[ Masterweb Reports: C. K. Ekeke, Ph.D. reports ] - On October 1, 1960, Nigeria became an independent nation from Great Britain due to the nationalist activities of Nigeria’s founding fathers and mothers. And so, on October 1, 2015 as always since fifty-four years ago, the nation will pause to reflect and extol the nationalist leaders for their courageous activism and leadership.
President Buhari and his cabinet – even though still non-existent since he was elected this past May, will probably have a modest celebration this year, unlike previous years. He approved only seventy million Naira for this year’s independence anniversary, which are peanuts compared to previous years. He will also probably give an impressive speech similar to the one he gave at the U.N on September 28, 2015 and assure Nigerians that he will conquer corruption and degrade the murderous activities of Boko haram, Niger Delta militancy and oil bunkering – since he the President has also appointed himself to be the Petroleum Minister. And so the speeches will not be inspiring and probably, celebrations and fanfare will be modest.
With the embrace of the new presidential dictatorship, continued boko haram insurgency and the massive youth unemployment among other vast challenges, the future of Nigeria looks windswept than ever.
In his controversial memoir: ‘There Was A Country – a classic and masterful narration of Nigeria’s history and civil war, the eminent scholar, and international poet, the late Prof. Chinua Achebe published before passing into glory few years ago. He wrote abundantly about Nigeria’s independence and freedom. In the words of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, he writes, Nigeria was given her freedom “on a platter of gold.” We should have known that freedom should be won, not given on a plate. Like the head of John the Baptist, this gift to Nigeria proved most unlucky.
The late sage was absolutely correct. Nigeria gained independence on a platter of gold on October 1, 1960. Since then, she has floundered and has not really enjoyed any genuine freedom or political peace or national prosperity because of tribalism and ethnic hatred, political instability, poor leadership, religious ignorance, intolerance and violence, moral degradation, bribery and corruption, injustice, indiscipline and irresponsibility. These and other vices quickly marred the nation’s prospect for development and progress until today.
And so, Nigeria’s intractable problems and challenges continue. The challenges and problems facing Nigeria are convoluted. Apart from the social and economic problems confronting the nation, new kinds of challenges are surfacing daily. Today, Nigeria is besieged by many challenges namely—–ethnic strife, bias and hatred, religious conflicts, terrorism, political instability, government corruption, lack of infrastructure, public healthcare crisis such as HIV/AIDS, poverty, crime, violence, lawlessness, injustice, political thuggery, looting of public treasury, money laundering and debilitating political corruption.
However, one problem that observers, even those outside the shores of Nigeria do not hesitate to talk about is that of weak and poor leadership. Governance in Nigeria for the last fifty-five years was hijacked by a group of selfish, greedy, egoistic, visionless malicious, mischievous and treacherous rulers. Since she gained independence in October 1st, 1960, she has not had good and courageous leaders to pilot the affairs of the nation. Nigeria has not really enjoyed any genuine political peace and national prosperity despite enormous natural resources and abundant human capital. Instead, the country has been ruled and governed by military and political dictators that denied the people of Nigeria security, order, peace and basic needs of livelihood – which are the primary duties of government.
For fifty years plus, what we’ve had is a military dictatorship, political hypocrisy, idolatrous religious system, and extravagantly indulgent corrupt judicial system that oppressed the poor, the less privileged and minority members of the country. In a nutshell, Nigeria’s rulers have failed to fulfill their obligations to the nation and its people.
In his famous and widely quoted treatise on Nigeria: ‘The Trouble with Nigeria,’ the eminent scholar and world renowned poet, late Prof. Chinua Achebe writes, “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership.”
Many Nigerians as well as foreign observers agree and have also attributed most of the enormous problems facing the nation are due to lack of good and courageous leadership.
In his classic book: ‘The Open Sore of a Continent – A Personal Narrative of the Nigerian Crisis,’ the literary icon, an international acclaimed playwright, essayist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Novelist Wole Soyinka brilliantly and succinctly writes about the corruption, human rights abuses, bad leadership and political bondage in which Nigeria and most of Africa was subjected to since her independence.
Dr. Joseph Nanven Garba in his treatise of governance in Nigeria said this:
“Nigeria, to my mind, does not lack real men and women. The ingredients for creating a formidable nation exist. What is lacking is leadership with the political will and the selfless dedication to galvanize the entire nation.”(Fractured History - Elite Shifts and Policy Changes in Nigeria)
Novelist Wole Soyinka and late sage Chinua Achebe The Nigerian state is surely chronically ill, ethically and morally decadent and frankly suffering from a serious and severe nation building challenge. Since Nigeria gained independence, she has had various systems of government – Unitary, Parliamentary, Military and now Democratic Presidential system. Despite Nigeria’s enormous human potential and abundant natural resources, the promise of these various governments has been a dismal failure. The politicians have not kept their promises but floundered and left the Nigerian masses worse than when they were under the British ruler-ship.
Since the return to presidential democratic government in 1999, Nigeria has not yet maximized its potential to the fullest, but wallowed in religious and sectarian violence, political leadership failure, corrupt courts and judges and security challenges. Despite the many reforms that the nation has embarked upon; yet not much has been done to uplift its citizens. The nation is also rapidly falling apart and disintegrating and the rulers care less about it. The truth is that Nigeria is faced with serious challenges of nationhood and most politicians in power don’t want to hear it.
Luckily, Nigeria does not lack competent people who can govern. Rather, what is lacking is visionary and courageous leaders that are transparent in their discharge of domestic, public and foreign responsibilities. Nigeria do have capable men and women with reputable education, qualification and impressive resume to lead and govern well but most of them are not willing to dive into the murky and muddled political landscape of Nigeria. Nigeria does not lack human power but what it lacks abundantly is the political will and courage to tackle the enormous problems and nation building challenges. Therefore the truly missing ingredient and biggest problem in this age and time for Nigeria is lack of courageous leaders – finding men and women ready to tackle the capacious challenges of nation building. Such challenges as ethnicity and tribalism, injustice, bribery and political corruption, Insecurity and militancy, religious ignorance, intolerance, and violence, lapses and paralysis in education sector, poverty and disease, moral & social decadence, and lack of patriotism and nationalism among others.
By the way, ethnicity, tribalism and religious conflict are a huge threat to the security, unity and do hamper the development and progress of the nation. Also religious ignorance and intolerance breed violence. Religious ignorance, intolerance and violence are also a big problem in Africa. In the continent of Africa, religious violence and ethnic cleansing are enormous. Religious violence has decimated more lives in Africa in the last 50 years than hunger, disease, accidents and even wars combined together. Africa has been properly called a "Bloody Continent." They are a battleground between Islam, Christianity and traditional religions. Muslims and Christians kill each other in Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Senegal, Rwanda, Burundi and other places in Africa.
