More than 200 killings of journalists are unsolved in 13 countries cited by a media watchdog group for enabling “impunity” for the crimes.
Nigeria has made the list of countries of the affected countries.
According to a media watchdog group, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the 13 countries are cited for enabling “impunity” for the crimes and they were home to the majority of journalist killings over the past 10 years.
The countries “represent a mix of conflict-ridden regions and more stable countries where criminal groups, politicians, government officials, and other powerful actors resort to violence to silence critical and investigative reporting.”
Somalia was the worst country for the fifth year in a row in a ranking based on deaths as a percentage of each country’s population — 25 unsolved killings in a country of 15 million people.
Syria was second and Iraq third on the list; the country with the largest number of unsolved killings was the Philippines with 41, followed by Mexico with 30, the New York-based group said.
The 13 countries accounted for 222 of the 318 deaths in the last 10 years, CPJ said, with many of the cases linked to war and civil unrest.
“In the past decade, armed militant groups such as Al-Shabaab, Boko Haram and the Islamic State group have most often targeted journalists with complete impunity,” the CPJ report said.
“However, criminal groups have become a major threat, killing large numbers of journalists and routinely escaping justice. Mexico, to date this year’s deadliest country for journalists, has seen its impunity rating worsen nearly every year since 2008, as criminal cartels waged a campaign of terror against the media.”
Other countries making up the 13 worst were South Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Brazil, Bangladesh, Russia, Nigeria, and India.
Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka on Tuesday raised concern about how impunity has allegedly taken over the country.
In a statement entitled ‘Trivialise Corruption, Neutralise Justice!”, he took a swipe at some members of the legal community and blamed politicians for the rate of impunity.
“The reign of impunity will prevail as long as the legal community continues to betray its calling, its oath of office, even its rites of professional collegiality and its responsibility to the rest of us,” Professor Soyinka said.
He added, “It is disappointing that even under a government that promised to dust up the files of political murders and end that reign of homicidal impunity, the Association has not thought fit to demand from the Buhari government its findings.”
According to the Nobel Laureate, impunity covers all crimes including material corruption and any social or governance institution which fails to stem the tide of criminality flings open the channels of impunity.
He accused President Muhammadu Buhari of applying what he described as “hands-off approach” to the menace of killings by herdsmen in parts of the country.
Professor Soyinka further criticised some members of the judiciary for their roles in recent events in the country, particularly the trial of Justice Walter Onnoghen.
He also cautioned Nigerians to be on red alert as such happenings have become synonymous with election periods in the country.
The Nobel Laureate, however, lauded a group of lawyers he referred to as the reformist council who have taken it upon themselves to clear the alleged rot in the judiciary.
Read the full statement below,
TRIVIALISE CORRUPTION, NEUTRALISE JUSTICE!
It is heartening news that some 20 CONCERNED LAWYERS have come together to undertake the mission of cleaning up the Aegean stables that seem to pass today for the Nigerian Judiciary. Some of us do need an institution to which we can look up, of which we should even live in awe. Some find that in religious institutions, others in traditional fixtures, some even in family and so on. All agree that the Order of Justice is a pre-eminent candidate for collective regard and even self-regulation. No matter, we all know that, without Justice, society unravels at the seams, and its citizens resort to self-help.
I feel especially exercised by recent happenings within that Body currently from a dominant perspective: it has become increasingly fashionable to sneer at any anti-corruption preoccupation. No, no one actually ever goes so far as to condone corruption. Perish the thought! Gradually, however, the nation’s psyche is being both subtly and brazenly returned to accept not simply corruption as the norm of social relationships, but its heightened product, impunity, as a national emblem. The justification? The machinery that was launched against corruption with such fanfare, it is claimed, has run aground. Selectivity has been cited as proof. Insincerity, non-seriousness, cynical distraction, are routine assessments of the current governmental campaign.
