EFCC And The Lost Battle Against Corruption!

Close to a decade after the inauguration of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the war against corruption in Nigeria continues to rage with the anti-graft body clearly not having the upper hand. The bulk of the blame has been put on the Federal Government for not allowing the Commission to function without undue interference.

It is believed in some quarters that most of those who should be arrested, investigated and prosecuted by the EFCC are enjoying protection from the Federal Government and people hardly get hounded by agents of the commission unless they have fallen out of favour with the Government.

The leadership of the Commission has changed a number of times but the system with which it pursues its mandate has remained the same over the years. Many had questioned the genuineness of the intention behind the commission right from its first few years as it was largely seen as a tool by the Federal Government to witch-hunt real or perceived opponents.

Though the fear of the EFCC was the beginning of wisdom in the Obasanjo years, it became obvious that the Malam Nuhu Ribadu-led commission targeted mainly those who dared to antagonize the President.

Though back then, the EFCC was seen to be working, though not without some flaws. For instance, Rotimi Amaechi faced fire when the EFCC brought up charges of financial impropriety against him just before the 2007 elections and he was dropped as the governorship candidate of his party. It was later made public that it was because the powers that be were not favourably disposed to his ambition to rule Rivers State.

Peter Odili too aspired for the PDP’s presidential ticket in 2007. It was an open secret that former President Olusegun Obasanjo used the EFCC to frustrate that ambition.

One of the beneficiaries of Obasanjo’s effective usage of the EFCC was Engineer Segun Oni, the deposed Governor of Ekiti State. Though he came third in the shadow elections, during a meeting with the three top contenders for the PDP’s ticket, the President brought out a file which he claimed was the EFCC’s dossier on Yinka Akerele who came tops at the primaries. There and then, “OBJ” in his wisdom decided that Oni should be chosen as the party’s candidate. He was immediately told to go and flag off his campaign in Ado Ekiti.

Joshua Chibi Dariye, a Governor was arrested in London with loads of money and pronto, Dariye found his way to Nigeria after being granted bail. Not long after, Nuhu Ribadu addressed the Plateau State House of Assembly and pronto, Dariye was impeached   He challenged his impeachment and was reinstated by the Court, with the verdict being upheld by the Supreme Court.

After the expiration of his tenure in May, 2007, he was arraigned at Federal High Court, Guda on a charge of stealing over N 700 million. He was granted bail and today, Dariye is a Senator of the Federal Republic!

The situation in Ekiti was somewhat similar. No one ever believed Fayose could be impeached by the House of Assembly in which he controlled the majority. On one occasion, he opened a portion of the Government House for his guests and there the House of Assembly was holding a meeting around 1 a.m.  After the arrest of some of his friends and associates over a failed poultry project, the EFCC swooped on the Ekiti State House of Assembly and after several visits to the EFCC facilities in Lagos and Abuja, the legislators were made to understand that the commission had records of the funds they collected for “constituency projects” and how the funds were “utilised” Not long after, the legislators backed down and the “vote of absolute confidence” earlier passed on the Governor gave way. He was impeached along with his deputy and his case started in court on December 17, 2006. He was accused of looting about N 1.2 billion.

So far, Lucky Igbinedion is the only former Governor who has paid back part of his loot. While facing a 191-count charge of money laundering, Igbinedion opted for a plea bargain and he paid back N 4.3 billion in a case that was determined in 2008.

To many, the EFCC was simply playing to the gallery as it continued to drag people to court and the number of convictions obtained did not show that it was indeed winning the war against graft. The case of Bode George as well as the assets forefeiture of Tafa Balogun and Dipreieye Alamieyesegha are the major achievements the commission can boast of.

Then came the blame game, the EFCC blamed the Executive for interfering in its activities through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation. Bails have allegedly been secured for people who were arrested by the Commission through the Attorney General. And at the end of the day, the country ends up being the loser, if an agency that is funded by the Government is prevented from carrying out its functions by agents of the same government.

Internal politics also affected the quick and diligent prosecution of a lot of cases. Each time a new Chairman comes on board, there is bound to be the redeployment of officers believed to be in the structure built by the chairman’s predecessors. The transfer of a lot of investigators has reportedly done a lot to affect the cases that were handled by such officers.

The Game of Deception

In May, a report of the United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour on Nigeria had posited that “the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption; however, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Massive, widespread and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces. The constitution provides immunity from civil and criminal prosecution to the President, Vice President, Governors and Deputy Governors while in office.”

The ways of the EFCC have clearly shown that there is more to the corruption war than Nigerians are being made to believe. For instance, in the case of Wale Babalakin, the Bi-Courtney Group Chairman, he was invited by the EFCC, queried and allowed to go on some conditions. And when he was to be arraigned, he took ill overnight and has been in hospital since then.

