Nigerians from different walks of life have reacted to the level of corruption in the country. They were of the opinion that the system is so corrupt that it affected every sector of the economy. These are some of the reactions of prominent Nigerian’s on the issue sampled by Saturday Vanguard ANOZIE EGOLE
In my own view, corruption scandals in Nigeria have reached an alarming proportion.A national daily recently reported how Nigeria has become a butt of practical jokes among diplomats from US and G-7 countries at a conference in New Orleans.
It quoted an envoy as saying that “corruption is like a fundamental objective and directive principle of state policy there(Nigeria)and it does not shock the media there anymore”.
Another envoy was quoted as taking up the office of the Attorney General of the Federation as the one to prosecute “big and tough criminals.But in Nigeria,sometimes,we read stories of how the AGF withdraws cases filed against alleged criminals and fraudsters.
The sentiments of these envoys capture the reality that it is not just that officials are corrupt in Nigeria but corruption itself has become official. In the past,we were measuring corruption in millions and billions but today it is metered in trillions and no one is brought to book.
We have moved from a situation where people committed suicide rather than facing trial for corruption to where those accused of corruption hire protesters who follow them to court nude or dressed in ‘aso ebi. The impunity is so high that a former boss of Exchange Commission accused of corruption boldly told a public hearing she couldn’t understand why the theft of private funds should be become an issue of public inquiry!Even a President who should lead the charge against corruption is being accused of monumental corruption a la Malabu oily deal. Its a very worrying situation.
The Subsidy probe scam is a response from the top by the House of Representatives to stem the revolt from below during the “occupy Nigeria” movement in Nigeria.
The mind boggling tales of corruption that came from the probe confirmed the position of SNG in January that the problem with the oil sector was not subsidy but corruption .It was not surprising when the committee discovered at the end of its assignment that as against the N245b that was budgeted for subsidy in 2011,over N2.5 trillion was seen spent with other outstanding as at the time it wound up.
The Finance Minister,Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala was later to tell the country that N541b out of the N888 b budgeted for 2012 has been used for arrears of 2011.This brings the total figures to over N3trn. Immediately the House adopted the report and directed the prosecution of all those indicted. The AGF started to sound like Legal Adviser to the subsidy thieves by dismissing the report as a mere “fact-finding” that was not sufficient for prosecution.
By the time the video production unit of the subsidy thieves completed the blockbuster on Farouk Lawan alleged collecting $620,000 from Femi Otedola,the enlightened segment of the society could only scream “deja vu”.For this was the same script used during the power probe where a counter allegation of N5.2b corruption against the Elumelu committee was used to blur the theft of $16b.
Why would Otedola wait for 6 weeks after to expose a “sting” operation?In a sting operation,the culprit is arrested on the spot the moment he collects the marked money!And why would a man who has done no wrong be negotiating a bribe? Farouk out of greed or naivity, fell into the trap of oil thieves but the Nigerian people can no longer be caught by such cheap trick again.
This is why the popular thinking today is that Otedola and Farouk should face trial for giving and receiving bribe without prejudice to the trial of subsidy thieves.
The US is very right.Is their dollar not the currency of bribe in our country today?Is it not through the USA that the $1b malabu oil deal was routed?Is Ibori who was given clean bill by all levels of court in Nigeria not serving jail term in Britain today?
How many accused thieves have been left off the hook in recent time through the interference of the AGF office?In how many countries in the world would $20b be stolen in one year in the name of subsidising the importation of the refined version of the mainstay of the economy and not one head rolls?
The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi said a few years back that when people hear knocks on their doors and it happens to be EFCC officials,they would just say “sit down please.Can we offer you coke or Fanta?”. How Prohetic!
Gain of crime in Nigeria is higher than the punishment— Bar Chijike Jiapoma
Corruption as we all know has been in existence even before the law. Coming to Nigeria, we all know that it grows alongside with the population of the country. As the country grows, that’s how crime does here in Nigeria. The problem we are having with corruption here is that, the premium of crime is higher than the punishment. By this I mean that the premium is not proportionate to the crime.
If a person was alleged that he/she has stolen N3b and he was taken to court and entered into plea bargaining with the court. After plea bargaining, you will now sentence the person to 3years imprisonment at times with an option of fine. While some people in the society, even if they stayed free for 50 years, they can’t make N10m. For such people, they will prefer to steal and be given option of fine.
The people that propagated these laws that we are using did not did tell us the culture/ reactions. They just packed the law and give to us. In other ways, the law does not belong to us. If you see the removal of fuel subsidy by the president, you will know that he had good plans for Nigeria by looking into the fuel subsidy. They revealed how they had been siphoning money out of the country from the oil sector.
But the people that told him to remove the subsidy did not also tell him the areas they will use to tackle the subsidy removal. We all know that the subsidy removal was a very good way to develop our economy but we fail to know that there are some cabals who have been benefitting from the fuel subsidy and that these cabals will use all they have to fight back to ensure that there was no removal of the subsidy. These cabals also sponsored some politicians and even some people in the judiciary. There is no way these people sponsored by these cabals will not fight to protect the cabals.
If the President had wanted to create a panel that will take care of the investigation, it should not have been from the national assembly because they still have their people whose interest they will protect. It should have been an ordinary man in the street. When this subsidy probe committee was initially formed, they came in with a very big propaganda that made it seem as if they are not being biased by telling the whole country that they are trying to bribe them. They were raising alarm as if they are sacred cow that cannot be bribed.
The government should redress our criminal codes, and terms of punishment to tally with the offences being committed. The government should come down and look at our laws and redress them in such a way that it will survive the heat of the country. Some members in the national assembly cannot make any laws that can survive the heat of the country that’s the problem they are having. .
Their mind is just to become a member of the house of assembly, collect as much money as they can and maintain a particular standard of living even after they might have retired. The system through which some of them assumed that office was not genuine so you do not expect them to be genuine.