Even the heady draught of ‘stomach infrastructure’ – ‘na anti-corruption we go chop?’ is now applauded, accompanied by guffaws wherever decanted. Not surprising then, that it was only a matter of time before the flagbearer of one of the ‘parties to beat’ came out openly to dismiss the punitive option, delivering the promise of Amnesty as one of the corner-stones of his plans for the nation. It was a well-calculated gambit. That candidate, an astute politician with his nose to the ground, found that ground primed, ready and conducive. Soon, this will be topped by some rivalling knight in shining armour from rivalling parties who promise prosecution and prison sentence for anyone who bad-mouths corruption – of course, always with a caveat – until all the ills that infest society have been completely eradicated – guinea-worm, river blindness, soil erosion, oil pollution, rape, kidnapping incest etc. etc. not forgetting the transformation of the entire national infrastructure and the full elimination of the last vestiges of Boko Haram, killer herdsmen, Lassa bearing rodents and potholes on the road.
Must one reiterate the obvious? It seems we must. A basic awareness of the link between corruption and all the above-named preoccupations is fast disappearing. Such as hospitals that were never built, or never provisioned. Unthinkable is the proposition that a military commander who diverts funds meant for the elimination of Boko Haram to his family is even more despicable than Boko Haram which does the actual killing of innocents. And what of high-profile murders that had their roots in the open adoption of corruption as a lifestyle, and the increasing sophistication of cover-up operations?
No connection between the rising tide of unemployment and the corrupt wastage of resources meant for industrialisation and job generation? For the stubborn skeptics, and/ or those who understandably mistrust the testimony of former government associates, such as Okonjo-Iweala’s FIGHTING CORRUPTION IS DANGEROUS, perhaps they will at least credit the personal testimony of a battle-scarred Nigerian businessman as expressed in a passage from his recent autobiography. That work, artlessly and refreshingly frank, written by a businessman, Newton Jibunoh makes the following revelation in the chapter titled, CORRUPTION, aka GIFTING IN CONTRACTS:
“I would go to Mr Farrington (Jibunoh’s boss) on so many occasions and say, this is the situation, this is the truth (i.e., it’s ‘gift’ or lose). Farrington would refer it to London and London would say, no way. I tell you, if you go into how Dumez left Nigeria, how Boutgyes left Nigeria, how Guffanti left Nigeria, how Taylor Woodrow Nigeria, it came from this issue. They all packed up. Taylor Woodrow used to be beside us at Costain. They packed up.”
So, ‘na anti-corruption we go chop?’ is not entirely rhetorical Some do chop and distend on corruption. Others, however, starve from job losses and die of it!
Yes, it is election time, and issues that are normally generalised take on enhanced desperation. A recent image sticks to the mind, and for it, we must be thankful to that very desperation that is born of elections. Those who are familiar with the culture of organised crime – as perfected, structurally and sociologically by the Italian Mafia, will have caught that image. Perhaps it struck me forcefully because earlier, the nation has been treated to alarms of a Sanni Abacha coming back to rule the nation. It is the image of a Mafia lieutenant paying due homage to the Capo di Capi Tutti. At Freedom Park, only this last day of January, I bade the nation beware of the convocation of the Conclave of the Corrupt.
The warning was prompted by that most evocative image. Many have only seen such scenarios in cinema – the Don Corleone narratives. I have however seen it in gruesome activation. I witnessed it first-hand in the ‘before and after’ of the civilian revolution that was – coincidentally – led by two lawyers. They fought, and restored the rule of law in Sicily under seemingly impossible conditions. One of them lost his life in the process, the other lived to tell the tale of the rescue and transformation of a society whose mayor he also became. Sicily, that erstwhile island of fear has now become a beacon of liberal culture and social enlightenment.
By contrast, here, to put it charitably, our lawyers appear to be confused about what their role should be when confronted by the spectre of impropriety within their own Guild – note, I do not even say ‘corruption’. Impropriety will do for now. Is it really that hard to pursue the letter of the law and provisions of the constitution, simultaneously with the pursuit of an ethical imperative and thus, guide this nation in the morality of balanced perspectives? Is it really impossible to interweave both? The latter – the ethical imperative has gone missing in the overall collective voice of the NBA over the affair of the Chief Justice of Nigeria. The scantiest lip-service has been done to that social plinth, and I find this most distressful.