For instance, since 1999, we have seen the rapid rise of radical Islamic violence and the authoritarian corrupt political leadership. There is a growing religious intolerance and conflict, ethnic bias and strife, rise of Islamic fundamentalism especially in the northern part of the country, where jihadist sects like Boko haram, a group that detests Western education and social norms, are bombing businesses, Churches, Temples and Police stations killing people at random. The sect is also agitating for a Sharia Republic in the north. And then there is the Niger Delta militant groups like MEND in the South-south that are kidnapping foreign nationals working in the oil fields for a ransom.
Prosperity gospel is destroying Nigeria and most of sub-Sahara Africa especially in this age of innovation and technological revolution. While nations are tapping into the next frontier of technology innovation and advancement, most Nigerians and African peoples are looking up to their herbalists, pastors, and off-course to heaven not for ideas but for God to rain $millions$ on them. And this way of thinking pervade the African Christendom currently. They refused to understand that “manna” stopped failing from heaven after the Israelites crossed River Jordan and settled in the Land of Canaan. God commanded them to go to work and be innovative and productive. The danger of prosperity and materialistic message is immense and it’s killing the African mind.
While many nations around the globe are prospering, educating their younger generation and motivating them to achieve great things in this 21st century world of scientific progress and technological advancement, Nigeria and most of Africa are trapped in a culture of corruption and bad leadership. Today, while technology innovation is linking people—especially young people and nations together through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., for great purposes, millions of young people in Nigeria are utilizing social media for financial fraud, crime and violence. More than ever, the need to train educate and prepare young people of Nigeria to be become good leaders, entrepreneurs, and to participate in the global economy and job market is crucial and paramount.
Despite its abundant natural and human resources, Nigeria is listed among the poorest countries in the world. It has one of the lowest primary school completion rates in Africa. Also, Nigeria has one of the largest percentages of the 100 million children, mostly girls; who are out of school worldwide. Today, the population has exploded and ballooned where many children still go to bed hungry and millions of families subsist on less than one dollar a day. It is estimated that there are over 70 million people who are 30 years and under unemployed in Nigeria today.
The culture of learning which was strong and admired by Nigerians has eroded due to weak educational leadership and corrupt government leaders. Since the return to democratic government in 1999, the portfolio of education has been held by corrupt and incompetent politicians. Moreover, most of the governors of the various states in Nigeria have been visionless and myopic. The university campuses have become centers for raping young girls, gang activities, deaths and cultic activities, in addition to constant strikes, poor lecturers and lack of funds. Everything nowadays is driven by money and even the university admissions are now bought by rich people for their children. The schools are also dilapidated and teachers who cannot write simple correct sentences or speak eloquently are teaching the future leaders.
That is why many young Nigerians are leaving the shores of Nigeria to else where – even to the nearest neighboring countries like Ghana or South Africa to attend university. Those of them who are extremely lucky to go to European and United States are excelling in their studies and academics. Why would the young people live in a nation that does not care for them, recognized as the future leaders of the country, receive proper training, developed and prepared to take over the affairs of the nation at some point? Why would they live in a nation without job after their university education and unemployment roaring at almost 80%? By the way, the Nigerian military is still searching for over 300 Chibok schools that were taken away from their dormitories by Boko haram for over a year now. In report published by Lo Spazio della Political (LSDP) in 2013, Kenyans dominate in Africa among the global thinkers and innovators. Only Babatude Fashola, former Governor of Lagos State, Nigeria for transforming Lagos into an African hub of innovation and for launching the Lagos Innovation Advisory Council, and Adefunke Ekine, from Nigeria, Fellow Echidna Global Scholars, Nigeria, for her experience of teaching and directing schools in Africa, in particular, for the promotion of science among young female students – made the list.
President Buhari must declare state of emergence in the education sector. Nigeria needs a massive educational restructuring and education entrepreneurs. The closure of some of the so-called illegal universities recently in Nigeria should be examined properly for viability and alternative to most Nigerian universities that are now haven for violence, gang activity, prostitution, rape, killings, corruption, cheating, conflict and all manners of evil and atrocity – rather than institutions of higher learning and innovation. And this is simply due to the massive failure of leadership in the education sector – where those who direct the sector and institutions are simply corrupt, myopic, incompetent and visionless. Educational entrepreneurs should be encouraged.
The government must find ways to tap into the uncommon and huge resources of Nigerians scattered around the world – by seriously fighting insecurity, providing basic infrastructure, and setting up attractive incentives and conducive-working environment to be able to attract some of these Nigerian brains in Diaspora back to Nigeria. Nigeria does not lack the big idea and innovation, but the political will and right environment to galvanize and harness its people for growth and greatness.
Let us do what other nations have done – nations like Japan, India, Turkey, etc. have done in the past with their Diaspora citizens. Apart from setting up organizations to database their citizens, a minister of Diaspora Affairs was appointed to harness the enormous resources of their people that reside in the Western rich nations.
For instance, ten years ago, Turkey began investing only 0.95 % of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) into Research & Development (R&D), Innovation and Software Technology. Today, the well known ‘Technopark” located in Istanbul – similar to Silicon Valley in California or Technology Village in India, has 3,325 companies employing over three million young IT professionals for R&D to software and information and communication technology representing the most active sectors. And I am not referring to the so-called computer village in Lagos and Abuja that are flooded with useless hardware that is thrown into garbage here in the West.
How to tackle unemployment – especially youth unemployment – a small excerpt of a paper I delivered at the just concluded Nigeria in Diaspora (NIDOA) 2015 World Conference in Atlanta, USA.
1. To combat youth unemployment, reduce poverty, and increase job and wealth creation in the country, the various tiers of government must invest in entrepreneurship training and development of young people.
2. Government must partner with businesses; universities as well as Nigerians in Diaspora to create Workforce Development Centers (WDC) designed for customized needs of job market and high-demand tech jobs.
3. Creation of Nigeria Diaspora Entrepreneurship Institute (NDEI) to help youth entrepreneurs in the country and others involved in entrepreneurship learn what is needed to develop ideas into successfully business ventures.
4. The federal government must be willing to increase its investment in entrepreneurship development, partner with Nigerians in Diaspora to create an Entrepreneurship Development Centers in the nation as well as an Entrepreneurship Development Institute here in the U.S. , U.K., and other industrialized nations for training, business ideation, innovation, networking, etc.
5. The federal government must also be willing to assist with capital to finance innovative business idea that is capable of generating jobs for many and spur economic growth and prosperity.
6. Finally, the federal government must review its policy and legislation as well as endeavor to make things easier for Diasporas to invest and do business in their home land.
