited; and Destre Consult Limited – were also defendants in the criminal case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2015.

The ex-militant leader was initially joined as the first defendant in the suit, but his name was removed from the charge sheet after he ignored an order to appear in court, despite the judge issuing an arrest warrant on him.

In his ruling on Wednesday, Mr Buba upheld the defendants’ no-case submission, saying the prosecution “failed to establish a prima facie case” against them.

In the charges, the EFCC had accused the defendants of conspiring among themselves to divert various sums running into over N34bn, belonging to NIMASA to their personal use.

The EFCC said they acted contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and were liable to punishment under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

The first count of the amended 40 counts read, “That you, Government Ekpemupolo (alias Tompolo), Patrick Akpobolokemi and Global West Vessel Specialist Limited in 2012, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of N601, 516.13 and $1,766,428.62, property of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

The defendants had, during their arraignment four years ago, all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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More trouble for Magu as security operatives search home

Security operatives, on Tuesday evening, searched the Karu, Abuja, house of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.

The search, a source said, was part of the investigation into the activities of the anti-corruption commission under Magu, who was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 9, 2015.

The embattled Magu was on Monday “arrested” by security operatives to face the presidential investigative panel, led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, retired Justice Ayo Salami, over some allegations levelled against him by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami SAN, in a memo to President Buhari.

The Justice Salami-led panel, it was learnt, has representatives of the police, Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), the Department of State Services (DSS), among others.

The memo raised by Malami has some damning allegations against Magu, who was alleged, among other allegations, of insubordination to the AGF, ‘relooting of recovered loots’ and Sale of seized assets to cronies, associates and friends.

After facing the panel on Monday, the embattled Magu was detained at the Force CID at Garki, Abuja, from where he went to face the panel against on Tuesday.

A source informed that the security operative went to the house with a search warrant and moved in to carry out the search.

Media and the fight against corruption in Nigeria

By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu

Undoubtedly, corruption has been the bane of Nigeria’s development for decades now. Both the military and the civilian administrations in this country have not spared efforts to put this monster at bay.

Efforts to rid the country of corruption formed basis of the military coups in the past. One remarkable effort that deserves mention is the reasons advanced by Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu in his bid to justify the 15, January, 1966 coup that overthrew the government of First Republic. He said: “Our enemies are the political profiteers, the swindlers, the men in high and low places that seek bribes and demand 10 per cent; those that have corrupted our society and put the Nigerian calendar back by words and deeds.”

Since Nzeogwu rendered this thought-provoking statement, corruption has remained recalcitrant, and could be likened to Wole Soyinka’s ogbanje child – in his epic poem, Abiku – who kept re-incarnating, visiting untold hardship and discomfort to the parents.

Because of the severe consequences of corruption on Nigeria’s image, both locally and internationally, and the negative pressures it is exerting on the nation’s economy, subsequent administrations have no option but to design one campaign or the other to fight the malaise. The present administration led by President Muhammadu Buhari is no exception. In the president’s thought, “if the nation does not kill corruption, corruption will kill the nation.”

One tool that has been proved veritable over the years – in the successful mounting of any public campaign – is the mass media. The mass media can be referred as channels of communication through which information, knowledge, ideas, culture, and norms are passed or communicated to a heterogeneous audience that are sparsely distributed and spontaneously receive this message. The mass media can be print, which include newspapers and magazines, among others; or the electronics, which comprises the radio or television. There is also a recent brand of the mass media which is referred to as the new media. The new media, according to Wikipedia.org, refers to content available on demand through the internet, accessible on any digital device, usually containing interactive user-feedback and creative participation. Common examples of new media include websites, such as online newspapers, blogs, wikis, video games and social media. One of the defining characteristics of the channel of mass media is dialogue. The new media transmit content through connection and conversation. It enables people around the world to share, comment on, and discuss a wide variety of topics.

The question that agitates the mind here is: “Why should the mass media be adequately deployed in the current fight against corruption?” The answer is not far-fetched. It is in controvertible that the media play a critical role in a country’s development. The media were at the forefront of the struggle for independence across African countries. A typical example is Nigeria, where elder statesman, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and other nationalists deployed the media maximally in their struggle for the nation’s independence. Because of the notable roles of the mass media in a nation’s development, a renowned scholar, Edmund Burke, conferred the media with the title of “Fourth Estate of the Realm.” Though not constitutionally guaranteed, the media checkmates other arms of government, such as the executive, legislature, and judiciary. The media is also referred to as the “watchdog” of the society, because it strives as the mirror with which the masses keep a tab on the society, basically the ruling class. Without the media, the society cannot function properly, and anything that affects the media negatively touches the heart of the society.

It is important to note that the media has made immense inputs in political reforms and nation building. The media has been deployed to effect political changes such as the collapse of Unio of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), agitations for political reforms in China and pro-democracy struggles in Nigeria.

The roles of the media in any society cannot be overemphasised. They include carrying of ideas; presenting representative pictures of the society; classifying the values and goals of the society; monitoring the government and making it accountable to the people ; promoting the concept of accountability, integrity, honesty, fairness and equity. Others are giving voice to the voiceless; agenda setting; fostering national unity and integration; promoting society’s culture and the moral value systems; and promoting sustainable national interest at all times. It is unambiguous to note here that if the current fight against corruption is to succeed, the media must be deployed effectively.

In addition, for media men to discharge their duties effectively in this current fight against corruption, the media ethics should be upheld religiously. It is an open secret that the ethics of the media of recent have been eroded embarrassingly. Webster New Collegiate Dictionary defines ethics as the discipline that deals with what is good and bad with moral duty and obligation; a set of moral principles and values; the principles of conduct governing an individual or group; and conforming to accepted professional standard of conduct.

The ethics of the media are some principles and codes of conduct that guide the journalist in the discharge of his duties and are as important as inner directives for the individual decision-making in various situations that arise in the course of performing his professional duties.

The Nigerian Press Ethical Codes of Conduct include the respect for the truth; the respect for the freedom of the individual; the respect for constituted authorities; avoidance of publication of bad taste in language and pictures; avoidance of libel and sedition; avoidance of malicious publication; not settling personal quarrels on the pages of newspapers and airwaves; not promoting sectional interest; respect away from bribes, including brown and envelope (sic; protecting your source of information at all times; not reporting about protected areas or zones; and maintaining good image both in conduct and appearance.

For the purpose of the current fight against corruption, few ethical codes and conduct should be emphasised. It will be recalled that the press has been seriously lampooned because of the black envelope syndrome. It is generally alleged that this syndrome induces journalists to slant stories in the interest of their benefactors. Though this assertion deserves a thorough argument, it is a known dictum that “he who pays the piper dictates the tune.”

A contradictory argument which tends to support the brown envelope syndrome expresses concern over the conditions of service of media practitioners, especially those in privately-owned establishments. It is no longer news that journalists are owed arrears of salaries, upward of one year, by proprietors of media houses in the country, including the notable. Indeed, bribery (brown envelope) is serious ethical issue of the media and should not be treated with kids’ glove. But to effectively de-emphasise it, media practitioners should be adequately remunerated and their salaries should be paid as at when due. If we achieve this, the fight against corruption would have been substantially achieved. In the words of late Moshood Abiola, publisher of the defunct Concord Newspapers, “if you fail to pay your workers, someone else will pay them and they will work for the person.”

Also, if the current fight against corruption must succeed, journalists should not promote sectional interest. They should see the entire country as their constituency. People who have been previously convicted for corruption should be celebrated on the front pages of newspapers or accord prominence on the electronic media. They should be treated as corrupt persons and not saints, because sometimes whatever the media accords prominence is regarded as serious issues by the public. The media should not promote issues that would affect the psyche of the public negatively. If these codes of conduct are religiously upheld, our current fight against corruption will achieve remarkable victory.