Incidentally, Babalakin was not in trouble with the EFCC until after the revocation of the concession of the Lagos-Ibadan express road which his company got some years ago. The EFCC only opened his matter after his company, Bi-Courtney decided to go to court. And when many herad that the EFCC was after Babalakin, the first thought was that it would be in connection with the road contract; maybe he would be made to face the law for failing to meet some of the terms and thereby indirectly causing unnecessary deaths and bodily harm on the road.  Alas, it was on a different matter entirely. He was charged with helping James Ibori, the former Governor of Delta State to launder money. Ibori on whose behalf the money was laundered is already in prison in the UK. The action of the EFCC has generated a lot of unanswered questions, for instance, “where on earth was the EFCC when Ibori, his wife, his mistress and even his lawyer were facing trial? When Ibori was arraigned in Nigeria, why was Babalakin not arraigned as accomplice?”

Questions are also being asked regarding how his company got a contract from the Federal Government three years after he was involved in money laundering and he was being investigated by the EFCC. Incidentally, the EFCC did not raise any objections when the contract was awarded to him back then. The book of remembrance was opened six years after and just 48 hours after the revocation of the road contract which many opined was long overdue.

The EFCC also recently came out to say it had concluded plans to declare former Kogi State Governor, Abubakar Audu wanted after he allegedly fled his Abuja home in order to evade arrest. Findings have however revealed that Audu has not left Abuja and he has not been hiding.

 

 

Author: NewsAdmin

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FLASHBACK: April 22, 1990 – Gideon Orkar’s Coup Speech. Fellow Nigerian Citizens,

On behalf of the patriotic and well-meaning peoples of the Middle Belt and the southern parts of this country, I , Major Gideon Orkar, wish to happily inform you of the successful ousting of the dictatorial, corrupt, drug baronish, evil man, deceitful, homo-sexually-c­­entered, prodigalistic, un-patriotic administration of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.

We have equally commenced their trials for unabated corruption, mismanagement of national economy, the murders of Dele Giwa, Major-General Mamman Vasta, with other officers as there was no attempted coup but mere intentions that were yet to materialize and other human rights violations.

The National Guard already in its formative stage is disbanded with immediate effect. Decrees Number 2 and 46 are hereby abrogated. We wish to emphasize that this is not just another coup but a well-conceived,­­ planned and executed revolution for the marginalized, oppressed and enslaved peoples of the Middle Belt and the south with a view to freeing ourselves and children yet unborn from eternal slavery and colonization by a clique of this country.

Our history is replete with numerous and uncontrollable instances of callous and insensitive dominatory repressive intrigues by those who think it is their birthright to dominate till eternity the political and economic privileges of this great country to the exclusion of the people of the Middle Belt and the south.

They have almost succeeded in subjugating the Middle Belt and making them voiceless and now extending same to the south.

It is our unflinching belief that this quest for domination, oppression and marginalization­­ is against the wish of God and therefore, must be resisted with the vehemence.

Anything that has a beginning must have an end. It will also suffice here to state that all Nigerians without skeleton in their cupboards need not to be afraid of this change. However, those with skeleton in their cupboards have all reasons to fear, because the time of reckoning has come.

For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state the three primary reasons why we have decided to oust the satanic Babangida administration.­­ The reasons are as follows:

(a) To stop Babangida’s desire to cunningly, install himself as Nigeria’s life president at all costs and by so doing, slowpoke the progress of this country for life. In order to be able to achieve this undesirable goals of his, he has evidently started destroying those groups and sections he perceived as being able to question his desires.

Examples of groups already neutralized, pitched against one another or completely destroyed are:

(1) The Sokoto caliphate by installing an unwanted Sultan to cause division within the hitherto strong Sokoto caliphate.

(2) The destruction of the peoples of Plateau State, especially the Lantang people, as a balancing force in the body politics of this country.

(3) The buying of the press by generous monetary favors and the usage of State Security Service, SSS, as a tool of terror.

(4) The intent to cow the students by the promulgation of the draconian decree Number 47.

(5) The cowing of the university teaching and non-teaching staff by an intended massive purge, using the 150 million dollar loan as the necessitating factor.

(6) Deliberately withholding funds to the armed forces to make them ineffective and also crowning his diabolical scheme through the intended retrenchment of more than half of the members of the armed forces.

Other pointers that give credence to his desire to become a life president against the wishes of the people are:

(1) His appointment of himself as a minister of defense, his putting under his direct control the SSS, his deliberate manipulation of the transition programme, his introduction of inconceivable, unrealistic and impossible political options, his recent fraternization with other African leaders that have installed themselves as life presidents and his dogged determination to create a secret force called the national guard, independent of the armed forces and the police which will be answerable to himself alone, both operationally and administrativel­­y.

