The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has hailed the Edo State Police Command for returning a sum of N100,000 which was allegedly extorted from one Emmanuel Alabede by some police officers in the state.
Alabede, who is a contractor was travelling from Ibadan to Abuja a few weeks ago when his vehicle was stopped by the policemen along the Ibillo-Okene highway.
In a statement signed on Monday by its Media Coordinator, Adegboyega Otunuga, CACOL explained that it had condemned the act and called on the police authorities to investigate the case.
CACOL said, “When we read about the illegal behaviour of the police officers along that busy highway – specifically how they habitually extort cash from travelling passengers – we immediately condemned their action and enjoined the Police authorities to investigate the matter and bring the culprits to book.
“It is therefore commendable that the Edo Police Command swung into action by investigating and taking measures, not only towards recovering and returning the extorted cash to the victim, but also by punishing the affected officers.
“Why Emmanuel Alabede’s case is condemnable is the fact that he was actually accompanied to a Point of Sale (POS) operator and coerced to withdraw money at gunpoint.
“This we regard as criminal. But we take solace in the swiftness and thorough approach of the State Police Commissioner on the matter.”
CACOL maintained that its position has always been that any officer arrested over any involvement in a criminal act should be instantly dealt with and shown the way out of the Force.
It called for a review of the recruitment and training process for all officers to ensure discipline in the police.
Beyond that, the organisation called for proper remuneration of the officers so as to minimise the tendency for bribery.
“We are persuaded to agree with Mr Emmanuel Alabede that the problem with the Nigerian Police is actually institutional and structural,” CACOL said.
“This is why we wish to reiterate that the modus operandi, recruitment and training of officers and men of the force should be reviewed to make it more amenable to contemporary times while their allowances and salaries should be upwardly reviewed to discourage the temptation of bribery and extortion. This is to enable the society to nurture the kind of police it truly deserves.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), has hailed an Abuja High Court for sentencing the former Governor of Taraba State, Reverend Jolly Nyame, to 14 years’ imprisonment for looting N1.6billon.
The group described Nyame’s conviction as a further reassurance that Nigeria’s Judiciary and President Muhammadu Buhari mean business in ensuring that no corruption culprit goes unpunished.
In a press statement issued on Thursday by CACOL’s Chairman, Debo Adeniran the group recalled that Nyame’s trial started in 2007 but was stalled by his team of lawyers who filed many applications to frustrate the efforts of the prosecution but was finally found guilty and convicted of 27 out of the 41 charges leveled against him.
“It is gratifying to note that the anti-corruption crusade is gradually exposing those who have been hiding under the cover of religion, political power or social status.
“We are overly delighted with the deterrent punishment meted out to the Ex-Governor. The anti-corruption war has before now been trapped in an endless loop of inconclusive cases, and we hope this victory against Nyame would facilitate the speedy and diligent trials and convictions of pending corruption cases,” the statement read in part.
The group, therefore, urged the Buhari-led administration to treat anyone with a corruption petition with all seriousness.
According to CACOL, the prosecution of corruption suspects shouldn’t be slowed down or halted without diligent investigation due to political expediency.
Chairman of the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), Debo Adeniran, has said that people should not be quick to criticise President Muhammadu Buhari over perceived nepotism in appointments and projects allocations but the President must also justify his actions.
Adeniran in a statement on Monday spoke concerning criticisms that have trailed appointments, projects allocations and resource sharing in the country.
“We should not mince words; nepotism is a form of corruption and it contradicts the supposed anti-corruption image of the Buhari-led administration and the so-called change mantra of his political party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.”
He said that there are adequate reasons for Nigerians to be agitated if the government cannot justify its actions explaining that no part of the country should be discriminated against.
“We believe that the commonwealth of the country should be evenly distributed. We must not trivialize equity. No component part of the country should be discriminated against in project allocations and federal appointments.”
Adeniran said there is constant distrust in political leaders by the people in Nigeria hence the present agitations over project allocations.
