The Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL avers that the existence of corruption and how deeply it has eaten into the fabric of society is evidenced in the recent raids carried out by men of the Department of State Security, DSS and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC where humongous sums of money in foreign currencies were discovered in residences of some judges, former ministers and a former Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.
The recent developments/discoveries reinforce the absolute need to fight to corruption and its perpetrators to achieve the socio-political and economic advancement of Nigeria as against the reactionary tendencies that preach ‘inaction’ on the part of government in the face of bare-faced corrupt practices. The incidences also validate the imperative need for proactive anti-corruption agencies like EFCC, ICPC, DSS etc. and civil society organizations like CACOL for the sake of gaining a citizenry that sees the anti-corruption drive as their struggle.
The recent exposures achieved via the good work of the various anti- corruption agencies reveal the depth of wickedness, sadism and height of greediness of the incurably corrupt elements in our elected and appointed public offices. For how we explain sums worth the total of value of some other country’s annual Budget being found in the possession of an individual elected or appointed public officer? And to see that the sums are in foreign currencies and kept in cash is both astounding and scary for it suggests some sort of sociological/mental illness that we may yet need to research into. The discoveries are indeed sickening!
This is just no logic, dialects or justifications that can adduce any sense of sanity in individuals who hoard ‘raw cash’/loots of such large sums where millions of Nigerians wallow in poverty stemming from socio-economic under-development; a consequence of corruption. In CACOL, we believe that as humans, we must have capacity to empathize with fellow humans, but evidently these criminals have lost their humanism.
For instance, EFCC revealed that it discovered $9.3m and £74,000 belonging to a former GMD NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu. The money was allegedly kept in a bungalow situated in the slums of Kaduna trillion of dollars that is enough to better the lives of so many people living in that slum. The Commission also has discovered a $37.5m (N11.75bn) luxury high-rise building on Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, allegedly belonging to the embattled former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The judiciary that had always been seen as a body that was ‘incorruptible’ has via these exposure been stripped bare of its ‘sacred’ reputation. The cases of Justice Adeniyi Ademola, and two Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Olabowale and Dele Belgore have established the stance of CACOL that from the Bench to the bar, there are corrupt practices in The Nigerian Judicial System.
Justice Ademola, was reported to have been in possession of cash of different denominations, two Avar Magnum Pump Action guns which was labeled in his name and that of Justice Ahmed Mohammed amongst other items recovered by the operatives of the DSS alongside Olabowale a member of the Bar. Belgore on the other hand is being arraigned by the EFCC. The three are being tried on charges of receiving gratifications, influencing the course of Justice and money laundering.
These development are more than evidential and adequate to make the Nigerian Judicial Council, NJC and the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA wake up from their ‘sleepless’ slumber and agree with reality that the level of corruption in our Judiciary system is high necessitating a vociferous fight against the monster.
We call for the strengthening of the capacities of the anti-corruption agencies and the law enforcement agencies to keep the ‘heat’ on the corrupt elements in our public offices on and to make every corrupt official answer for their crimes in line with the rule of law. We call on Nigerians to continue to name, nail, shame and shun corrupt leaders and individuals anywhere and everywhere.