Babajide Explains Why Corruption Has Become Endemic In Nigeria

babajide-ogunsanwoAnalysing the level of corruption in Nigeria, Mr Babajide Ogunsanwo on Friday said that a number of factors have contributed to the extension of the anti-corruption war to the judiciary in Nigeria, identifying their remuneration as one of them.

He told Channels Television that the salary of the Chief Justice of Nigeria was poor when compared to that of the United States.

“The Chief Justice of the United States, Justice John Robert, has an annual salary of $255,000. With the salary, he can buy a decent home in Washington, perhaps somewhere in north-east street.

“Even if he wants to save his annual salary to buy this home of about 1.2 million dollars, he needs to save his salary for just five years.

“It is going to be easy because he will likely get a mortgage.

“In Nigeria the annual basic salary of the Chief Justice of Nigeria is just 3.3 million Naira, plus all allowances, 6.7 million Naira.

“If the Chief Justice of Nigeria chose to go to some decent place in Ikoyi, Lagos, and wanted to buy this similar home, it will cost him 350 million Naira.

“Even if the Chief Justice in the U.S. needs to save for five years to buy a house, the Chief Justice of Nigeria will need to save for 50 years,” he explained.

He says his analysis identifies one of the sources of why there is corruption.

Highlighting that the judges are not supposed to be corrupt, he insisted that “the air they breathe is infected with the bacteria called corruption”.

Mr Ogunsanwo said that Nigeria’s anti-corruption score had been rising slowly at a little about 2.4%, a trend he pointed out was very insignificant.

“If it continues like this, before we get to 5/10 it will be the year 2030,” he stated.

The analyst further identified the inconsistency in the position of the Chief Justice in Nigeria as another factor that had affected the system.

“The continuous change has brought with it, inconsistencies, since the justices have different temperaments.

“Some are more conservative and some are more liberal,” he added.

Corruption Is Not Necessarily A Crime Against Humanity – Giwa Victor

corruption, crime, DSS
Giwa Victor

A National Coordinator, and Advocate for People’s Justice, Giwa Victor, says corruption in general, is not necessarily a crime against humanity.

This is in response to the conference held by the Presidential Council against corruption at the National assembly on October 18, where the Vice President lamented the state of corruption in Nigeria, describing it generally as “a crime against humanity”.

With the issue of corruption still taking centre stage, and the recent raid on judges, arguments are still ongoing as to the legality or otherwise of the actions of the DSS and ways to tackle the corruption menace.

Mr Giwa while explaining further said corruption for corruption to be described as a crime against humanity, there has to be specifically identified crime.

“In some quarters, because of the effect on the entire system of certain nations, some people tend to elevate corruption as a crime against humanity.

However, when considering poor roads, poor health care systems as well as standards of living, he says those issues have direct effects on the people and in such cases, corruption can be seen as a crime against humanity.

A Former Director of the Kenyan Anti-corruption Commission, Professor P.L.O Lumumba, said many African countries would have realized much economic growth but such growth has been stunted as a result of corruption.

He said this while giving his key note address also at the conference and recommended sanctions to deter corrupt persons.

Looking at the raid on Judges, Mr Giwa said contrary to the idea that the DSS came to protect them, their actions came to him as a shock.

Not only was the arrest a shock to him, but “the manner in which it was done, shows that they contemplated a strong resistance,” he added.

Giving insight on the duties of the DSS he opposed popular opinion that the DSS has superior power to make arrests.

Taking a look at the National Security Agency Act, he says according to section 2, the DSS ought to be performing duties as an intelligence gathering agency rather than violently taking action.

Mahmud Mohammed Cautions Judges Against Delay In Judgement

Mahmud Mohammed, JudgesThe Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has called on judges in Nigeria to reduce the delays in dispensing justice.

However, the Chief Justice asked them never to sacrifice justice for speed.

For the second time within two days, Justice Mohammed took a swipe at judges who give conflicting judgements.

He observed that such action threatens the integrity and the independence of the judiciary in Nigeria.

