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Balarabe to Yaradua: renew war against corruption instead of deregulation of oil sector

October 18, 2009

‘Corruption is the greatest bane of Nigeria and that nobody no matter whom would be allowed to get away with the breach of the law or the perpetuation of corruption and evil, as it no more business as usual’ …..Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, November 23,1999.

It is regrettable that the regime of President Umaru Musa Yaradua has classified corruption as nobody’s business and rather than focusing on recovery of missing funds has firmly fixed his eyes in the rearview mirror of anti-corruption; protecting and shielding looters of our commonwealth. In an era where corruption remains the bane of Nigeria, indeed chronic cancer as the Global Corruption Perception Index Report released recently rated Nigeria 131 out of 180 countries, adding to Transparency International Report, which consecutively enlisted Nigeria among the hall of infamy of rogue states. We ask, is War Against Corruption now deleted out of President Yaradua’s  7-Point-Agenda template ?

CNPP is asking whether the War Against Corruption has been deleted from President Yaradua’s  7-Point- Agenda radar on the following  QUESTIONS viz: -

I} Where is the Federal Government  White Paper Report on Halliburton, Wilbros, Siemens etc scams?

II} Why is President Yaradua still retaining Chief Michael Aondoakaa, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, who has clearly not been serving the cause of justice and has been obstructing the War Against Corruption?

III} Is it not more patriotic and better for President Yaradua to muster the political will to embark on the recovery of at least 1/10 of over $1trillion of our looted golden oil and gas funds, looting that occurred in the nearly ten years of our return to democracy? Fund that could have been used to fix our decayed infrastructure, build new refineries, railways etc; instead of relying on ineffective private sector and implementing anti-people deregulated oil sector on the suffering citizenry?

III} Can our democracy grow under gross corruption, moreso, when the ex-president and ex-governors who looted state resources are allowed to bestrode our political landscape, using the looted funds to corrupt our electoral process?

In our considered view the War Against Corruption cannot be effectively waged, when the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, is lukewarm in the anti-corruption crusade. A proactive Attorney General of the Federation by the virtue of his high office could have been leading the vanguard of the crusade of War Against Corruption; rather than covertly and overtly obstructing the prosecution of corrupt ex-president and ex-governors, by descending into the arena.

Otherwise how can we reconcile a situation, without prejudice to directive of general nature as envisaged by the framers of the Constitution, where the president allows the Attorney General to place sealed lid on the EFCC and ICPC on prosecution of corrupt ex-president and ex-governors, ie the awkward policy of reporting to or taking orders from Attorney General by anti-graft agencies?

To us that EFCC and ICPC are under the Attorney General’s supervision did not confer the authority of the Attorney General to brazenly obstruct the trail of ex-president and ex-governors, especially the non trial of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo inspite of CNPP and other petitions, his ministers and cronies, the lousy manner ex-governors Orji Uzo Kalu, Peter Odili, Chimaroke Nnamani, Saminu Turaki,Boni Haruna, Jolly Nyame, Adamu Muazu etc are being tried, the unchallenged plea bargain given to Chief Lucky Igbinedon, the shameful manner the Attorney General  is obstructing the Mutual Legal Assistant Treaty between Nigeria and Britain in the Chief James Ibori matter.

For the avoidance of doubt in the Christine Ibori-Ibie et al case the Southwark Crown Court, London has requested that a number of EFCC officials to appear as witnesses to testify, a request the Attorney Genera has vehemently denied; which could have led to exchange of evidences between Metropolitan Police and EFCC. Rather the Attorney General in order to scuttle the matter in Southwark London had quickly set up the Federal High Court Asaba to quash the Chief Ibori case.

How come the Attorney General as the Chief Law Officer of the nation failed to remind or pressurize the Chief Justice of Nigeria to act on the file of the 31 ex-governors the ICPC under ex-chairman, retired Justice Mustapha Akanbi submitted for over two years waiting for private prosecutors? Is not a breach of the Constitution?

CNPP is worried that with all these plethora of malfeasance and the strong condemnation of the Attorney General by his colleagues – Nigeria Bar Association – he is still parading as the Chief Law Officer for a regime that prides rule of law.

Since May 29 2007, when the mighty immunity clause expired, the monumental corruption that took the center stage between 1999 and 2007, involving ex-president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo ; inspite of all efforts to sweep it under the carpet has refused to disappear. One that came up recently under one of the items of CNPP’s petition of December 10th 2007; surfaced in the Federation Account Allocation Committee{FAAC} meeting held on 8 September 2009 at the Conference Room of the Honourable Minister of Finance between the Minister and Commissioners of Finance and representatives of the 36 states of the federation.

To the shock of many the FAAC meeting among other sordid details unveiled the monumental corruption, unprecedented looting and gross money laundering perpetuated by the Chief Obasanjo regime:-

A} Signature Bonus -  proceeds between 2004 – 2007, with a backlog of US$2009.52 billion not paid into the Federation Account, of which 47.32% amounting to US$950.90 million is the share of States and Local Government Councils.

B} Dividends from Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas {NLNG} -  that between 2004 – 2007 dividends of NLNG  amounts to US$1512.13 billion of which 47.32% amounting to US$725.23 is the share of States and Local Government Councils; unfortunately was not treated as an asset of the Federation Account, therefore was not paid into the Federation Account.

It is paradoxical for a president to turn blind eye to open looted funds and turn around to tax the same citizenry who had been blindly looted. Nigerians do not deserve the double jeopardy of oil taxation, when the looted oil funds are unaccounted.

CNPP consequently challenges President Umaru Musa Yaradua to as a matter of urgent national importance to overhaul his anti-graft machine; starting with the immediate dismissal of Chief Michael Aondoakaa, set up an independent high Commission of Inquiry into the revelations of the FAAC meeting, reinvent and empower the EFCC and ICPC to recover looted funds highlighted above.

Finally we condemn in no uncertain terms the assassination attempt on our Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, between 9 -10.30pm on Saturday October 17, 2009 at Abuja and call on the Nigeria Police Force to embark on thorough investigation on the matter as we suspect political motive.

Alhaji Balarabe Musa


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