Indeed, it is no longer business as usual for the looters of
our commonwealth. But for divine intervention to bring in
President Buhari, corruption would have killed Nigeria. Mr
President deserves the support of all Nigerians as he is
working to kill corruption before corruption kills Nigeria.
Corruption has been defined as a deliberate act to abuse
trust and laid down procedure to gain undue advantage over
the right of others. There are both official and unofficial
forms of corruption. While the former involves public office
holders who use pen and paper to enrich themselves through
deliberate abuse of trust and direct stealing of public
funds entrusted in their care, the latter happens outside
government and can occur at motor parks when the driver
overcharges his passengers or loads 4 passengers instead of
3 so as to make more money. Unofficial corruption also
includes any form of lying and sundry manipulation of the
The most serious form of corruption is the official aspect
of corruption involving public office holders using their
offices to steal ridiculous amount of money which they don’t
even need in the first place. Our country is very rich but
majority of the people are suffering and cannot afford even
a single meal per day for themselves and their children
because a select few in government have cornered everything
for themselves and their families.
It is disheartening that distinguished senator Dino Melaye
is calling for the pardon of convicted looters when he
should be making laws to prosecute these looters and send
them to jail where they rightly belong. Senator Melaye’s
defence of corruption and looters is the latest signal yet
that corruption is fighting back.
The call for pardon of looters by Senator Dino Melaye is
repugnant and calculated to embolden the looters including
giving them false hope that one can embezzle public funds
meant to equip our hospitals and still be celebrated and
decorated with a state pardon. The call lends credence to
the widely held belief that there are ‘corruption moles’ in
government paid for and implanted by looters of Nigeria’s
commonwealth to work against President Buhari in his fight
It is reassuring that President Buhari has remained
focussed, steadfast and unwavering to rid Nigeria of
corruption. Those calling for the pardon of looters should
hold their breath because President Buhari is NOT a
sympathiser of thieves and looters. Yes President Buhari
wants to recover looted funds but that doesn’t in anyway
stops appropriate and deserving punishment under Nigeria’s
laws to be meted out to looters of our commonwealth.
Muhammadu Buhari of 1983 is still the same one of 2016 as
far as his stand against corruption is concerned. Remember
that Mr President started his war against corruption in 1983
as a military head of state (During his war against
indiscipline WAI). Mr President is not ready to jettison
what he started 33 years ago.
When you fix corruption, you automatically fixed 95%
of Nigeria’s problems.
The adage goes that corruption resurrects like a snake which
was only wounded at the tail- It keeps coming back to life.
The only way you can keep corruption out of circulation is
NOT to pardon looters but to take them to court of competent
jurisdiction, prosecute them and if found guilty send them
to jail and BAN them from holding any public office in the
Corruption will always come back if not properly handled and
dusted. In the light of the huge successes recorded in the
fight against corruption, it is necessary to widen the net
in the current anti-corruption fight by enacting a law that
will stipulate a LIFE BAN on any public office holder
convicted of embezzling a particular amount of public funds.
No public officer convicted of using his/her office to
looting so much money should be allowed to hold a public
office FOREVER because it will tantamount to making the same
mistakes again. It is fair to say that no public officer
used to corruption will ever stop because it has become
their way of life. Corruption is easy money, a virus and an
obsession which flows through the veins and once started,
will be very hard to jettison. The right thing to do is to
BAN any convicted looter at a certain amount from holding
public office for the rest of his/her life.
The call also reverberates on the need to set up SPECIAL
ANTI-CORRUPTION COURTS to try the alleged looters through
the enactment of relevant laws to be inserted in the
constitution. To a large extent, it is fair to say that the
criminal justice system has been compromised as evident by
allegation of bribery and corruption amongst the new breed
judges. Last week, the National judicial council (NJC)
recommended the dismissal of 2 senior judges and compulsory
retirement of 1 for alleged corruption. This shows the level
of decay and corruption currently going on in Nigeria’s
The Hon minister of Justice and attorney general of the
federation stated in January 2016 that the PMB
administration will jail corrupt judges and seize stolen
assets. Judges are also very slow in prosecution of
corruption cases which is a very worrisome development in
the fight against corruption. Are we having a conspiracy
between the judges and the alleged looters? Why do
corruption cases take eternity to prosecute?