“For instance, the present agitations over some projects allocated to the North-eastern part of the country should not have generated so much foray in public discourse were it not for the constant distrust that leaders have instilled in the minds of the people.”
He said for this trust to be gained, President Muhammadu Buhari must defend his actions as it is the responsibility of the President to justify his actions.
“We believe it’s not out of place to allocate more projects to the North-East because of the challenges of that area. It may not sound fair, but we want the President to defend his action. He has a responsibility to justify it convincingly to Nigerians that the allocations are not nepotistic,” Adeniran said.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has backed Professor Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC’s) criticism of the National Assembly.
The revered Professor was reported to have said: “from the information I have gathered, a Nigerian Senator earns about N29 million a month and over N3 billion a year. Basic salary N2,484,245.50; hardship allowance, 1,242, 122.70; constituency allowance N4, 968, 509.00; furniture allowance N7, 452, 736.50; newspaper allowance N1, 242, 122.70.
In addition, Sagay reportedly listed other allowances to include: “Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37; recess allowance N248, 424.55; accommodation 4,968,509.00; utilities N828,081.83; domestic staff N1,863,184.12; entertainment N828,081.83; personal assistant N621,061.37; vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12; leave allowance N248,424.55; severance gratuity N7, 425,736.50; and motor vehicle allowance N9, 936,982.00.”
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran, reacting to the ‘exposure’, said: “Between the present NASS and Prof., we will choose the latter in terms of the zeal and dedication to the cause of ridding our society of corruption. We know that the PACAC Chairman’s integrity is a million miles ahead when compared to that of the present NASS.”
This was made known in a statement by the Media Coordinator, CACOL, Wale Salami.
The Senate in response has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to call the PACAC boss to order accusing him of spreading falsehood and making hate speeches against the federal legislature.
The lawmakers alleged that Sagay was fond of using every opportunity he had to make public speeches to disparage the National Assembly by using “uncouth and unprintable words” to describe the legislators and the institution they represent.
Furthermore, they described him as a man who cannot stand for councillorship election and win. They also challenged him to state what his contributions are in the election of President Muhammadu Buhari and what new ideas he has contributed to making the fight against corruption more effective since his appointment.
Adeniran, however, described the reaction of the lawmakers as an attempt to divert attention from the fundamental issues raised by the Professor, adding that the Senate should rather have responded by ‘disproving’ the figures put forward.
The Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has described as hugely commendable, the signing of an extradition treaty with the United Arab Emirates, UAE and agreements with some other countries.”
The Centre’s Executive Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran said “the signing is auspicious and timely with the background of an expedient need to re-invigorate the anti-corruption drive; it will improve inter-border cooperation among the countries which will enhance their task of ensure the security of lives and property.”
He hailed the extradition treaty, saying it would assist the anti-corruption agencies, particularly the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC to trace looted funds stashed in Dubai and extradite the looter to Nigeria to face prosecution.
Stating that a striking example which easily highlights the significance of the signing of the treaty on extradition with UAE is the case of a former governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori, he said “we must recall that the man decided to escape to Dubai when the EFCC with active collaboration of other law enforcement agencies were closing-in on him to face prosecution for corruption crimes in Nigeria because there was no extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UAE. However, unknown to Ibori, there was such treaty between the UAE and the UK, which as of then in search of the former governor. He was thereafter extradited to the UK where he was prosecuted and convicted on corruption charges.”
Adeniran said, “The signing of the treaty is so appropriate. Remember, that the former governor of Delta State escaped to his hometown in Oghara in Delta State when law enforcement agencies were looking for him. He went through the waterways and landed in Dubai. The reason why the authorities of the UAE could not extradite him directly to Nigeria was because there was no Mutual Legal Assistance between the country and Nigeria.