The Judge stated that delays in dispensing justice in high profile cases and that of conflicting judgements were the major challenges that the judges must resolve in the new legal year.

He made the remarks on Tuesday at the second day of the Annual Judges Conference in Abuja, to mark the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year.

Firmer And Unbiased Decisions

Justice Mohammed had earlier announced that the National Judicial Council (NJC) would probe judges involved in the recent conflicting judgments emanating from courts of equal jurisdiction.

He observed that the action of judges involved in conflicting judgments was embarrassing and warned against the politicising of the appointment of a Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Speaking at the same gathering, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Auta, asked the judges to be firmer and unbiased in their decisions.

Justice Auta, who highlighted the backdrop of the challenges and successes of the high courts during the last legal year, asked them to ensure that the decisions they take do not create room for anarchy.

NJC To Probe Judges Involved In Conflicting Judgments

Mahmud-NJC-Judges-CourtThe National Judicial Council (NJC) says it will probe judges involved in the recent conflicting judgments emanating from courts of equal jurisdiction.

The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, observed that the action of judges involved in conflicting judgments was embarrassing to the judiciary.

He announced the NJC’s decision on Monday at a special session to mark the commencement of the 2016/2017 legal year and the swearing in of 22 new Senior Advocates of Nigeria at the Supreme Court in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Justice Mohammed also warned against the politicising of the appointment of a Chief Justice of Nigeria.

He tasked the newly inducted senior advocates to be above board in the discharge of their professional duties.

The Chief Justice added that the council would not hesitate to sanction erring lawyers.

On his part, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Abubakar Mahmoud, advised the new Senior Advocates to be patriotic.

The Director General of the Nigerian Law School, Mister Olanrewaju Onadeko and the Secretary of the 2014 National Conference, Mrs Valerie Azinge, were among the new senior advocates.

They pledged the commitment of the new silks to uphold the ethics of the profession.

The conferment of the 22 Senior Advocates of Nigeria has increased the number of silks in the Nigerian Bar to 451.

Criminal Justice Reforms

Meanwhile, the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Justice Ibrahim Auta, has asked judges to be firmer and unbiased in their decisions.

Justice Auta, who highlighted the backdrop of the challenges and successes of the high courts during the last legal year, asked them to ensure that the decisions they take do not create room for anarchy.

Elsewhere, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo emphasised the need for far-reaching reforms in Nigeria’s criminal justice system and the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force for effective service delivery.

Professor Osinbajo made the call in Abeokuta, Ogun State’s capital at the 20th celebration of the death of the late Mrs Bisoye Tejuoso.

He expressed the commitment of the Federal Government to sustaining the anti-corruption crusade.

The Vice President asked Nigerians to rise up against corrupt individuals and groups who were bent on fighting back despite the genuine interest of government.

Osinbajo Says Nigeria’s Criminal Justice System Needs Reformation

Yemi Osinbajo Nigeria's Vice President on justice system Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, has emphasised the need for far-reaching reforms in the nation’s criminal justice system and the decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force for effective service delivery.

The Vice President made the call in Abeokuta, Ogun State’s capital at the 20th celebration of the death of the late Mrs Bisoye Tejuoso.

Professor Osinbajo while expressing the commitment of the Federal Government to sustaining the anti-corruption crusade, however, asked Nigerians to rise up against corrupt individuals and groups who were bent on fighting back despite the genuine interest of government.

Mismanagement Of The Economy

Representing President Muhammadu Buhari, at the occasion the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal, however, attributed the current economic challenges in Nigeria to mismanagement of the economy by past administrations.

President Muhammadu Buhari had few days ago blamed the previous administration for the current economic recession.

He told reporters in his home town, Duara, in Katsina that the administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) left no savings when the price of crude oil was high.

President Buhari has promised Nigerians again that his administration would correct the maladministration of past government.

He decried what he inherited from the PDP administrations, pledging to correct them with the support of Nigerians.

“I want Nigerians to realise what this government inherited after 16 years of PDP [Peoples Democratic party] and eight consecutive government.