Impunity covers all crimes, not just material corruption. And any social or governance institution which, through act or negligence, fails to stem the tide of criminality within its charge, flings open the sluices of impunity. This has been the case of President Buhari in his lacklustre, indeed hands-off approach to the menace of the killer herdsmen – at least at the beginning, before swathes of Nigeria were reduced to slaughter fields, thriving farms erased off the food supply chain of the nation. (They are back, by the way, reported to have recently set fire to farms in Oyo State!) Leadership lapse was further compounded by admission by the governor of Kaduna State that he had been paying ‘blood money’ to the killers responsible for that human and sustenance campaign of depletion!
Impunity stalks the land, indeed it is virtually lording it all social interstices. Let no one take my word for it – simply turn the pages of the media any day. Impunity’s ravages churn the mind. Somehow, this nation – and here again we turn to our learned friends – this nation generally failed to recognise, much less learn from the murder and enabling implications of the unsolved murder of Bola Ige, the nation’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. The Bar Association accepted the casual disposition of its erstwhile captain and has – understandably perhaps? – moved on. For some of us, however, the files are not closed. Others also appear to be determined to keep them open, though of course, remain blissfully unaware that their boastful, impenitent conduct in other departments constantly re-ignite the time clouded embers. I believe that the present crisis in judicial ranks offers yet another opportunity to bring up that tragedy starkly and rub the nation’s face in its horror. Only thus do we make all understand why it remains intolerable that any attempt be made at trivialising the nature of corruption. especially in order to score dismissive political points. The work of the Reformist Twenty – now firmly established in our minds as a pledge – is clearly cut out for them, and must not be shirked.
For those whose memories have faded on that crime: Bola Ige was murdered in his bedroom by professional assassins, his police minders having abandoned him to his own devices. Before his final posting as Minister of Justice, he was Minister of Power – and what a frustrating tenure that was for him, frustrating and humiliating. As I have remarked elsewhere numerous times, his was a ministry in which I took keen personal interest. He kept me posted on the ups and downs – the betrayals, conspiracies and actual bouts of sabotage. When he left Abuja to set up camp in Lagos in order to slice through to the centre of sabotage, we remained in constant touch, either in person, or through his Special Assistant, Dr Olu Agunloye. Bola Ige had been named to a prestigious legal position in the United Nations and was then on his way to take up the posting. His past in the Ministry of Power pursued him, however. It had pursued him into the ‘face-saving’ ministry of Justice. That transfer however only placed been in an even more powerful position to bring to justice those who had held this nation to ransom for years and retarded her development through systemic corruption of gargantuan dimensions in his former ministry. He had to be eliminated.
That was tragic enough. However, what happened next is what remains to haunt this nation, at least those portions of it that still attempt to cling to even the barest shreds of social conscience. Talk of history repeating itself! A shaming round of judicial penkelemes, near identical to present proceedings, ensued. Even before the trial proper, judges sat, fulminated, cooed, withdrew, were re-assigned, recused themselves, sat tight, defied pressure, succumbed etc.etc. on the issue of bail to some of the accused. Virtually all complained of external interference. One of them, Justice Abass, kept a diary in which he accused – among other culprits members of the Bar – that is, members of the Nigerian Bar Association – of improper importuning on behalf of some of the accused. One of them was set down as actually bringing messages from highly placed “least expected” quarters. The judge was moved to soliloquise, in his diary: What is their interest? What is at stake that officers sworn to uphold the law should attempt to exert improper influence on me, and in such a brazen manner. The importuning included material inducements.