Currently we have SPECIAL ELECTION TRIBUNALS to ensure quick
dispensation of justice in election cases and petitions. In
the same vein, we should have SPECIAL ANTI CORRUPTION COURTS
to try corruption cases and ensure proper and quick
dispensation of justice.
There is also the need to enact relevant laws to stipulate
appropriate jail terms for various levels of embezzlement.
Any corrupt public office holder convicted of corruptly
enriching him/herself up to a particular amount should be
banned from holding public office and sent to jail for jail
terms appropriate to their levels of embezzlement.
In this regard, the following jail terms are recommended:
Public office holders convicted of embezzling any amount
between N1 million – N100 million should qualify for a 20
year jail term,
Between N100 million – N200 million should serve 50 years in
N200 million – N500 million should go for a 70 years jail
N500 million – N1 billion should go for 100 year jail term
Any amount above N1 billion should go for life imprisonment
because any public office holder who stole over a billion
Naira is a threat to humanity and NOT fit to live in the
midst of human beings any more.
These jail terms
should be periodically reviewed in line with inflation.
Another critical aspect of the fight against corruption is
the need to remove the immunity clause which shields some
public office holders from prosecution. By the way, there is
a concurrence of opinion amongst experts that the current
fight against corruption will be very difficult to prosecute
without a new constitution with the required fundamental
changes. Nigeria needs a brand NEW constitution and we need
prosecution conferred on the President, Vice President,
Governors and deputy governors is addressed under section
308 of the constitution. Section 308 (2) states that ‘The
provisions of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply
to civil proceedings against a person to whom this section
applies in his official capacity or to civil or criminal
proceedings in which such a person is only a nominal party.
However, sub (3) of the
same section (308) was clear that the immunity ‘applies to a
person holding the office of President or Vice-President,
Governor or Deputy Governor; and the reference in this
section to "period of office" is a reference to the period
during which the person holding such office is required to
perform the functions of the office.
There are 2 issues to
be considered here: investigation and prosecution. The
constitution was clear on prosecution by the courts but
silent on investigation by anti-corruption agencies such as
the EFCC and/or law enforcement bodies such
as the police.
Clearly section 308 (2)
did not stop the EFCC or the police from investigating state
governors (who by the way have had a larger share of
allegation of corruption than any other group of public
office holders in Nigeria but no current or former governor
has so far been convicted of corruption in Nigeria.
There is also a
systematic and deliberate abuse of section 308 by almost all
public office holders. While the 1999 constitution
guarantees immunity for only the President, the vice
President, Governors and deputy governors, almost all public
office holders from councillors to local government chairmen
to commissioners to members of state houses of assembly to
members of the House of Representatives to senators now
This has created a
worrisome scenario whereby these groups of public office
holders escape justice although they are by no means offered
immunity by the constitution. It has also given public
office holders a blank cheque to steal as much as they
possibly can since they enjoy immunity.
Corruption is a virus that impedes development because the
funds meant to build infrastructure for the common good end
up in the private pockets of corrupt public office holders.
Moreover, corruption spreads poverty, deprivation, disease,
illiteracy and keeps the nation perpetually on edge.
Corruption promotes unfair and disproportionate distribution
of resources, breeds income inequality and widens the gap
between the rich and the poor.
The widening gap between the rich and the poor is the reason
for the current wave of violence in Nigeria from Boko haram
to Niger Delta, from kidnapping to baby factory, from Fulani
herdsmen V farmers to ethno- religious conflicts etc etc.
Income inequality is the greatest single threat to the
peaceful existence of our country Nigeria. The wider the gap
between the haves and have not, the more the violence in our
country and vice versa.
Of course, it is common knowledge that President Buhari will
NEVER condone corruption. Indeed President Buhari didn’t
contest to be President to make money for himself but to
prove the fact that government can be run without abuse of
trust and embezzlement of public funds. Mr President’s
antecedents, posture and body language clearly portray him
as someone who abhors any form of cheating and abuse of
trust. PMB doesn’t condone corruption so everyone has to
follow suit or find themselves swept aside.