“So, he chose to go to the UAE because of the absence of any Mutual Legal Assistance between the UAE and Nigeria. But he forgot or didn’t think it wise to know that there was Mutual Legal Assistance between the UAE and the United Kingdom. That was why the UK was able to request his extradition from the UAE to the UK and the rest is history.”
“If you look around, that is why most of Nigerian looters have properties in Dubai. So it is fashionable for looters to keep their loot in Dubai and tie it down there with properties. The treaty will now assist the EFCC to trace looted funds and seek assistance from the UAE for the extradition of the concerned persons when necessary. It will help the fight against corruption.”
Several politically exposed persons are believed to be hiding in Dubai while a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke allegedly owns houses in a high-brow area of the city. Even the EFCC, Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB and others will be able to work within a better legal relations which for instance can make unveiling the circumstance surrounding the alleged mansions owned by the serving Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, less cumbersome. With commensurate political will, the treaty can open ‘doors’ and will indeed strengthen anti-graft war in loot recovery and extradition of fugitives”
“As we commend President Muhammadu Buhari for the bold and progressive step as it clearly shows his determination to combat corruption, we hasten to emphasize the quintessence of strengthening institutions, as they are the ones which will ensure the achievements so far endures and built upon as the country progresses.”
“The Federal government must also ensure it perseveres in its efforts to have similar treaties or agreements and other legitimate instruments with the UK, USA and other countries where loots from our country are being hidden. Diezani Alison-Madueke’s extradition as a matter of fact should be on the priority list of fugitives which the FG through its agencies should be pursuing vigorously at present given the plethora of corruption charges she has to answer for.” Adeniran concluded
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has called on the Federal Government to immediately intervene in the ongoing strike by workers of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Workers under the aegis of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Service Employees, AUPCTRE CAC, had highlighted an imbalance in staff cost, industrial disharmony, huge salary disparity, among others, as the main issues that led to the strike.
The union also pointed out that the eventuality of an avoidable strike and non-resolutions of the contentious issues would impede the implementation of the Executive Order on the ‘Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’ which was recently signed by the Acting President, Professor Yem Osinbajo.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran, while responding to the strike said, “We had found it pertinent and expedient to call the attention of the authorities to the issues at the background of the industrial crisis and its impact on the recent Executive order on ‘Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria’ signed by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo,”
“Unfortunately, our calls were apparently ignored, just like the pleas and petitions by AUPCTRE which also called for urgent and proactive steps to nip all problems that lay ahead on the path of its Executive Order and strike at the CAC in their buds.”
“We demand that the Federal Government takes responsibility for the present crisis by immediately swinging into action for the sake of industrial harmony and respect for legitimate rights of workers organised under AUPCTRE.”
“This imbroglio must linger no further than this counterproductive stage; amicable resolutions of the knotty issues involved must be found. We are particularly calling on Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to take the keen interest in the crisis like he has been over-sighting and attending to flashpoints of discontent and maladministration in the country.
“We suggest that like he visited the N-Power recently, the Acting President should do the same with the CAC to assess the real situation on the ground,” Adeniran said.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL) has described the acquittal of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki in the 18 charges of non-declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government as a big indictment on the anti-corruption drive.
CACOL, in a statement by its media coordinator, Wale Salami, said it finds the ruling “very disturbing as it smacks off compromise on the side of the Federal Government”.
“We view the judgment as a political one achieved by the so-called anticorruption-focused APC-led Federal Government for the purpose of settling its intra-party wrangling and discontent. The ruling is a big indictment on the government’s anti-corruption drive given that Saraki’s case had been of the most prominent and most vigorously pursued one out of the several corruption cases being prosecuted by the FG.
“We had suspected all along that Saraki’s corruption cases were probably going to be sacrificed on the altar of political necessity given the unnecessary manoeuvres and intrigues that have characterised the trail right from the outset,” the agency added.
They alleged that the judgement validated the fact that “the present government is corruption-compliant holistically; a situation where the Executive, Legislature and the Judiciary arms are disappointing deeply involved with the exception of President Muhammudu Buhari whose commitment to anti-corruption war has for long been beyond reasonable doubts”.