Justice Abass put up a struggle but eventually threw in the sponge. The pressure, the harassment, proved too much. Before that, however, he made copies of his diary and distributed the pages for safe-keeping. Three or four of these pages came into my possession – I made this public knowledge at the time. I asserted that, at the very least, in attempting to solve that murder mystery, the diary was one place to begin. Who were these highly placed people who had such a prohibitive stake in Bola Ige’s murder trial as well as the situation of the suspects that they suborned sworn officers of the law. The crime, incidentally, was littered with clues – this was just another wedge through which it became mandatory to penetrate through to the sordid crime and identify the conspirators. The case had developed unsavoury but exceedingly useful ramifications. Who were these forces so bent on subverting the processes of justice in the investigation of the murder of the highest Law Officer of the land? We screamed in vain. The NBA did not take up the challenge. That Association had a primary responsibility of ferreting out the tools of subversion in their midst. Justice Abass set down dates, place, hour and witnesses – in writing. He used a code of initials for participants.
This narrative remains incomplete without reference to another form of intervention. Along the way, during our own ‘busybody’ forays, we invaded the American Consulate. Why? Simply because we had learnt that the American government had offered help, that they had assigned some experts to assist the Nigerian police in unearthing the mystery of the murder, but that the police had rejected help. We headed for the embassy to insist that they should ignore the Nigerian police. Bola Ige was already an international civil servant of the United Nations anyway, and was entitled, even more so in extra-judicial death, to considerations of international intervention. The Consul-General received us cordially. She confirmed our information, that the Nigerian government had refused the offer of assistance. I asked permission to use her phone and we called the president, who was none other than Olusegun Obasanjo. Was it true, I asked, that his government had rejected external assistance?
Details of the exchange are not relevant to this narrative, though they are readily available if of interest to anyone. What matters is that there was serious talk of introducing lie-detectors to be used on the accused, its effectiveness or whatever or acceptability. We were put on Hold while Obasanjo called the Inspector-General of Police, and put him on the speaker-phone. All that is of interest, but is not really crucial to the subject of this intervention. There will be further elaborations in due course.
I have brought it up principally to exclaim: History Strikes Again! Also to decry yet again the unbelievably short memory span of that breed known as Nigerians. Amnesia is often a contrived tactic of escapism, which, to put it bluntly, is another word for moral cowardice. I have brought it up principally to remind the judiciary, and associate orders such as the Bar Association, that the war between impunity and Justice is an incessant one. Corruption is not a trait to be trivialised for political opportunism or locker-room guffaws. Corruption murdered the Nation’s Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, and Justice was rendered helpless in the defence of its own Prime Advocate.
The reign of impunity will prevail as long as the legal community continues to betray its calling, its oath of office, even its rites of professional collegiality and its responsibility to the rest of us. It is disappointing that even under a government that promised to dust up the files of political murders and end that reign of homicidal impunity, the Association has not thought fit to demand from the Buhari government its findings. There is more than ample material to warrant a Judicial Commission, and that demand has come up again and again. It will continue for as long as there remains a shred of conscience somewhere in this nation, especially when provoked into resurgence by the antics of those who murdered Justice to enthrone corruption and bask in the miasma of Impunity.
As always, election time brings out the worst of animalism in political participants. Justice was betrayed on that edition, repudiated, hung up to dry, and the door left wide open for commissioned killers. Bola Ige, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, died in the line of duty. Justice Salami at least survived the rites of passage – I felt honoured to have been invited by him to deliver the lecture for his valedictory occasion. The government at the time of Ige’s killers know the truth. That government protected – I repeat – protected, and rewarded his killers.
Those who wish to dispute this had better first immerse themselves in the circumstances of that murder, and the unconstitutional, indeed illegal trajectory of the principal accused, one that not only facilitated his unconstitutional participation in the ensuing election but catapulted him straight to the occupancy of the seat that had been kept warm for him during his trial and absence. On release, he was ushered straight into the slot of Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives. That was not all. The head of that government, General Olusegun Obasanjo, proceeded to burnish Ige’s memory with characteristic zeal. With that victim in no position to defend himself, that inveterate letter-writer sent a reference letter to Ige’s new abode – just in case there are ministries of power over yonder:
“We put Bola Ige there to rectify the power situation. It turned out that he did not know his left hand from his right”
Bola Ige’s murder took place at election time. Once again, we are confronted with another election. Killings and kidnappings have escalated. Once again – coincidence be damned! – the judiciary is in disarray. A political association – which I once described as a den of killers – is regrouping, wishes to direct the fortunes of this nation yet again. This nation needs no reminding that, yes indeed, the rule of law must prevail, and constitutionality must not be trivialised. Neithe, however, must criminality, or else, history merely repeats itself in increasingly dismal accents. Justice becomes neutralised.