It is reported that PMB’s picture dangling in several public
offices in the civil service has saved Nigeria several
billions of Naira because when corrupt public officers in
the comfort of their offices are about putting pen on paper
to embezzle public funds and they raise their heads to catch
a breath, they force an eye contact with Buhari’s picture
and promptly change their minds. They know there is a price
to pay for corruption in Nigeria today.
Mr President has done extremely well in the fight against
corruption- which is one of his campaign promises anyway. Mr
President is now known the world over as the symbol of
anti-corruption. Indeed PMB is the nemesis of corruption in
Nigeria, the father of anti-corruption in Africa and the
leading light in the global war against corruption.
Allah (SWT) has a reason for bringing in President Buhari at
this time to rescue Nigeria from the cankerworm of
corruption which was slowly but surely grinding our dear
country to a halt. PMB has contested for the presidency on 3
occasions but didn’t get to become President until at the 4th
attempt including in 2003 when he was overwhelmingly thought
to have the won the election but denied by the PDP under
former President Obasanjo.
Allah (SWT) in his infinite mercy chose the right moment to
bring this great son of Nigeria –Muhammadu Buhari- who has
served our dear country for about 55 years without a single
accusation of corruption against him. President Buhari is a
rare gem who will build a new Nigeria and a better future
for us and our children.
PMB has served this country meritoriously as head of state,
minister of petroleum, Chair Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF),
Governor North Eastern region (which comprised of the 6
states in the present North East geopolitical zone) He was
managing director and chairman of the NNPC board, General
officer commanding, and has held literally any socalled
‘juicy position’ in Nigeria but up till this moment, nobody
has come up to label even a false accusation of embezzlement
of public funds against President Buhari. This is
Mr President is fighting corruption not only as a policy
during his tenure but as a lasting legacy for generations
yet unborn. PMB wants to clear the Augean stable of
corruption that has served to keep our dear country in
perpetual underdevelopment after which he will pass on the
baton to the new generation of leaders who will dig in and
take his reforms to new heights.
strategy to fight corruption using the double barrel of
the right step in the right direction. Very little will be
in the fight
against corruption if it stops at prosecuting and jailing
looters. However, it must be emphasised that returning
looted funds cannot be a ticket to escape justice.
The good people of Nigeria want all looters to return the
stolen funds and also go to jail even if to serve as a
deterrent to others. Of course everybody is confident that
the funds recovered from looters so far (said to be around
N1.5 trillion) are safe under President Buhari but it is
important that the amount recovered is made public and the
good people of Nigeria informed of what the funds will be
used for. This will stop conspiracy theories from going to
town with their propaganda tools.
The looted funds could be in cash or property but should all
be returned to the federal government for transfer to the
good people of Nigeria who are the bona fide owners of these
funds. In this regard, the property confiscated of which
appropriate court orders have been obtained by the economic
and financial crimes commission (EFCC) should be sold in the
open market and the proceeds from the sale be deposited in
the federation account.
There is the clear danger that the looters are waiting for
President Buhari to leave office after 8 years before they
move in to recover their confiscated property. They should
not be given this privilege.
A case in point is the $15 million found in the ‘ghost
account’ operated by the former first lady Mrs Patience
Jonathan which should be transferred to the federation
account immediately or better still, be used for the
construction of at least one fully equipped mini maternity
hospital for pregnant women in each of the 6 geopolitical
zones in Nigeria.
An appropriate court order has been obtained by the EFCC to
confiscate the funds hence EFCC should move ahead and take
over possession of these funds and transfer same to the
Since Mrs Patience Jonathan cannot justify the source of the
illicit £15 million OR what business she was into which
fetched her $15 million as a salary earning civil servant in
Bayelsa state, these funds are termed as proceeds of crime
and should be given back to the good people of Nigeria.
For a successful long
term and sustainable implementation of the fight against
corruption, there is the need to stop the recycling of
corruption which comes when convicted public office holders
somehow find their way back in government to continue with
corruption from where they stopped. These convicted public
office holders and looters should be banned from holding
public office; their names gazetted and kept in the archives
as reference for future generations that there is a heavy
price to pay for corruption.