CACOL further expressed concern that: “The Judiciary that is supposed to be the last hope of masses is the most disappointing given the speed with which it has been discharging and acquitting suspected corruption criminals, particularly its members and others.
“At this rate, it appears no publicly exposed persons will ever get convicted regardless of the incriminating charges against them, as long they hire high profile lawyers who will in turn help in navigating through the turf of judicial trails using the lacunae in the justice system to evade justice.”
They called on Nigerians to take their destinies in their hands to eliminate corruption and salvage the country.
The Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has backed the decision of the Presidency to arraign suspected corrupt Judges who were recently recalled to return to duty by the National Judicial Council, NJC describing the Council’s step as ‘immoral and retrogressive’.
The Judges had been suspended following the raid on their residences in a sting operation by the Department Of State Security, DSS, in October last year. The six suspended judges who were under investigation for alleged corruption reinstated by NJC reinstated are Justices John Okoro, Uwani Abba Aji, Hydiazira Nganjiwa, Adeniyi Ademola, Justice Musa Kurya and Agbadu Fishim.
Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, said “shamelessness is being brazenly taken to unbelievable heights right before our eyes, and if we remain silent, then the credibility and integrity of the Nigerian Judiciary will remain a body of ridicule within the comity of nations. The fact that the Judges are under investigations alone should be enough for the NJC to wait before it took the decision to reinstate the Judges. Sadly, this move portend that our Judiciary pampers corruption”
“How many litigants will feel comfortable to be judged by a Judge with grievous charges of corruption such as the ones against the suspended Judges? We doubt, if there would be any, unless those who are equally corrupt and require the services of a corrupt Judge to escape justice. Any court where such Judges sit could as well be considered to a market place where judgments could be gotten on basis of the highest bidder and the ‘hardness’ of the currencies. And we should not be taken aback if this counter-productive step by the NJC is allowed to stand when we begin to see suspected corruption criminals seeking to be tried by these ‘permanently stained’ judges.”
“The NJC’s has only reinforced the position that our Judiciary is equally drenched in corruption just like the other arms of the government. And this is a tragedy because the Judiciary is supposed to be the last bastion of hope for the mass of the people. The ‘group practice’ or ‘solidarity’ being espoused by the Bar and Bench makes the case of the Judiciary more dangerous and scary, because it is easy discernible that the NJC’s and even the NBA’s position is more like the Judiciary as a body, is trying shield one of its own from justice ostensibly because they are all involved in the game.
The position of the NBA and the NJC that a period of eight months is too long for Judges to be under investigation is utterly untenable because a crime can always be investigated and prosecuted at anytime. That culpability is not established does not stop a case from being re-opened for further investigations and possible re-prosecution if fresh facts or evidences are unveiled.”
Concluding, the anti-corruption Crusader said, “Judiciary is the last hope of the common people; in a situation where the Judiciary can longer serve the purpose of its creation, it becomes useless, and self-help is becomes the only hope which is a recipe for anarchy. We therefore back the Presidency on the move to arraign the suspended Judges while calling on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC to expedite actions on its investigations so that the suspected corrupt men of Bench are prosecuted and brought to book if found culpable.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the anti-corruption war of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, saying it has achieved unprecedented successes.
A statement by CACOL’s Media Coordinator, Mr Wale Salami, quoted the Executive Chairman, Mr Debo Adeniran, as saying that the successes of the anti-corruption war were notable despite the economic crisis in the country.
He also said the government had made progress in the area of security.
“Without doubts, a profound and objective assessment of the last two years vis-à-vis government performance indicates that Nigeria as a country may not be where it should be, it is definitely not where it was prior to the electoral-quake which kicked the previous regime of corruption out of power in the 2015 general elections,” Mr Adeniran said
“But for the 16 years of systematic despoliation of the country by the previous regimes of the erstwhile behemoth called the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, and accompanying task of re-fixing an entity that been so voraciously and violently raped and abused, perhaps, the change the Nigerians vehemently yearned would have recorded greater success in terms of achievement.”