Citizen Forum welcomes the Reformist Council of Twenty. On the political forum, we urge: Let the ghosts of the past be laid to rest. Let a new breed emerge.
A former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, on Friday condemned the withdrawal of security details attached to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal and described the action as the highest level of impunity by the Peoples Democratic Party led Federal Government against its perceived political enemies.
In an interview with Channels Television shortly after he picked the governorship nomination and expression of interest forms at the All Progressives Congress (APC) secretariat in Kaduna, El-Rufai alleged that the withdrawal of Tambuwal’s security details on the orders of the Inspector General of Police, Mr Suleiman Abbah, was a plot by the Federal Government to expose the Speaker to great danger.
The former minister accused President Jonathan of being the mastermind of the withdrawal of the Speaker’s security details and warned that no harm must befall the Speaker.
He further explained that the withdrawal of Tambuwal”s security details was deliberate because of the Speaker’s defection from Peoples Democratic Party to the APC, and however warned the police and other security agencies to desist from being partisan in the 2015 general elections.
“Nigerians are fed up with the current PDP government both in Kaduna State and at the federal level,” he said.
On what informed his decision to contest for the governorship seat in Kaduna State, El-rufai said he was in the race to salvage Kaduna from the maladministration of the present PDP government in the state, and explained that security, job creation and infrastructural development would form the main priority of his government if elected as governor in 2015. He also debunked the people’s fear that he would demolish illegal houses in the state when elected governor of Kaduna State in 2015.
The case of a brutal assault against two women in Ejigbo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos state has come up for public hearing at the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The State House of Assembly had commissioned a committee to investigate the case of two women who were stripped naked, beaten and tortured by unknown men in a market located in Ejigbo Local Government Area of Lagos state for allegedly stealing pepper.
Telling the public and the lawmakers what he knows, the Chairman of the Local Council, Kehinde Bamigbetan, accepted that the barbaric incident took place in his locality in February 2013.
According to him, he took his hands off the case when the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Ejigbo Police Station accepted that he was aware of the crime and that investigation was on going.
Although the hearing has commenced, the victims are yet to be seen to speak for themselves while the culprits are yet to be fished out. This is according to the petitioner and leader of an NGO, Women Arise, Dr Joe Okei Odumakin.
One of the women (the younger victim) is feared to be dead while the older victim is said to have relocated to Kogi state. The husband of the older victim, who is said to be a palm wine tapper, has relocated to a different street in the same locality.
At the hearing, the Chairman of the Committee on the Public Hearing announced that anyone with useful information that will lead to the apprehension of the criminals will be rewarded with 1 million naira and an extra 250,000 naira from him.
The Assistant State Publicity Secretary of APC, Funsho Ologunde, on Saturday responded to allegations that the party is no different from the Peoples Democratic Party it criticises based on its open arm policy to former members of the ruling party.
They (APC) are not birds of the same feathers because PDP represents power (and indirectly, impunity) while APC preaches change, he said.
Speaking on Sunrise, he said “in the game of politics, there are no permanent friends.” The fact that some people have been in the PDP, working against the interest of the country, does not mean they cannot be converted.
He claimed that the process of conversion was not overnight and that the gospel of the APC to the decampees was that their continued stay in the PDP was a hindrance to the progress of the nation.
In reaction to this, PDP Chieftain, Segun Ogundimu, said the position of the PDP is that the “mass defection (will lead to) mass confusion in the APC.” He also denied that those who decamped were being oppressed by the leadership and accused them of being over ambitious.
Asked what the APC intends to do to bring about the change it has promised, Ologunde said the development in APC states attests to the fact that the party can deliver if Nigerians support.
According to him, the widely celebrated development heralded by the Akpabio led Akwa Ibom state government is an orchestrated campaign by the PDP to give the party leverage against APC governors who are widely accepted as performing.