In conclusion, we live in a time of global opportunities and economic prosperity. It is a time of unlimited possibilities. This is the time to get the timing un-employed youths to develop the capability and capacity to create something out of nothing. The young generation can do so with technology today. They need to be given the opportunity to express themselves. If we lead well and support our young people, it can be a gamer changer for the nation. We must support them to receive knowledge, because knowledge is power. We need to move from oil resource based economy to knowledge based economy. We must invest in them to change their lives, to help them to become business owners, to become employers and not employees. We must give the opportunity to change the country, to receive knowledge, to become entrepreneurs and leaders, to experience freedom, to experience the world and vast opportunities that abound in our planet.
We must help them to develop the tenacity, the strength, the core values and character to confront challenges and obstacles that they will face in lives. We must give them the opportunity to learn everyday, to experience the world that is rapidly changing everyday. We must orientate their minds to think entrepreneurship and self-employment. Finally, the federal government, businesses, companies, etc., must partner, collaborate and work together with Nigerian entrepreneurs in Diaspora for this economic transformation and nation building.
As we celebrate today, let us thank God for preserving and keeping Nigeria together for these tumultuous 55 years. But let us think and work together to achieve the divine purpose for which God amalgamated us. May God give all Nigerians and their leaders the strength to continue to confront any forms of enslavement and impediment of their hopes and dreams and to continue to fight for their liberty and true independence!
Happy birthday Nigeria!
Dr. C. K. Ekeke ( Email: email@example.com ), consultant, author, speaker and leadership scholar reports.
*Photo Caption - Map of Nigeria
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 20th September 2015)-The leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties& the Rule of Law has watched with total dismay and shock as it concerns sustained attempts by leading political figures in Nigeria and their team of lawyers to steadily pervert the course of justice using judicial gambling and legal technicalities. Of particular concern to us are alleged false assets declarations and operation of domiciliary bank accounts while in gubernatorial office involving the duo of Senators Ahmed Bola Tinubu and Abubakar Bukola Saraki; of which they are standing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja the Capital of Nigeria.
For the records, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is a creation of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), created by Section 153 (1) (a) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended. The CCT is also a creation of Section 315 of the Constitution, having been created by an Act of the National Assembly of Nigeria and recognized by the Constitution. The CCT is one of constitutionally recognized and statutorily created special courts in Nigeria. Other constitutionally created special courts are the Elections Petitions Tribunals, the Customary Court of Appeal and the Sharia Court of Appeal. There are also statutorily created courts like the National Industrial Court and the judicial panels of enquiry. Other quasi judicial bodies are the National Human Rights Commission, etc.
These special judicial bodies are deemed in the eyes of the law to share same status and operational modes with regular high courts (Federal and State High Courts). In other words, their decisions cannot be entertained in regular high courts (State and Federal High Courts) except in the Court of Appeal and except as case may be or in rare circumstances, in matters of procedures. Specifically, Section 12 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers as contained in Part 1 of the Fifth Schedule to the Constitution expressly forbids or ousts the jurisdiction of the regular high courts in respect of adjudicating on matters or violations of the provisions of the Code of Conduct.
In recent case of AHMED v AHMED (2013) LPELR-21143, the Supreme of Court of Nigeria decided that the Federal High Court; (likewise State High Court) has no supervisory jurisdiction over the Code of Conduct Tribunal. For instance, an appeal filled at the Court of Appeal by Senator Bukola Saraki is meant to set aside the contempt order made by the CCT against him (a judicial decision); whereas the that of the Federal High Court borders on prosecutorial procedures before the CCT as adopted by the legal team of the Federal Government or absence of the Attorney General of the Federation in the instant case.
The informed and lettered explanation above follows sustained attempts by leading politicians accused of being in conflict with the provisions of the Code of Conduct Act of 2004 to belittle and rubbish the relevance and potency of the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Nigeria; by labeling it a court of inferior records or a jurisdictionally castrated court. We see this beyond the letters of the law and their manipulative skillfulness.
It is also a clear case of resorting to judicial gambling and technicalities with intent to pervert the course of justice and rule of law in Nigeria. Our main concern is that the duo of Senators Saraki and Tinubu should not have ignored the summons of the CCT at the first place; particularly on moral and popular grounds. This is more so when the CCT is empowered statutorily to adjudicate on matters under which they were judicially summoned. In all these, the duo of Senators Saraki and Tibunu has portrayed themselves before Nigerians as lawless and “guilty as accused or perceived”.
It is no longer news that the Nigerian Judiciary has uprooted its hallowed foundation laid on three-way traffic of justice (justice to the accused, justice to the victim and justice to the society). Today, judicial abominations abound in its hitherto hallowed confines. Perpetual injunctions are now granted so recklessly restraining the investigative securitization agencies from carrying out their constitutional duties of criminal investigations. Even court judgments have been entered in this country against the armed forces of Nigeria restraining them from performing their constitutional securitization duties.
Elections Petitions judicial assignments in the country have also broken the world record as the easiest and shortest way to acquire illicit wealth in the country’s judiciary. Lobbying to be appointed into its membership is very high and alarming and hotel rooms and higher education campus cultists are now used as couriers or middle persons to deliver the huge bribe sums usually trimmed and enveloped using leading hard currencies. In all these, members of the outer Bar or counsels to the litigants are inescapable accomplices. No matter how clear or literal judicial matters particularly electoral matters are, prospectus winners must bribe to win; otherwise prospectus losers who can bribe become instant winners courtesy of judicial technicalities; for in law, there is always an exception in every issue.
Specifically, Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu has severally gone to court and obtained its favour with intent to intimidate, frustrate and cow concerned citizens, who acted on behalf of themselves and other silent majority from asking questions over stupendous wealth associated with his name and ownership. The litigants or applicants, on behalf of other Nigerians, are not saying that Senator Tinubu cannot acquire wealth, but how those wealth were acquired considering his gubernatorial and hitherto career background. Former Governor Peter Odili had reportedly sought and obtained perpetual injunction from being criminally investigated to ascertain whether his wealth is in commensuration with that of a successful medical doctor and a gubernatorial pensioner. Former Governor Rotimi Amechi of Rivers State has refused to appear before the Rivers State Government constituted panel of enquiry to give account of his gubernatorial stewardship. Other instances abound.
As if these were not enough, here comes the case of Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who resorted to judicial gambling and technicalities to evade the Code of Conduct Tribunal’s summons; thereby perverting the course of justice and rule of law. Also Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu has continued to evade the CCT proceedings by resorting to judicial technicalities as well. While Senator Saraki and his team of lawyers raised the issue of procedural blunder (absence of AGF as prosecuting entity), Senator Tinubu and his team of lawyers also laid their refusal to appear before the CCT in Abuja on jurisdictional incompetence.
