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US right about Nigeria’s worsening corruption – Opposition parties

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By John Alechenu and Fidelis Soriwei, Abuja


The  Action Congress of Nigeria and  the Congress for Progressive Change  said on Sunday that the United States was right in its reports  that corruption had worsened under the Goodluck Jonathan  administration.

They said in separate reactions by their national publicity secretaries, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Rotimi Fashakin respectively that the indictment did not come to them as a surprise to them.

But to the  Peoples Democratic Party, the two main opposition  parties have no reason to trumpet  the indictment since, according to it, it was an insult on Nigeria and its citizens.

The US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, released on Friday evening, said Nigerian government officials and agencies frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. The judiciary and security agencies, especially the police, were said be lacking in transparency.

 The ACN,  in a statement by Mohammed backed the report and described the PDP and the Federal  Government  as a cesspool of corruption.

The statement   reads, ‘’What Nigerians have always believed has been confirmed from other lands.

According to media reports today (Sunday, April 21 ),   new reports submitted to the US Congress by Secretary of State John Kerry has confirmed mass corruption at all levels of the Nigerian government.

 ‘’Coming at a time that the PDP and Federal Government have been engaging in chest-beating over the fight against corruption, this is a body blow to this unserious and directionless party and the government it controls at the centre.

‘’They hinge their claim of fighting corruption on the establishment of the EFCC(Economic and Financial Crimes Commission  and the ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission). What they have not told Nigerians is that these two bodies have been stifled by the same PDP and the Federal Government to such an extent that no other party or government in the history of our nation has been more immersed in corruption.

‘’The unprecedented and monumental fuel subsidy fraud happened under the PDP and its central government. The mind-boggling pension fraud; the $6m Wilbros scandal and the recurring electoral fraud that is the mother of all corruption, just to mention a few, all happened under this government.

‘’We are therefore not surprised at the scathing portrayal of Nigeria by the US reports, which we will revisit in the days ahead. For now, let the PDP and the Federal Government cover their faces in shame ‘’

Mohammed had earlier in interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday, accused  the Jonathan  administration  of  paying lip service to anti-graft war. He  recalled  the Malabo oil scam in which he said that  top   government officials were fingered.

The ACN spokesman  added, “Now, the impunity and  manner  with which ministers and other government officials  are today acquiring property and the conspicuous display of wealth points to only one thing: that this government is swimming in corruption.

“If the US Congress now indicts our judiciary, that is a very serious matter. I am sure by tomorrow (Monday) morning,  government’s spokesperson and their magicians will come and tell us things as if we don’t live in this country and   know that  corruption is walking the streets and in the corridors of power.”

    Also, CPC’s   Fashakin stated that   what the US government  said  was something  his party  had shouted about for a very long time.

He said, “We had alerted the entire world and sensitised our people, for almost two years and we have told people look, there had been no corruption as what we currently have under the Jonathan administration.

 “You will recall that in 2010, we had a budgetary provision for fuel subsidy for N240bn that is N20bn monthly but as at the last count without any legislative approval, the government of  Jonathan spent almost N3tn. Where did the excess come from? Who approved it?

“This, to us was a clear impeachable offence because all expenditures within the Nigerian polity must be  appropriated by the National Assembly. If the National Assembly too did not impeach the President for this  malfeasance, I think the National Assembly too should be held responsible for complicity in this crime.

“Let it be said clearly, like we have always said that the Jonathan administration has been the most corrupt in Nigeria’s history and there is empirical evidence to  prove that. If the US is coming out with that fact and they know it for a fact, they should do something to assist Nigeria.

But the PDP, through  Metuh, said that the ACN should not  be pointing accusing fingers at people since  its (ACN) leaders were among the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria.

It  said, “Why is the ACN gallivanting? That only the PDP is corrupt and the opposition saints? What sense is there in this naked dance in the centre of the market square.

“Corruption predates the 14 years of the PDP but our party has taken bold steps to tackle it. Whether, the ACN agrees or not, the establishment of the EFCC, ICPC and the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act are some of the firm measures in  the  fight against corruption.”

 “The world  knows of corrupt cases in Nigeria because the PDP   has chosen not to condone  it  like the opposition. We have shown enough courage in the crusade that even some of our members found wanting had to face the  law.

“Winning the  corruption war  is therefore a matter for all Nigerians . A deeper insight reveals no doubt that all corrupt persons in the civil and public services are not members of the PDP, neither are all Nigerians in their private businesses members of  the PDP.

  “See who is pointing an accusing finger with all the sleaze going on in the states under the ACN;  with the commonwealth of entire six states privatised to please the emperor at Bourdillon .”

Metuh had earlier wondered why the  ACN and CPC were pointing accusing fingers at the PDP over the indictment.

He  had asked, “Did the statement mention the PDP? What are they celebrating? It does not say anything about the PDP.”

Metuh,who admitted that  graft was everywhere in Nigeria, blamed it on the military.

He said, “Corruption is in  every sector of the economy. It involves the mechanic, the driver, the journalist, the civil servant, their states and local government areas, indeed all the sectors.

“Our values dropped under the military; that is why we have been insisting on reorientation. The PDP brought the issue of corruption to the fore; and we have been fighting it frontally. This does not call for a celebration by myopic individuals when your country is insulted.”


Article Credit: Punch Newspaper

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