PDP is synonym for non-performance, bad government, he said.
However, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and Managing Director of the Sun Newspapers, Femi Adesina, who was a guest on the programme, opined that the mass defection is healthy for democracy as it has caused a “balance of power, forces.” The realignments in the political front indicate that “anything can happen in 2015,” Adesina added.
He continued by saying that prior to the season of defection, PDP’s return to power was highly ikely but now “nothing is guaranteed.”
Adeshina averred that the changes in the polity have generated excitement in the public domain in anticipation of 2015 general elections.
Governor Theodore Orji of Abia state has said that the year 2014 would be a year that all legacy projects and the solid foundations being laid for the sustainable development of the socio-economic and political transformation of the State, will be fully consolidated for the interests of the citizens, towards a new face of Abia State.
According to the Governor in a statement, the State has advanced in its democratic agenda and expanded the frontiers of participatory democracy in Abia State, making it more inclusive, more tolerant and open to everyone that shows the skill, without bondage to godfathers.
He stated that the bench-mark of governance established would ensure that “no one and no leader of the future will make the mistake to return the State to the dark days of strife, impunity and ad-hoc process, and in a private estate of the few, for the few, and by the few.”
Governor Orji urged all citizens of the state to join hands and ensure sustenance of security in which has paved way for the serene environment for business growth. He also promised 24 hour uninterrupted power supply to Abia and its environs through the geometric power plant.
“We will continue in 2014 to drive all our restructured and re-engineered platforms of the new face of Abia to a level where everything is not only changing for the better, but strengthened to be self-propelling.
“I will continue to remind all Abians not to forget where we are coming from – to this far, so that we never derail from our new direction,” Orji said.
The Lagos State House of Assembly has commissioned a committee to investigate the case of two women who were stripped naked, beaten and tortured by unknown men in a market located in Ejigbo Local Government Area of Lagos state for allegedly stealing pepper.
Recently, a video showing the torturous experience two women were subjected to by suspected touts surfaced online and caused uproar in the public domain.
Human Rights Activist, Joe Okei Odumakin, who is at the fore-front of the struggle to ensure that justice is delivered and the criminals brought to book told Channels Television on Tuesday while speaking on Sunrise Daily, that parties concerned in the case, includes the police, activists, community leaders, the chairman of the local government, market men and women, noting that they will be invited to give their account of the incident.
According to Mrs Odumakin, the video, showing how at least four bottles of grounded pepper as well as broken sticks were forced into their private parts, was brought to the attention of the group on December 7th. She however noted that intelligence reports reveal that the incident happened 10 months ago.
The Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan issued a statement that the incident occurred in February. He also disclosed that the older victim is the wife of a palm wine tapper while the younger victim is her stepdaughter.
Odumakin who described the act as “brazen, bestial and barbaric” agonized with the victims who she said will have to live with such dehumanization all their lives, “but the only thing that will give them succour is when they see justice.”
Efforts to bring the culprits to book have proved unsuccessful as residents in the area have maintained a ‘criminal silence’ out of fear.
However, Mrs Odumakin said the rise in such acts indicates the increase of impunity and called for a change in the mindset of the people who may consider jungle justice.
Although the group is yet to solicit the cooperation of the police, it has petitioned the Lagos State House of Assembly to ensure justice is given to the two female victims who are now being referred to as the ‘Ejigbo 2.’
“Honestly, impunity is on the rise and these people will be walking about free. Apart from walking about free, they would still be perpetuating this heinous act. So more than ever, we need to smoke them out of their holes,” she said.
She appealed to members of the community to volunteer information to help unravel the identity of the criminals. Citizens with useful information are to call or send text messages to 08037223313, 08034090205
The The Chairman of the editorial board of the Nation newspapers, Sam Omatseye has said that the raging crisis in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is nothing short of a taste of its own medicine and the disputes among members is the rewards for the party’s impunity and disregard for the law.
He said this this on Monday, while speaking on Channels Television’s breakfast programme Sunrise Daily.