Mr Adeniran, who described the anti-corruption war as the most shining achievement of the past two years, said the war “is keeping the hope of a lot of Nigerians alive as they believe their country is treading on the right path in terms of ridding the society of the Frankenstein monster called corruption, a bane that has been the major albatross to social-economic development.”
According to him, the anti-corruption battle since the ascension of Buhari to office has not left out any sector, arm of government, ethnic or religious group.
“The implementation of the Treasury Single Accounts, TSA policy has been able to block and plug hitherto existing holes of corruption in the system and thereby greatly nipping corrupt intentions and tendencies in their buds’ for the dual purpose of accountability and transparency in the public sector. The anti-corruption agencies have become more enlivened and re-energised since,” he added.
Leaders of various human rights bodies in Nigeria have called on the President to take a medical leave to enable him attend to his health, immediately.
These rights activists include Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana; the Executive Director, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni; Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Professor Jibrin Ibrahim; Executive Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran; and Country Director, Search for Common Ground, Chom Bagu.
They made the call in a joint statement issued on Monday, amid growing concerns about the President’s health.
“As we join the Nigerian people of goodwill to pray for a speedy recovery of President Buhari, we are compelled to advise him to heed the advice of his personal physicians by taking a rest to attend to his health without any further delay,” they wrote.
Those who signed the statement include the Executive Director, SERAP, Adetokunbo Mumuni; Director, Centre for Democracy and Development, Professor Jibrin Ibrahim; and Country Director, Search for Common Ground, Chom Bagu, as well as Executive Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran;
They explained that their call was based on the observation that since the President returned from his medical vacation in the UK and despite repeated claims by government officials that there was no cause for alarm over his health, the President doesn’t seem to have fully recovered.
Recalling that President Buhari, upon his return, had said he had never been so sick in his life and that he might go back for further treatment, they suggested that comments by the likes of Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai could not be ignored.
The statement read in part, “A few weeks ago, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Nasir El-Rufai urged Nigerians to give President Buhari time to recover from his sickness.
“The plea was made after the Governor had visited and presumably assessed the state of the President at the presidential villa in Abuja.
“However, due to the apparent deterioration in the President’s health condition, he has neither been seen in public in the last one week nor attended the last two meetings of the Federal Executive Council.
“His absence at the last Jumat service in the villa has fuelled further speculations and rumours on President Buhari’s medical condition.”
They added, “But instead of embarking on regular briefing on the actual state of the health of President Buhari, officials of the federal government have continued to assure the Nigerian people that the is no need for apprehension over the matter.”
The call was made on Wednesday by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Mr Debo Adeniran, who was speaking against the background of the seizure of the rifles.
The arms were said to have been imported into Nigeria from China illegally.
Forty-nine boxes of munitions concealed with steel doors and other merchandise goods in a 40ft container were reportedly apprehended on January 22, 2017, alongside some of the importers and Customs officers.
Mr Adeniran said “the incident explains widespread of illegal arms and ammunition in the country,so the incident itself cannot be too surprising for most discerning Nigerians who understood prior to now know that the country has been sitting on ‘a keg of gun-powder’ for long.
State Of Catastrophic Equilibrium
“We see almost on daily basis (that) the reckless display of even more powerful and sophisticated weapons by militants, insurgents, kidnappers, armed robbers etc. Their activities have continued to put the country in a state of catastrophic equilibrium.
“This particular incident happening at this particular time when violence is being preached and promoted in the country makes the whole scenario scary and dangerous. What we just need to ask ourselves is what those ammunition were being brought in the country for, as well as what the danger and wariness of the situation will give to us back in the face.