The Federal Government legal team is also questioning the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court in interfering in the proceedings of the CCT. In all, the fact remains that the duo of Senators Tinubu and Saraki would have lost nothing if they appeared before the CCT. Following the foregoing, therefore, the rule of law is endangered in Nigeria. The principle of equality before the law no longer holds water in the country. There are now law for the rich (crooks and saints) and law for the poor. The pre Magna Carta imperial period in England, during which the royal class was above the law and the loyal class was under the law, has arrived in Nigeria.
On the other hand, the case of Retired Col Sambo Dasuki (former NSA) is very outstanding and a positive case in point. Despite obvious persecutorial elements found in his ordeal with the DSS as presidentially packaged, he still submitted himself to the hands of the DSS to be arraigned before a Federal High Court on unsubstantiated and more punitive (on conviction) charge of illegal possession of firearms and the Federal High Court in her wisdom granted him bail on self recognition. Yet he never sought a court order stopping his arraignment. It gladdened and still gladdens our heart to note this.
Conversely, rather than taking a recourse to morality, due process and rule of law, the duo of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ahmed Bola Tinubu went for rule of individualism and judicial gambling. While elements of persecution may not be ruled out in Senator Saraki’s ordeal, but two wrongs can never make a right. In other words, he ought to have submitted himself before the CCT and cleared himself of the accusations. He can on the process raise his objections including issue of procedural competence before or outside the CCT as case may be. He also has right of appeal even to the Supreme Court if he feels the CCT is biased and compromised. Senator Tinubu’s own refusal to appear before the CCT in Abuja is also condemnable and a total affront to the rule of law and the 1999 Constitution. Court summons globally are strictly rested on the principle of obey before complaining.
The political implication or consequence of the foregoing is its possibility of plunging Nigeria into anarchy and lawlessness. Also the manner in which the contempt order or bench warrant of arrest was applied and obtained by the Federal Ministry of Justice against the Senate President is presidentially reckless and witch-hunting. It has also vindicated our earlier position that absence of the Federal Executive Council including the Attorney General of the Federation literally meant that President Muhammadu Buhari has been running an administration without Government since 29th May 2015; slating to approximately 120 days; which is unheard off in the history of democracy in Nigeria.
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
*Photo Caption - Law books & gavel
Obianuju Igboeli (Miss), Esq., Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
[ Masterweb Reports: Dr. Peregrino Brimah reports ] - Boko Haram related terror deaths are on a downward plunge. The United States coordinated terror-death tracker, the Nigeria Security Tracker (NST) has been recording terror-related deaths since the inception of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the PDP party in Nigeria came into office as president in May of 2010. His reign which lasted till May of 2015 was marked with 40,000 terror related newspaper reported deaths, mostly from Boko Haram terror and military counter terror actions and also from increased sectarian terror events.
Nigeria Security Tracker (NST), a project of the Council on Foreign Relations' Africa program is the only public viewable project that monitors deaths reported in Nigerian dailies.
It is important to note that the deaths are grossly under reported even in the NST, this is because the NST only counts deaths reported in Nigerian dailies which are very incomplete and through the reign of Boko Haram terror were unable to penetrate thousands of acres of Nigerian territory under command of Boko Haram. Estimates put the true figure of Boko Haram terror deaths at hundreds of thousands to over a million. Several mass graves have been discovered in recaptured territories. Boko Haram was on a well financed mission to claim the resource-rich land of the northeast without its people.
The Jonathan government was largely accused of shielding Boko Haram sponsors who he said he knew but refused to publicize. He is also recognized of supervising the plundering of over 20 billion dollars budgeted to equip the Nigerian army to secure Nigeria. The former administration also came under angry condemnation for wrecking the Nigerian army and supervising the systematic transfer of Nigerian military weapons, vehicles, armored carriers and funds to Boko Haram. Several failed and sham cease-fire deals saw the deliberate payment of millions of dollars directly to Boko Haram terrorists; military gear and state funds that were used to build rag-tag terrorists into the most deadly terrorist group in the world today according to global records.
Boko Haram has in addition to the over 40,000 deaths, in its pogrom targeting farmers in the nation's resource-rich northeast, managed the displacement of over 3 million Nigerians, the second highest displacement in the world today with 1.4 million children reported displaced according to latest records.
New strategies including first and most importantly coordinating with Nigeria's oft suspected neighbors and addressing their grievances to force them to stop allowing their States to be safe havens and retreat cum maneuver escape zones for terrorists under pressure, as well as the seeking of global cooperation and properly repositioning the army by the new Buhari/Osinbajo government has brought radical change to the fate of the Nigerian war against terror. With the relocation of the military headquarters to the affected northeast and new morale build up in the army with an army chief who actively participates in military actions, Nigeria has decidedly blocked Boko Haram supply routes, captured major terror suppliers and facilitators and forced the terrorists into a position of disorganization, hunger, immobility via lack of fuel supplies and lack of weaponry, leading to massive surrender and foreseeable defeat of the seemingly intractable terror agency.
Trade routes are being re-established, schools are reopening and life is slowly returning to the years-ravaged northeast.
What is largely left in the successful war, that Nigerians ask for, is for the Buhari government to unveil the sponsors of Boko Haram and bring them to book. Nigerians are confident that as fast as democratic systems permit, the new energized Department of State Security, DSS and larger National security department will soon finally let the world know who has been behind Boko Haram and why.
After six hopeless years, there seems to finally be hope for a nation desperate for peace, security and the semblance of order.
Dr. Peregrino Brimah ( Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ) reports.
*Photo Caption - An AK-47 Rifle. *One of the tools of evil in the world.
[ Masterweb Reports ] – Chief Charles O. Okereke, CEO/Publisher - Nigeria Masterweb and Africa Masterweb, composer - God Bless Africa, African Union Award Winning Anthem and recipient of several international awards including American Association of University Women (AAUW) Leadership Award, was last Saturday bestowed with Universal Peace Federation (UPF) "Ambassador for Peace" Award by its Nigerian chapter. The award which was also accorded to other accomplished dignitaries was in recognition of recipients' past and on-going efforts in humanism and ........Read More
*Photo Caption - Ms. Akudo Iheadigwu and Mazi Tobias Iwuagwu receiving Chief Okereke's Ambassador for Peace certificate and medal.