Despite the fact that members of the Tukur led PDP have denied the existence of a crisis or another faction led by Abubakar Baraje, Mr Omatseye said “it is very clear that PDP is not at peace” and that the former are only holding on to “a construction of denial”.
He went further to describe last night’s PDP post-convention dinner hosted by President Goodluck Jonathan as “a party after a funeral”.
“You are trying to say that nobody died, you are drinking but inside of you, you are weeping,” he said, concluding that the whole thing was “a charade.”
He stated that there wouldn’t have been any need to go to court if the situation was a family matter and not the crisis it is.
Although the party has been experiencing varying levels of discord, Mr Omatse faulted the party’s approach to solving issues, which he described as “foul logic,” is catching up with it.
“The impunity of the PDP is catching up with it” he said recalling the issue of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), where they said 16 votes was more than 19, he questioned “why are they now worried that 7 members are getting away.”
He mentioned that a court case would serve no purpose because “PDP has never respected the law”. “It is about power,” he said.
Transparency International, the global anti-corruption organisation, on Thursday called on President Goodluck Jonathan to rescind the pardon granted to former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, who was convicted for money laundering and other serious corruption offences in 2007. “This decision undermines anti-corruption efforts in Nigeria and encourages impunity. If the government is serious about uprooting public corruption, sanctions against those who betray the public trust should be strengthened, not relaxed,” said Akere Muna, vice-chair of Transparency International.
By reason of the presidential pardon, Mr Alamieyeseigha will now be able to stand for public office again.
The anti-corruption organisation advised President Jonathan to show that he is committed to fighting corruption and endorse the efforts of law enforcement agencies to end impunity for corrupt officials.
Nigeria was ranked 139 out of 174 countries in the 2012 Corruptions Perceptions Index.
Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has prosecuted and convicted a number of high-profile corrupt individuals since its inception in 2003, but most of them have escaped effective sanctions.
A diplomacy and security analyst, Femi Adegbulu has identified the increasing gap between the rich and the poor in Nigeria as a great inducement of criminality in the country.
Mr Adegbulu, who disclosed this on Monday while speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, advised the Federal Government to deal with the issues of corruption, unemployment and poverty in Nigeria as the sustainable way of solving insurgencies in the country.
He said, “You see an individual, who has stolen the whole community dry, who has mortgage the future of his own people and he is given a slap in the wrist. No deterrent. People who are not in that position will be gearing up to get there so that they can also steal with impunity.
“Until we deal with the culture of impunity in the country, there can be no end to the Boko Haram thing; there can be no end to kidnapping; there can be no end to ritual murder; there can be no end to all these criminalities we see.”
President Goodluck Jonathan has said Nigeria will support the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its efforts to check impunity. The president was speaking to the Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, during a courtesy call at State House, Tuesday.
The President said, “Nigeria does not encourage impunity, and will cooperate with the ICC to check it.”
President Jonathan said, ‘we are open to you and have nothing to hide’, adding that he had directed the Attorney-General and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to ‘ensure that the ICC Chief Prosecutor receives all the support and cooperation required to make her visit to Nigeria a fruitful one’.
He drew Mrs Bensouda’s attention to the ICC’s involvement in five situations in Africa, with the attendant criticism from the continent, and called on the Chief Prosecutor to use her experience in the Court to resolve potential areas of conflict or disagreement.
The President said while the African Union’s Constitutive Instruments do not condone impunity, greater engagement by the ICC with the AU should create the enabling environment for cooperation towards the realization of the Court’s laudable objectives.
Earlier, the ICC Chief Prosecutor, Mrs Bensouda, told President Jonathan she was in Nigeria on the invitation of the Government to discuss cooperation and the Court’s work in the country over the past five years.
Mrs Bensouda said Nigeria was not under any investigation, as the Government had responsibility for investigating and prosecuting any crimes in the country, and expressed appreciation that this was already being done.
The ICC Chief Prosecutor said the Court was not targeting Africa, but all cases in the continent, apart from Kenya, were originated by Africans, adding that this was good for the victims of such crimes.