“There was no savings, no infrastructure was done, no power, no rail, no road and security. This is what the other party left for Nigerians.

“Now they have seen what we have done from Boko Haram to what we are trying to do now with the militants.

“We have identified these problems, three of them – security, economy and fighting corruption.

“You have to secure our country to efficiently manage it. You have to create jobs for our youths and then we are fighting corruption which is continuous,” President Buhari said.

Labour Union Seeks Autonomy Of Judiciary, Local Government

NLC, Ayuba Wabba, Judiciary, JUSUN
NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has proposed the independence of the judiciary and local government to build a stable and vibrant democracy.

It believes Nigeria cannot fight the monster of corruption if the autonomy of the judicial and local government was not achieved.

The President of the union Mr Ayuba Wabba, told a gathering in Katsina State that the judicial arm of the government and local government should be granted full autonomy to function, if Nigeria must grow democratically as a nation.

The NLC President made the observation during the opening ceremony of the 3rd National Delegate Conference of the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) in Katsina State.

Mr Wabba told the gathering in northwest Nigeria on Friday that he believes that the autonomy will speed up the discharge of timely and appropriate judgement, as well as prosecution.

He also criticised the issue of courts giving conflicting judgement, saying it would put the judiciary in a bad light.

Fight Against Corruption

The labour leader stressed that the NLC would continue to fight against obnoxious policies from some state governments.

He called on the Federal Government not to concentrate the fight against corruption on the centre only, but asked that it should be extended to state and local governments to push grassroots development.

Members of the Judiciary Staff Union at the gathering also expressed their support for the call for the full autonomy of the judicial arm of the government.

They expressed hope that the independence of the judiciary would enable adequate discharge of their responsibilities.

Anti-corruption Fight Will Last Beyond My Administration, Buhari Tells Kerry

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-John-KerryNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday told U.S. Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry, that he would institutionalise the anti-corruption crusade to ensure it lasts beyond the current administration.

At a meeting with Mr Kerry in Abuja, the President said his administration “will insist on the standards it is establishing”.

“We are laying down administrative and financial instructions in the public service that must be obeyed.

“Any breach will no longer be acceptable.

“We will retrain our staff, so that they understand the new orientation.

“And those who run afoul of these rules will be prosecuted, no matter who is involved,” he stressed.

He, however, stated that the government would be fair, just and act according to the rule of law, assuring the American envoy that “anyone perceived corrupt is innocent till we can prove it”.

President Buhari said that his administration would work very hard to establish documentation for successful prosecution and that those in positions of trust would sit up.

He appreciated the intervention of the U.S. before the 2015 polls, demanding free and fair elections in Nigeria, stressing that “America did not do it because of what it stands to benefit from us. You did it for the Nigerian people.

“It tells so much what the U.S. stands for in the world”.

Muhammadu-Buhari-and-John-Kerry-2
Mr John Kerry and Linda Thomas-Greenfield in a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari

On the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast, President Buhari thanked the U.S. for both hard and soft military help.

“The training and intelligence that we could not muster ourselves, we received.

“The training has made Boko Haram less of a threat to Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin region, while the military hardware has given our troops added confidence,” he told Mr Kerry.

Militancy In Niger Delta

President Buhari said although Militancy in the Niger Delta had impacted negatively on the nation’s economy and affected the positive intentions of international and local investors, the government was showing restraint not to use real force, “except when constrained to do so”.

On the economy, the President assured the American envoy that the focus of his administration was on the diversification of the economy “having learnt our lessons from years of over dependence on oil”.

Ready-made Playing Field

Mr Kerry commended the courage of President Buhari in fighting corruption.

He said: “We applaud what you are doing. Corruption creates a ready-made playing field for recruiting extremists.

“You inherited a big problem, and we will support you in any way we can. We will work with you very closely.

“We don’t want to interfere, but will offer opportunities as you require”.