It is our strong view that this kind of dictatorial desire of Babangida is unacceptable to Nigerians of the 1990’s, and, therefore, must be resisted by all.

Another major reason for the change is the need to stop intrigues, domination and internal colonization of the Nigerian state by the so-called chosen few. This, in our view, has been and is still responsible for 90 percent of the problems of Nigerians.

This indeed has been the major clog in our wheel of progress.

This clique has an unabated penchant for domination and unrivalled fostering of mediocrity and outright detest for accountability,­­ all put together have been our undoing as a nation.

This will ever remain our threat if not checked immediately. It is strongly believed that without the intrigues perpetrated by this clique and misrule, Nigeria will have in all ways achieved developmental virtues comparable to those in Korea, Taiwan, Brazil, India, and even Japan.

Evidence, therefore, this cancerous dominance has as a factor constituted by a major and unpardonable clog in the wheel of progress of the Nigerian state. It is suffice to mention a few distasteful intrigues engineered by this group of Nigerians in recent past. These are:

(1) The shabby and dishonorable treatment meted on the longest serving Nigerian general in the person of General Domkat Bali, who in actual fact had given credibility to the Babangida administration.

(2) The wholesale hijacking of Babangida’s administration by the all-powerful clique.

(3) The disgraceful and inexplicable removal of Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe, Professor Tam David-West, Mr. Aret Adams and so on from office.

(4) The now-pervasive and on-going retrenchment of Middle Belt and southerners from public offices and their instant replacement by the favoured class and their stooges.

(5) The deliberate disruption of the educational culture and retarding its place to suit the favoured class to the detriment of other educational minded parts of this country.

(6) The deliberate impoverishment of the peoples from the Middle Belt and the south, making them working ghosts and feeding on the formulae of 0-1-1- or 0-0-0 while the aristocratic class and their stooges are living in absolute affluence on a daily basis without working for it.

(7) Other countless examples of the exploitative, oppressive, dirty games of intrigues of its class, where people and stooges that can best be described by the fact that even though they contribute very little economically to the well-being of Nigeria, they have over the years served and presided over the supposedly national wealth derived in the main from the Middle Belt and the southern part of this country, while the people from these parts of the country have been completely deprived from benefiting from the resources given to them by God.

(8) The third reason for the change is the need to lay a strong egalitarian foundation for the real democratic take off of the Nigerian state or states as they circumstances may dictate.

In the light of all the above and in recognition of the negativeness of the aforementioned aristocratic factor, the overall progress of the Nigerian state a temporary decision to excise the following states namely, Sokoto, Borno, Katsina, Kano and Bauchi states from the Federal Republic of Nigeria comes into effect immediately until the following conditions are met.

The conditions to be met to necessitate the re-absorption of the aforementioned states are as following:

(a) To install the rightful heir to the Sultanate, Alhaji Maccido, who is the people’s choice.

(b) To send a delegation led by the real and recognized Sultan Alhaji Maccido to the federal government to vouch that the feudalistic and aristocratic quest for domination and operation will be a thing of the past and will never be practiced in any part of the Nigeria state.

By the same token, all citizens of the five states already mentioned are temporarily suspended from all public and private offices in Middle Belt and southern parts of this country until the mentioned conditions above are met.

They are also required to move back to their various states within one week from today. They will, however, be allowed to return and joint the Federal Republic of Nigeria when the stipulated conditions are met.

In the same vein, all citizens of the Middle Belt and the south are required to come back to their various states pending when the so-called all-in-all Nigerians meet the conditions that will ensure a united Nigeria. A word is enough for the wise.

This exercise will not be complete without purging corrupt public officials and recovering their ill-gotten wealth, since the days of the oil boom till date. Even in these hard times, when Nigerians are dying from hunger, trekking many miles to work for lack of transportation,­­ a few other Nigerians with complete impunity are living in unbelievable affluence both inside and outside the country.

We are extremely determined to recover all ill-gotten wealth back to the public treasury for the use of the masses of our people. You are all advised to remain calm as there is no cause for alarm. We are fully in control of the situation as directed by God. All airports, seaports and borders are closed forthwith.

The former Armed Forces Ruling Council is now disbanded and replaced with National Ruling Council to be chaired by the head of state with other members being a civilian vice-head of state, service chiefs, inspector general of police, one representative each from NLC, NUJ, NBA, and NANS.

A curfew is hereby imposed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until further notice. All members of the armed forces and the police forces are hereby confined to their respective barracks.

All unlawful and criminal acts by those attempting to cause chaos will be ruthlessly crushed. Be warned as we are prepared at all costs to defend the new order.

All radio stations are hereby advised to hook on permanently to the national network programme until further notice.

Long live all true patriots of this great country of ours. May God and Allah through his bountiful mercies bless us all”.
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