[ Masterweb Reports ] - Chief Charles O. Okereke, CEO/Publisher - Nigeria Masterweb and Africa Masterweb, and other dignitaries were today accorded Universal Peace Federation (UPF) "Ambassador for Peace" Award by its Nigerian chapter. The award is in recognition of their past and on-going efforts as well as a new global commissioning to work toward the realization of a peaceful world for all. The international award was presented to nominees at Apo Apartments Hotel, Apo, Abuja as part of the special program of activities to mark the 10th anniversary of UPF.
An NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, UPF supports the work of the United Nations, particularly in the areas of interfaith peace-building, peace education, and the strengthening of marriage and family. UPF is the largest and most diverse network of peace leaders commissioned from dignitaries from all walks of life representing different races, religion, nationalities and cultures. It is dedicated to achieving world peace.
UPF advocates renewal of the United Nations, including a proposal that the UN creates an interreligious council within its structures. UPF implements its programs through her global network of Ambassadors for Peace.
*Photo Caption - Chief Charles O. Okereke
[ Masterweb Reports: Rev Obinna Akukwe reports ] - The Position of SGF has finally been ceded to the North East by President Muhammadu Buhari, after months of gang-up by Igbo politicians within PDP and APC against each other.
Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC), in a warning to Igbo leaders and the public, released through a well publicized press statement, gave hints that Buhari will cede the position to another zone if our house is not put in order. The principal blackmail target was Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, followed by Dr Chris Ngige
The leaderships of Igbo Mandate Congress even had audience with some of those mentioned in the said press release and warned of the intelligence reports that another zone might pick up the coveted position if the current blackmail continues. Now it has happened as forewarned, Engr David Lawal from Adamawa, North East Nigeria has been appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Those Igbo leaders in PDP and APC who sold each other before President Buhari should better keep their dirty mouth shut at this time before IMC exposes how their selfishness caused the Igbo the position of SGF.
Had President Buhari intimated a week before the appointment that Mr Kachikwu of Igbo extraction will be the GMD of NNPC, these political riff rats would have given 20 reasons why he is not as fit as their preferred choice for the top post, leading to the later being blacklisted.
For record purposes, Igbo Mandate Congress do hereby represent a copy of its press release of June 16th over the controversial issue of SGF.
SGF: Buhari and the PDP Gang-up Against Ogbonnaya Onu-IMC Raises Alarm
It is with deep sense of regret that the leadership of Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC) received reports of massive gang-up against Chief Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, President Buhari’s preferred choice for the position of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) by some elements within APC and opposition PDP.
Igbo Mandate Congress have followed the relationship between President Muhammadu Buhari and the leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the South East notable among whom is Chief Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Senator Chris Ngige and Chief Rochas Okorocha, and we have it on good records that the incumbent President has respect for the trio.
The level of mudslinging, blackmail and campaign of calumny and gang-up against Chief Ogbonnaya Onu of recent has attracted the attention of IMC. Information reaching us has outlined those campaigning against Ogbonnaya Onu’s candidacy for the post of SGF as including;
1. Chief Rochas Okorocha, Governor of Imo State who prefers his in-law, and former Imo State SSG, Prof Anthony Anwuka for the position
2. Chief Dave Umahi, Governor of Ebonyi State who believes that an Ogbonnaya Onu as SGF from Ebonyi State will dwindle the political fortunes of the PDP in the next dispensation
3. Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, Nigeria’s immediate past SGF who was not able to make even his principal, Goodluck Jonathan execute any tangible project in the South East for the four years he was in office, the 2nd Niger Bridge and Enugu International Airport being ‘419’ on the Igbo Nation. This man believes that Onu’s influence will whittle down his own influence in the State
4. Chief Ike Ekweremadu, Deputy Senate President, who is being pressurized to join the blackmail Ogbonnaya Onu campaign, so as to maintain the supremacy of the PDP in the Enugu-Ebonyi State axis
5. Chief Rotimi Amaechi, who is cashing in on the division within the South East, to position himself for the plum appointment.
Igbo Mandate Congress wishes to note that these men have contributed in one way or the other to move Nigeria forward.
1. Chief Rochas Okorocha had the foresight to drag a faction of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) into the Buhari-Tinubu alliance
2. Chief Dave Umahi, despite all odds, have proved from the Ebonyi State example, that a victimized Deputy Governor can defeat the candidate of a sitting governor, and emerge as a State Chief Executive-a feat not lost on lovers of democracy
3. Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, who through the act of God, benefitted from our protests after the 2011 elections, that Igbo be made Senate President which ex-President Jonathan compensated with an SGF slot
4. Chief Ike Ekweremadu, who through another act of God, secured a slot for the Igbo race in the 5th National Assembly, despite being in the opposition PDP
5. Chief Rotimi Amaechi, who refused Presidential impunity in Rivers State and set stage for a Southern platform of ‘Change’.
Igbo Mandate Congress believes that Chief Ogbonnaya Onu, a former National Chairman of All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and a consistent member of the opposition since 1999 is ably qualified for the position. This Ebonyi State born former governor was part of those who helped form a coalition that led to the formation of the APC. He also helped some Igbos in the north to remain and cast votes for the opposition.
Igbo Mandate Congress believes that anybody can pursue his political ambition of being the SGF, and believes that Senator Chris Ngige and Prof Anthony Anwuka and indeed others are not inferior choices but ganging up against a particular person and putting undue pressures on the person of President Muhammadu Buhari to jettison his preferred choice, using instruments of blackmail, is not in the best interest of the Igbo race.
Igbo Mandate Congress is known worldwide as a stakeholder in the ‘Change’ being celebrated in Nigeria today, and participated in ensuring that Igbos in the North rejected some directives form Ohanaeze and compromised Igbo Leaders to vote for the expired “Transformational Agenda” in concert with Ohanaeze Ndigbo in the 19 Northern States and as such has the moral right to call erring leaders to order.
Igbos in the APC should pursue their ambitions without pulling down others. They should promote their preferred candidate without rubbishing the efforts of others. Let this mudslinging politics stop for once.
We have reliable information that President Buhari is wearied of all these recurring Igbo antics and may cede the position to another zone if the pressure becomes overbearing.
That was the nonsense that made Igbo produces five Senate Presidents in eight years while another zone (North Central) produced one senate President in eight years. Those misguided Igbo leaders must carefully avoid a situation whereby President Muhammadu Buhari wearied by scandalous lobbying cedes the coveted SGF position to another zone.
In the event that President Buhari cedes this position to another zone, and cries of marginalization starts, IMC will reveal all the details of the self-inflicted calamities and hold the players responsible. They must not gang up with the PDP to pull down Chief Ogbonnaya Onu before Buhari to become SGF or anything they wish.