The American Secretary of State also pledged to assist in tackling the humanitarian challenges in the North-east, assuring the Nigerian President that his country would get the UK, France, and others “to augment the support”.

“Nigeria is priority for us. We won’t miss the opportunity to work together, because you are making significant progress,” Mr Kerry said.

After the meeting with the President, the American envoy is met with some governors from the northern part of Nigeria.

They are governors of Borno, Benue, Kwara, Bauchi, Adamawa, Sokoto and Zamfara.

Earlier at a meeting with the Sultan of Sokoto, Mr Kerry stressed the need for the fight against corruption to be a global security of the first order to bring violent extremism to an end.

Delivering a speech on Resilient Communities and Religious Tolerance in Countering Violent Extremism, Mr Kerry said extremists do not only kill people but also turn the most vulnerable among the society into killers.

Akwa Ibom Govt. Accounts Investigation: Court Vacates Restraining Injunction Against EFCC

EFCC on Akwa Ibom government account investigationThe Akwa- Ibom State High Court, sitting in Ikot Ekpene, on Friday vacated an order of interim injunction restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from investigating the accounts of Akwa Ibom State Government.

Justice Ntong F.N. Ntong gave the ruling at the resumption of hearing on a motion filed by the anti-graft agency to counter an earlier injunction of the court.

Channels Television’s judiciary correspondent Shola Soyele, said that the court had on 13 July ruled in favour of an ex-parte motion filed before it by the Akwa Ibom State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko.

Mr Nwoko had sought an order of interim injunction restraining the Federal Government or any of its agencies, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) from arresting, detaining or investigating any official of the state government.

The motion also sought the restraining of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Inspector General of Police from arresting, detaining or investigating any official of the state government, past or present, without any report of indictment by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

However, the EFCC, through a motion on notice, filed on August 2, approached the court to quash the injunction.

At the resumption of the matter on Friday, counsel to the EFCC, Dr. Ben Ubi, told the court of an application dated 29 July and filed on the August 2, asking the court to vacate the restraining order.

In response, the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Nwoko argued that his seven days to respond to the EFCC’s application had not elapsed.

He said that he had filed a motion on notice for the enlargement of the lifespan of the interim injunction.

The judge, having listened to arguments on both sides, vacated the interim order of injunction and then adjourned the matter to October 19, 2016 for hearing of the preliminary objection of the EFCC alongside other applications.

The legal fireworks initiated by the Akwa Ibom State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, against the EFCC and other agencies were sparked by a petition received by the EFCC against some governors and officials of the past regime in Akwa Ibom State.

The vacation of the restraining order on the EFCC has now paved ways for the Commission to continue its works in that regard.

It has also voided an earlier order restraining the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Clerk of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly; Auditor General of Akwa Ibom State and the Accountant General of Akwa Ibom State from surrendering themselves or any document or financial records to the EFCC, ICPC or any other person.

Olisa Metuh Ready To Return 400 Million Naira

Metuh, Olisa MetuhThe embattled former National Publicity Secretary of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Olisa Metuh, has restated his readiness to refund the entire N400 million paid to him by ex-President Goodluck Jonathan for publicity prior to the 2015 Presidential election.

Metuh, whose position was made known in a statement by his counsel, Onyechi Ikpeazu said he was willing to refund the entire N400 million regardless of the fact that the money had already been expended on the directive of the former President and that the EFCC had already recovered part of the fund from a prosecution witness.

The counsel confirmed that the defence team had been in talks with the Ministry of Justice, the EFCC and other necessary bodies on how to refund the money and resolve the issue.

Ikpeazu said that it has become obvious from the evidence of prosecution and defence witnesses that at the time the money was released to Metuh after his presentation to the ex-President, he had no knowledge of the source.

He, however, had every cause to believe that the money was from the ex-President to whom he made presentation, received directives and rendered report and accounts accordingly.

Ikpeazu said refunding the entire sum is in line with Metuh’s support for the ongoing war against corruption in the country and that his client is more of a victim of circumstance.

He pledged his client’s support for the anti-corruption war of the federal government.