“However, the fundamental issue is what we as a people have to do to halt this kind of negative progression in our country for very obvious reasons. With the security and well-being of the people having been relegated in the prioritisations of government for a long time, and corruption still pervading the institutions and agencies with the social condition that has thrown up this scenario remaining intact; a society like ours inadvertently would grapple with dangers of this sort.
Discourage Arms Trafficking
“Consequently, the country wholesomely is kept under a perpetual siege by bloodletting groups including amorphous groups, individuals, politicians and state actors basically to sustain a system that tenaciously intends to keep its grip of the socio-political and economic direction of the country for their selfish interests.
“This is why we must not look at the recent incident in isolation in reacting and taking decisive action. Thus, if the government is going to draw profound lessons and make use of them in reacting to the 661 rifles importation, it must recognise that incidences like this happen where the State has failed in guaranteeing the protection of lives and property.
“The borders of country with security consciousness are very well monitored to control and nip in the bud incidences like this. The porousity of any country’s border determines what can get in or out of such country.
Corruption And Lack Of Openness
“It is time that the corrupt elements in the state agencies, establishments, services etc.; are weeded out because they abet and even help contrive the illegalities that take place at our borders to a very large extent.
“The present case must be handled in a manner that will on the long run discourage arms trafficking in the country. This requires ensuring that proper investigations are carried out and diligent prosecutions are done to achieve punitive measures which will serve as deterrent to others.
“This can only happen if corruption and lack of openness does not get involved in the processes. This will demonstrate the self-avowed readiness of government to combat corruption and provision of good governance which will be in the interest of the vast majority where (the) society will be rid of the subsisting social conditions and relations.
Borders Must Be Equipped
“Nigerians from all walks of life must get involved in pressuring the government to ensure that the present case is not swept ‘under the carpets’ with its processes shrouded in secrecy. All the suspects, their sponsors and officials of NCS involved must be fished out for prosecution. The culpable ones must be ‘scape-goated’ to serve as examples to other potential criminal elements.
“Also, the NCS and the other enforcement agencies must be adequately equipped to confront the challenges of checkmating the heartless criminals that specialise in so-called businesses that lead to loss of lives and property.
“The borders must be equipped with necessary gadgets that will enhance easy revelation of the cunning ways of merchants of death bringing their merchandises of death into the country.
“The holes of corruption in the public services must be plugged to avoid future incidences of this nature. This is how we can avoid or abate the negative progression represented in illegal arms trafficking, corruption and mis-governance to guarantee the security of lives and property on the long run in our country,” said Adeniran concluded.
A former lawmaker has joined other observers, including rights activists in reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to re-nominate Mr Ibrahim Magu as EFCC Chairman and retain Mr Babachir Lawal as Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Mr Babatunde Ogala, a former lawmaker in the Lagos state House Of Assembly, faults the interim report sent to the Presidency by the Senate as not sufficient enough to throw out the candidacy of both men.
He said that while he would not exonerate or condemn the SGF, the votes and proceeding and interim reports, did not suggest that he was given a fair hearing.
“The President has not said you were right or wrong. He has only pointed out their procedural errors.
“A legislature takes resolutions to the executive – You do not send interim reports”, he stressed, adding that the Senate had sent an incomplete report.
Questioning the actions of the Senate, he said: “Supposing the man had been sacked in your interim reports and your final reports now prove that he’s not even liable, what would have happened?”
Selective Application Of Constitution
Sharing a different view, rights activist, Richard Nwankwo, believes both the SGF and the EFCC boss, ought to have stepped down from office to allow for proper investigations into allegations leveled against them.
Nwakwo stressed that in the fight against corruption, there should be an elaborate, comprehensive and an intellectually driven campaign; which he believes is not what is playing out in reality.
“Like I have repeatedly maintained, the selective application of the provisions of this constitution is the highest form of corruption.”
He then added that “even if there is no merit from the allegation from the Senate, I expect that the gladiators involved to have stepped aside for a thorough investigation to be done.”
They both gave their opinions while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily.