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Corruption: Govs, others in trouble •Obasanjo threatens probe

Posted by Musa Simon-Reef and Bukola Ojeme on 2005/08/07 | Views: 382 |

Corruption: Govs, others in trouble •Obasanjo threatens probe


President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday warned that corrupt political office holders basking in the euphoria of the immunity clause to plunder public treasury would not be spared by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC} after they have left office.

President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday warned that corrupt political office holders basking in the euphoria of the immunity clause to plunder public treasury would not be spared by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC} after they have left office.

He also said that the Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, would, henceforth, seat on the Federation Account Allocation Committee in order to monitor disbursements and utilisation of proceeds from the Federal Allocation by the three tiers of government.

The president spoke at the inauguration the EFCC Training and Research Centre, located in the Federal Capital.

At least10 serving state governors are currently being investigated by both the EFCC and Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).

Only recently, the EFCC had to discontinue with the prosecution of a state governor from the North-Central zone by virtue of the Immunity clause in the 1999 constitution.

In a speech intermittently punctuated by applause from the audience, Obasanjo lashed out at the elite over their corrupt tendencies.

He also berated the police, judiciary, customs, Immigration, Religious and traditional institutions for allowing themselves to be tarred by the paint brush of corruption.

“This is no longer acceptable. Leaders at all levels of our government must realise that the era where their stewardship after office was consigned to history books is no longer the case. Their stewardship after office will henceforth be examined and re-examined with a microscope to determine whether it meant all the good principles of governance, including transparency and accountability.

“Immunity or no immunity, leadership will be constantly under the microscope inside and outside the office. Let me, therefore, call on those in leadership positions that history will never remove from their conduct,” he warned.

He called on public officers to, “ live by example. Your conduct and character in private and public must reflect that spirit of total and undiluted opposition to corruption and any criminal conduct.”

“No government can ever survive or deliver viable service to the people, no matter how good its intentions are, if corruption exists in its surrounding as well as in its public service on which it depends to provide the efficient and effective administrative machinery to translate its policies into action,” he added.

Obasanjo emphasised that “the moment key leaders are less than incorruptible and less than firm in demanding high standards, the structure of administrative integrity will become weak, compromised, contaminated, ineffective and worthless as a tool for change for development and progress.”

The President enumerated measures taken so far by his administration to take the fight against corruption from the centre to other tiers of government.

“The publication of monthly allocation from the Federation Account to the three tier of government has to some extent helped transparent utiliszation of resources.

“This initiative has also increased the awareness of citizens as to the quantity and direction of movement of funds between the Federal Government and other tiers of government.”

“I have approved that EFCC seat in the monthly Federation Account Allocation Committee meeting to monitor and trail movement and utilisation of funds allocated,” he said.

The president acknowledged that key government institutions that should ordinarily be far from the tar brush of corruption had become tainted, taking a swipe at the judiciary, police, customs and religious and traditional institutions as having sometimes harboured corrupt elements within their rank.

According to him, even the judiciary, that should be the last hope of the common man has become corrupted, at least to some extent.

“Corruption has weakened the public security system, especially the police that came to be known for its pathological fixation on collection of bribes, illegal tolls and levies. You are all familiar with wetin you carry”.

“The private sector has not been left out. Infact in many instances, the private sector until very recently was the main culprit, because in the struggle for contracts, it corrupted public officials. They bring contra-bands and bribe the Customs,” he added.

The president stated further that, “criminals were known to receive great favours from religious leaders. “Even the clerk who donates a N10 million organ or builds part of a place of worship or pays the first class ticket of a religious leader and his family plus vacation cost abroad is never questioned. Rather such a crook receives prayers and praises from the religious leader.”

He also criticised the nation’s traditional institutions for conferring chieftaincy titles on people who became wealthy through corrupt means.

“Today, even in the most remote village in Nigeria, questions about the undeserved or sudden wealth of some people are never raised. An unemployed youth of yesterday goes to the city and reappears a couple of years later with a fleet of cars, puts up a mansion and throws cash around the village recklessly. He is simply celebrated and made a chief. And he becomes the political and financial leader of the community.”

In his remarks, EFCC chairman said that its Training and Research centre would be at the core of building the capacity of EFCC personnel, thereby enhancing their ability to fight economic crimes.

He also acknowledged the contribution of the British Government to the provision of training equipment for the centre.

The Senate President, Chief Ken Nnamani, assured Nigerians of the support of the National Assembly in funding the commission’s activities and expeditious passage of the EFCC Amendment Bill.

The Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Alhaji Bello Masari;Chief Justice of the Federation, Honourable Justice Lawal Uwais; Katsina State Governor, Mohammed Musa Yar’adua; former Prime Minister of Tanzania,Justice S.J.Warioba, and the Service Chiefs were among those who graced the occasion.

SUNDAY PUNCH, August 07, 2005

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.