Senate PDP Caucus To Cease Cooperation With APC-Led Government

Emmanuel-Bwacha-SenatorMembers of the Peoples Democratic Party at the Senate have threatened to stop all forms of cooperation with the All Progressives Congress-led government if the executive does not stop harassing its members across Nigeria.

Members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus on Wednesday condemned in totality the plot to remove the leadership of the Senate.

Addressing reporters in Abuja, the head of the PDP caucus, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha, alleged that the present administration’s anti-corruption war was lopsided.

“We the caucus members having deliberated on stated issues examined our position on unwarranted threat to the legislative arm of government, particularly to the Senate leadership by the executive arm as well as the ongoing intimidation and persecution of the opposition party by the ruling APC.

“We condemn in totally the orchestrated plot to remove the president of the senate and his deputy through an illegal means,” he said.

“Invitation To Anarchy”

The PDP members also accused the executive arm of government of deploying a third instrument of coercion to intimidate an independent arm of government like the legislature.

They said the intimidation was a major threat to the survival of Nigeria’s democracy.

Mr Bwacha further told reporters that the glaring witch-hunt of perceived opposition element in the polity was an “invitation to anarchy”.

He cautioned that the war against corruption should not be selective.

“It must be fought with sincerity and not the politics that is now being played with the war against corruption.

“We condemned in clear terms the sentiment displayed in fighting corruption,” he reiterated.

The group also cited the freezing of the account of the Ekiti State Governor by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

I Will Rehabilitate Nigeria, Buhari Tells Aso Rock Staff

Muhammadu-Buhari-address-aso-rock-staff Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has told staff of the Presidential Villa that he is committed to rehabilitating Nigeria.

He also reiterated that his administration would recover all looted funds and stop fraud in the civil service.

President Buhari spoke at special session he had with the staff at the fore court of the Villa on Wednesday, his third day in office after a 10-day vacation and medical treatment in London.

The President decried the impunity at which past leaders looted Nigeria’s funds.

Change Must Come

He also wondered why the country could not save enough during the oil boom, why states could not pay salaries and how anyone thinks it would be easy to sustain an economy that saw oil price drop from over 100 dollars to just 30 dollars.

Muhammadu-Buharia-addressing-Villa-staff
President Muhammadu Buhari addressing Aso Rock Staff

In spite of the challenges, however, the President told the staff that the change he promised Nigerians during the campaigns must come, but stressed that it was “a period to diversify and begin to feed ourselves using agriculture”.

President Buhari further pledged to rehabilitate the country for the sake of posterity and to sustain the fight against corruption.

He told the staff that they were supposed to be in the know of what was happening and how a few people had milked the country dry, promising to recover all stolen funds.

The President also asked the staff to always uphold integrity assuring them of absolute dedication to the service of Nigeria where those who behave themselves would have no problem.

It was a gathering designed to welcome the President back and let the civil servants in the Presidential Villa have a feel of some government actions in the era of change.

He said the exercise would continue under his leadership and asked the staff to uphold the tenets of integrity.

Corruption: Expect Conclusion Of Some Trials In Six Months – Prof Sagay

Itse-Sagay-Professor on corruption Within the next six months, federal authorities will begin to conclude cases filed against alleged corrupt individuals who are currently being prosecuted, a Nigerian government official said on Sunday.

In an interview on the current’s administration’s one year in office, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on War Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay denied allegations that the government was being selective in the anti-graft war assuring Nigerians that justice would prevail in all ongoing cases.

According to him, the persons that had access to funds were part of the previous administration and are being tried for looting the funds.

He said: “Vigorous dynamic prosecution that the EFCC has come across. The cases are progressing aggressively.

“It is a fresh start and a normal criminal case of sought use to take between 10 to 12 years and still be in suspense.

“If you follow what is going on now, the case are moving on. In some cases the government has concluded its prosecution and the defence has been opened.

“Within the next six months, there will be a series of concluded cases.

He assured Nigerians that there would be an end to what what he called “suspended cases”.