Rev Obinna Akukwe
Director General, Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC)
*Photo Caption - Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Public Security & Civil Liberties, Onitsha Nigeria, 28th August 2015)-The attention of the leadership of International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety) is drawn to a recent public warning issued by the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State Command, Mr. Hosea Karma over the reckless use of sirens and covered plate numbers by private citizens particularly politicians and business moguls of credible and banditry backgrounds. CP Hosea Karma had in the warning statement blamed members of the public as being solely responsible for the abuse and disclosed that he had ordered his officers to commence manhunts for their “defaulters”, and that any defaulter caught will be arrested and prosecuted. He also, by his statement exonerated his officers from any responsibility and culpability. The link below credited to a leading online newspaper ( Nigerian News Express) is the referenced public statement: (http://www.newsexpressngr.com/news/detail.php?news=14467&title=Police-warns-against-use-of-siren,-covering-of-plate-number-%E2%80%A2Begins-clampdown-on-defaulters-in-Anambra).
Having carefully studied the statement, it is our total conviction that CP Hosea Karma’s headship of the State Command is police roadblock friendly. It is also a common knowledge that the sole intent of the police roadblock in Anambra State is extortion and negative security powered by “police return culture” (stratified sharing of roadblock extortion proceeds). It is recalled that Intersociety had in its recent statement on similar issue observed the resurgence of police roadblocks on Anambra roads. Independent observers also told Intersociety recently that over 100 illegal police roadblocks have resurfaced in major parts of the State under the watchful eyes of CP Hosea Karma.
Flimsy excuses such the one being complained and condemned (abuse of sirens and use of covered plate numbers) have periodically been devised by the authorities of the Anambra State Police Command now under CP Hosea Karma to flood Anambra roads with police extortionist roadblocks. Just recently, the State Police Command flooded Anambra roads with its officers in utter disregard to the superior orders of the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase; claiming that “ it is enforcing Governor Willie Obiano’s restriction of public and private motorcycles on a number of roads in Anambra State”. Some officers of the Command were seen in several places that have nothing to do with restricted road areas, arresting and extorting with reckless abandon. The Command also engages in negative security (punishing and maltreating citizens for being law abiding under false criminal accusations).
As condemnable and despicable as the reckless use or abuse of sirens and use of covered plate numbers are, our several investigations have steadily shown that the authorities of the Nigeria Police High Command and the Anambra State Command in particular, are solely behind the abuse of sirens and use of covered plate numbers. For instance in the State, other than siren installed vehicles or buses donated by the Government of Anambra State particularly under Mr. Peter Obi administration to selected public and social service oriented bodies like vigilantes, hospitals, red cross, security oversights civil society groups, etc; others who use covered plate numbers and abuse sirens are all known to the authorities of the Nigeria Police Force including the Anambra State Police Command. None of the former uses covered plate numbers or abuses sirens.
The latter are fully backed by the Nigeria Police Force particularly officers of the State Command. They steadily constitute public nuisance on the roads by operating like criminal gangs escaping policing manhunts. For instance, banks bullion vans squads are escorted by the Police using their siren blaring hilux trucks. Their menace on the roads is shocking and alarming. Most of them operate with covered plate numbers. Again, business moguls and politicians in long convoy are also escorted by armed police personnel using publicly procured siren blaring security trucks; blaring sirens and engaging in driving styles and speeding with reckless abandon.
In the past three Christmas seasons of 2012, 2013 and 2014, investigations carried out by Intersociety revealed that 80% or more of business moguls and prominent politicians that include white collar bandits residing abroad, who returned for Christmas holidays; were escorted by officers of the Nigeria Police Force including those of the Anambra State Police Command, using publicly procured siren blaring security trucks. Some of them went as far as hiring military personnel for security, intimidation and show off. We consider these as a height of commercialization and abuse of public security by the authorities of the NPF including Anambra State Police Command. It saddens and surprises us that the same Police Command of Anambra operational base could turn around and point accusing fingers at innocent civil citizens, with intent to harass, intimidate and extort.
Similar to these is the introduction of commercialization of the so called “tinted vehicle glasses” by the same Nigeria Police Force (NPF) particularly the Anambra State Command. The NPF has till date, maintained a culture of commercialization of public security through all sorts of infantile security excuses including authorization to use tinted glasses and sirens, possession of fake driver’s license and vehicle papers, roadblocks, nipping points, suspicion of criminal wrongdoing, etc. In the case of use of tinted glasses, any sun shielding windscreen is categorized as “tinted glass”. Sadly and shocking too, politicians and business mogul of credible and banditry backgrounds are exempted because of their proneness to brown envelopes and bribery. Each ordinary private vehicle owner with factory fitted sun shielding windscreen is coerced into spending between N30, 000 and N45, 000 as case may be, in the hands of the NPF, in obtaining the so called approval for tinted glass.
Other than the foregoing, the Anambra State Police Command under CP Hosea Karma has also bounced back with utter alacrity in all sorts of extortionist activities powered by illicit police roadblocks across the State particularly in Onitsha and Nnewi commercial cities. At Upper Iweka/Aba Park area, corrupt officers of the Okpoko Police Station operating mostly in mufti are in charge. Generally across the State, open extortion of commercial motorists, tri-cyclists and motorcyclists are still going on though in a reduced speed following reduction in police roadblocks and changes in extortion patterns, which have now been shifted and heavily placed on private motorists; in the form of checks of drivers’ licenses and vehicle papers. General or official checks on vehicle particulars done announced and periodically have been replaced with random, unannounced and frivolous checks; all with intent to intimidate and extort innocent members of the public.
Finally, we wish to warn for the very last time the Anambra State Police Command under CP Hosea Karma to put its house in order and purge itself of all sorts of extortionist and corruptive activities particularly on the State roads. In the world over and in modern science of crime, crimes are not fought by mounting reckless and indiscriminate roadblocks. This is because police roadblocks are confirmed triggers of crime and corruption, which in turn, lead to unlawful homicidal conducts including torture and extra judicial killings.
The State Police Command must obey the firm directive of its Inspector General of Police by dismantling with immediate effect all roadblocks on Anambra roads other than those belonging to the Federal Highway Police and special ones created and designated with spots by the Government of Anambra State for its control of violent crimes. Since the Buhari administration says it is fighting corruption, we have expected the anti corruption posture to first show in the faces and conduct of the Nigeria Police Force particularly the Anambra State Command under CP Hosea Karma.
As for the CP’s order to his officers to flood Anambra roads with roadblocks so as “to catch the defaulters of reckless use of sirens and covered plate numbers”, we demand the immediate reversal of the directive owing to its unpopularity and derogation from the IGP’s guided police road presence policy. Importantly, the CP Hosea Karma-led Anambra State Police Command should beam its searchlight inward or towards its own confines as the aider and condoner of reckless use of sirens and covered plate numbers. Members of the public in Anambra State must not be subjected to undue police roadblock harassment, intimidation and extortion and punished for misconducts that are unknown them, but known to the State Police Command in all intents and purposes.
This stern warning of ours has monumental administrative, legal and image consequences if ignored by the warned. Our capacity and competence to shake the foundation of the Anambra State Police Command locally, nationally and internationally if these clarion calls go unheeded, have no iota of doubt. The panned actions of ours and other grounded rights based civil society organizations in the State and beyond will include compilation of number of unapproved police roadblocks mounted across the State roads, capturing in secret cameras of their extortion scenes and acts, exposition and internationalization of corrupt practices of the Command, joint press conferences for the removal and administrative quarantining of senior commanders of the State Command including CP Hosea Karma, official petitions or written representations against the leadership of the Command to the appropriate quarters, and public interest litigations aimed at exposing and curbing the corruptive and homicidal conducts of the Command.
As a leading public security oversight civil society organization in Anambra State, recognized and encouraged by the Government of Anambra State and beyond its borders, Intersociety will no longer allow the State Police Command to have a field day as it concerns all manners of policing misconducts including the issue under reference, which amounts to “arresting and punishing John over the drunkenness of Peter”.
Note: The attached pictures are those of officers of the Anambra State Police Command caught by Intersociety extorting N50.00 notes from commercial motorists on Onitsha-Enugu and Onitsha-Owerri Dual Carriage Ways in November 2011.
Emeka Umeagbalasi (B.Sc., Criminology & Security Studies)
Board Chairman, International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., LLB, BL, Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
Chiugo Onwuatuegwu, Esq., LLB, BL, Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program
Obianuju Igboeli, Esq., LLB, BL, Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program
*Photo Caption - Police officer extorting N50.00 from a motorist, November 30, 2011
[ Masterweb Reports ] – As the President prepares to announce his Ministers, competent information gathered that some Igbo technocrats who may make the list include Prof Pat Utomi, Dr Oby Ezekwesili and Engr Okey Nwagbara. Others are Prof May Nwoye, Chief Charles Okereke of Nigeria Masterweb, Chief Ikechi Emelike, a media mogul and former guber candidate in Abia state, Chief Okey Emuchay, a former Nigerian envoy to South Africa, Hon Chuks Ibegbu, a well-known author and ........Read More
*Photo Caption - As seen
[ Masterweb Reports: Intersociety reports ] - (Onitsha Nigeria, 18th August 2015)- Crimes globally are divided into two major categories of “mala inse” (crimes with global application such as murder, armed robbery and rape) and “mala prohibita” (crimes defined differently by different countries such as adultery and some categories of white-collar crimes). “Corruption” as a crime appears to fall under “mala inse” because of its global reprehension leading to the adoption of the United Natios’ Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) by the member-States of the United Nations including Nigeria in 2003. The UN Anti Corruption Convention entered into force on 14th December 2005 with 176 signatories and 140 full State-Parties. Nigeria signed it on 3rd December 2003 and ratified it on 14th December 2004.
“Corruption”, globally is a complex social, political and economic phenomenon that evades a universally accepted definition. It involves misconducts in public and private sectors for the purpose of obtaining material and non material illicit gains or favors. To be punishable, it must pass through the process of criminalization by a written and known criminal law. Corruption, on its own, cannot constitute crime or an offense, except aided by its agents such as bribery, fraud, kickbacks, extortion and embezzlement. The general invisible crimes are called “white-collar crimes”, which corruption is an integral part of. “Invisible crimes” are so called because of difficulties in detecting them. They are very common in “white-collar” society or civil service or pen-culture society, dominated by government and corporate entities. The opposite of “white-collar crimes” are “blue-collar crimes” or “street crimes” (stealing, robbery, auto theft, burglary, youth crimes, etc), usually common in “blue-collar society” or commercial areas. To Prof Edwin Sutherland (1949) of the Chicago Criminological School, “white-collar crime” is a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his or her occupation. It arises from fraud, embezzlement, (computer crime), bribery, insider trading, kick-backs, contract inflation, over-invoicing, identity theft, forgery, etc. The concept of white-collar crimes was popularized by Prof Sutherland in 1949.
Recognizing hefty challenges and difficulties associated with detection and punishment of crime of corruption, the United Nations strongly recommended “Prevention” as the most effective approach at curbing it. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) strongly recommended as follow: Corruption can be prosecuted after the fact, but first and foremost, it requires prevention. An entire chapter of the Convention is dedicated to prevention, with measures directed at both the public and private sectors. These include model preventive policies, such as the establishment of anticorruption bodies and enhanced transparency in the financing of election campaigns and political parties. States must endeavour to ensure that their public services are subject to safeguards that promote efficiency, transparency and recruitment based on merit. Once recruited, public servants should be subject to codes of conduct, requirements for financial and other disclosures, and appropriate disciplinary measures. Transparency and accountability in matters of public finance must also be promoted, and specific requirements are established for the prevention of corruption, in the particularly critical areas of the public sector, such as the judiciary and public procurement. Those who use public services must expect a high standard of conduct from their public servants. Preventing public corruption also requires an effort from all members of society at large. For these reasons, the Convention calls on countries to promote actively the involvement of non-governmental and community-based organizations, as well as other elements of civil society, and to raise public awareness of corruption and what can be done about it. Article 5 of the Convention enjoins each State Party to establish and promote effective practices aimed at the prevention of corruption. The UNCAC also recommended domestic criminalization of agents of corruption, international cooperation, technical cooperation and information exchange among Member-States.
We had in the first part of this all-important public statement condemned the corruption and bastardization of anti corruption policies by successive governments in Nigeria. To prevent and fight corruption, hands and characters of the country’s political office holders must be remotely and immediately clean and upright. Unfortunately, the present government in Nigeria has in its political camp dominated by “captains of corruption” and it is immorally capable to rid the country of the scourge of corruption. The general aim of our publication is to open the eyes of Nigerians and expose attempts by the present government to take them for granted using anti corruption mantra. The statement is also aimed at opening the eyes of ordinary Nigerians and their political leaders alike to the effect that “corruption” has several dimensions and agents or triggers.
Dimensions Of Corruption: Corruption is simply defined as the abuse of bestowed power or position for the purpose of acquiring personal gain or benefit. Corruption includes many agents such as bribery, embezzlement, manipulation of electoral process and abuse of office. Government or Political Corruption: This occurs when a public office holder or other government employees act reprehensively in an official capacity for personal or material gain. It is also official misuse of powers or public resources for personal gain.
Political Corruption is divided into electoral corruption, legal or legislated corruption, grand political corruption and petty political corruption. Legislated or legal corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gains such as outrageous allotment of public funds for overheads and allowances for the maintenance and sustenance of public offices and officials. Manipulation of permanent voters’ cards and use of millions of child or under-age voters during elections are all components of political corruption; likewise non public declaration of assets and non composition of the federal executive council or federal cabinet.
Agents Of Corruption: Fraud: An intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual. It can be criminal (criminal fraud) or anti social conduct. Types of Criminal Fraud: bait and switch, bankruptcy fraud, benefit fraud (committing fraud to gain government benefits), charlatanism ( psychic and occult), selling of counterfeit goods, confidence tricks, creation of false companies, embezzlement, false advertising, billing and insurance claims, forgery of documents and signatures, health fraud, identity theft, investment fraud, religious fraud, marriage fraud (obtaining immigration rights without entitlement), rigged gambling games such as the shell game, securities fraud such as pump and dump, etc.
Money Laundering: Process of recycling large amount of money obtained from crimes such as political corruption or embezzlement or drug trafficking in such a way as to make it seem as though it was derived from legitimate source. It is a key operation of underground economy. Money Laundering can be committed by public officials and non public officials as well. Terrorist Financing is a fundamental feature of Money Laundering.
Bribery: A payment given personally to a public officer or official in exchange of his or her use of official power. Bribery requires two participants (active and passive bribery): one to give the bribe and one to take it. Civil Extortion: A process whereby someone feels indebted against his or her will to another in order to receive an essential service or avoid legal consequences arising from a conduct unknown to law. Criminal Extortion (also called shakedown, outwrestling, and exaction) is a criminal offense of obtaining money, property, or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion.
Embezzlement: Outright theft of entrusted funds by corporate and government officials. Forgery: Process of making, adapting or imitating objects, statistics or documents with intent to deceive. Kickback: It is an official’s share of misappropriated funds allocated from his or her organization to another organization involved in corrupt bidding.
Others are: Tax Evasion: Efforts by individuals, firms, trusts and other entities to evade payment of tax by illegal means. Tax Avoidance: Illegal utilization of the tax regime to one’s own advantage to reduce the amount of tax that is payable by means that are within the law. Confidence Trickery: This is also called different names such as “419” or “advance fee fraud”. It is an attempt to or defrauding of a person or group by gaining their confidence through exploitation of human characteristics such as dishonesty and greed. The victim is known as the mark while the trickster is called confidence man or conman or con artist or confidence trickster.
False Pretense: This is any representation made by words, writing, or conduct, of a matter of fact, either past or present, which representation is false in fact, and which the person making it knows to be or does not believe to be true. Patronage: Undue favors given to supporters of government officials. Nepotism/Cronyism: Illegitimate act of favoring relatives and personal friends of government officials.
Approaching Anti Corruption With Dirty Hands & Institutional Bottlenecks:
From the foregoing analysis, which originated from the first part of this publication of ours (Intersociety), the Government of President Muhammadu Buhari may go the same way its predecessors did in the so called “fight against corruption”. It is not that corruption is uncontrollable in Nigeria, but those controlling it are “meta-corrupt” and grossly incompetent to nip it in the bud. Again, corruption in the country goes scientific day in day out. For instance, Nigeria’s corruption has now given birth to twin (lawful and unlawful corruption). Lawful corruption is also called “codified corruption”, such as billions of naira worth of cash and properties siphoned or acquired through legislated means under the guise of “allowances”, “overheads” and “monetization policy”. Unlawful corruption is illegal cornering of public resources and properties by public office holders and their cronies. At the center of these two monsters is “morality corruption” or lack of decency and character impeccability among most of Nigeria’s public office holders including many, if not most members of the present administration.
For instance, apart from the blatant refusal of the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yomi Osibanjo to make their assets declarations public as equity seekers with clean hands, circumstantial perceptions in most social quarters indicate that most of those peopling the federally ruling APC are all living in criminal opulence and far above their legitimate incomes. They include those who governed Lagos and Rivers States at one time or the other.
Some of them were private legal practitioners before their appointments or elections into public offices. Others worked in some oil, gas and non oil and gas multi-national companies. Today, they are richer than companies that they worked for. How did they acquire the circumstantially evidenced multi-billion naira properties scattered at every nook and cranny in Nigeria and beyond the shores of the country? Yet, there are continual deafened noises about fighting corruption. It is a settled maxim in the world of science that “something can never be generated from nothing”. Which is why we held that “those claiming to be fighting corruption in Nigeria must first approach equity with clean hands or stop confusing and misleading Nigerians and members of the international community”.
Understanding The Real Anti Corruption:
There are serious challenges associated with the country’s social public institutions including criminal justice institutions and policies. For instance, what is the rationale behind sentencing a house breaker and stealer of a television to seven years imprisonment or more, whereas an embezzler of public funds amounting to N5billion or more is sentenced to two years imprisonment with sentencing luxuries? Why should Nigeria’s criminal codes still treating white-collar crimes including corruption as misdemeanor offenses, which on conviction, carry maximum of three years imprisonment with or without plea bargaining?
We challenge President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President, Yomi Osibanjo to show Nigerians and members of the international community “how clean they are warranting their quest for equity, probity and accountability” by parroting “fight against corruption”. They are called upon to not only make their assets declarations public, on moral grounds, but also to send a bill to the National Assembly for the amendment of the Code of Conduct Establishment Act of the Federation 2004 to provide for public declaration of assets by all public office holders in Nigeria. All manifestations of “political corruption” and “morality corruption” rearing their ugly heads in the present administration including abuse of office and constitutional infractions must be discontinued.
The ICPC Act and the EFCC Act as well as related anti graft enactments in the country should as well be thoroughly overhauled legislatively. Acts of the National Assembly and Laws of the States providing for outrageous life remuneration packages including luxury houses in luxury places for serving and former public office holders should be repealed. Outrageous allowances and overheads for public office holders including “security votes” should drastically be reviewed and cut down by 60%.
All past and serving APC, PDP, APGA and Labor Party public office holders including presidential, gubernatorial, ministerial, commissionership occupants, and heads of boards and other government top bodies etc should be put under intelligence surveillance with respect to their moveable and immoveable properties and comparisons drawn using their previous and present assets declaration forms. Those found wanting should be prosecuted in fair trials and their illicit properties recovered.
For us at Intersociety, these, if dispassionately done, will mark the real beginning of genuine fight against corruption in Nigeria.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Emeka Umeagbalasi, B.Sc. (Hons) Criminology & Security Studies
Board Chairman (+2348174090052 (office)
Uzochukwu Oguejiofor-Nwonu, Esq., (LLB, BL), Head, Campaign & Publicity Department
*Photo Caption - Seal of The President of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.