By Paul Adujie
Monday, 11 June 2007
Arrest The Corrupt NOW! With Zero Option
By Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
Avowedly, I have supported the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and AIG of Police, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the EFCC Chairman, since his appointment. And I have no regrets whatsoever. I believed and I continue to believe in the fight to eliminate and eradicate corruption from Nigeria. It is a task, that should be done and that must be done!
A news item that is in the online version of a Nigerian Newspaper today, is, however, a source of great concern and worry to me. It is to the effect that the EFCC is taking actions that seems, in my view to be offering some sorts of olive branches to the putridly corrupt ex-governors, of which the EFCC obviously have concrete, cogent, convincing and compelling evidences of humongous corruption cases.
The EFCC was reported by the press as, "requesting" that the ex-governors in Nigeria, voluntarily, surrender their gigantic loots and willingly visit the EFCC offices, to avoid the wrath of the EFCC! There will be no laidback "request" to the looters! Arrest them!
AND, I am tempted to ask, the EFCC, why this cordial and extraordinarily friendly invitations to these obviously amoral and morally bankrupt persons, persons, who are exceedingly corrupt? When did any law enforcement apparatuses start to issue gentle dinner-like invitations to the mafia or armed robbers and blood suckers?
I thought there was an agreement to fight corruption in Nigeria, regardless of who is president? I thought that there was a national consensus to fight corruption in Nigeria, whomever the corrupt is? Nigerians expect the war on corruption to be intensified, not lessened. Nigerians are not expecting a kiss-and-make-up between the EFCC and the corrupt. Nigerians are not expecting a wink and a nod, to the corrupt. Nigerians are not expecting a kinder gentler EFCC. EFCC can be cordial and professional, that is it!
Nigeria must fight and decimate looters as if with, literal blinders on! Eliminating and eradicating looters from Nigeria, is the moral equivalents of clearing the Augean stable. It is the financial equivalents of debt cancellation or the elimination of debt overhang, which has allowed Nigeria to breathe a new air of fresh start in financial freedom. We must do the same with corruption. We must decimate, kill and annihilate it. So, we can free-up misdirected and misapplied Nigeria’s resources, into produce endeavors or ventures.
Corruption is a cancer, it eats away at Nigeria’s investments. Investments in public infrastructures are diverted and siphoned, because of corruption and as a consequence, Nigerians are deprived of public infrastructure. Nigerians are made thirsty in the infinite oceans of Nigeria’s profound boundless abundances! This has been the case in Nigeria for far too long. President Yar’Adua must urgently bare his fangs and his teeth against corruption! He must soon display his ferociousness against the corrupt and corruption!
I have over the past several years believed that the law enforcement apparatuses in Nigeria were handicapped, as they have had their hands, literally, tied behind their backs with the immunity clause as entrenched in the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999, section 308, as these law enforcement apparatuses sought to fight corrupt public officials, especially, since 2003
As a consequence, I had written, a series of articles, explaining the immunity clause, in costs and benefits, in effect, arguing both sides of the immunity clause concept. I, as well, at some point, opined a change, in arguing the necessity of the removal or the need to expunge the clause and section of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999.
In all these, I was consistent in rooting and offering my applause to those who fight corruption in Nigeria, in all our behalves. In particular, the EFCC, but also, the ICPC, the Nigeria Police and our various law enforcement agencies and enforcement machineries.
Eventually, it came to be, that those who sought to derail the punishments for the vapidly corrupt, succeeded with their preachments of the Rule of Law and Due Process, to such an extent, that the likes, of persons such as Joshua Chibi Dariye, were able to return to power, at Rayfield, Jos the Plateau state capital, on arguments that were based on pure legal technicalities and legalese. Dariye was extremely corrupt as governor of Plateau State. Dariye, as a result, had the last laugh. He never bothered to follow the touted rule of law and due process, then, or now. He did not do so on May 29, 2007 either. He jettisoned due process as he ignored the handover and inauguration formalities. He just walked away from Government House Jos on May 28, 2007.
His whereabouts is currently unknown! So much for the rule of law and due process?
The now famous Rule of Law and Due Process Brigade in Nigeria, can take that, and kiss it! Ditto the courts! Somebody should whisper it to Nigerians, that Nigeria need radical surgery, precise radical surgery to remove the corrupt and corruption from our society! I hold the view, that, extraordinary infestations, such as corruption, demands vigorous solution.
Nigeria has certainly been going through extraordinary times. Especially and in particular reference to the fight against corruption, and those who corruptly enrich themselves, at the expense of Nigerians and Nigeria’s public resources. I had hoped that the fight against corruption will be a multiple pronged approach that will be universal and holistic its outlook. In order words, I expected everyone and every of our institutions, public and private, including the legal system, to recognize the crucial importance of excising the cancer of corruption from our society. But, that did not quite happen. It has not quite happen. But it must!
I had assumed that the EFCC and other law enforcement agencies in Nigeria, were ready to pounce on these ex-governors and other officials, as soon as officials’ terms of office, of these ex-governors and other officials expired. I had assume that the EFCC foot soldiers were shadowing, tailing, trailing and lurking behind every retiring governor and other officials, waiting to arrest them as soon as the third week of May 2007!
I take the view, the long view, that President Yar’Adua’s government needs and deserves a honeymoon of some sorts, to enable it settle down properly, first, then, become ensconced and effective. I have protested against his critics, admonishing, that the brand new president needs some breathing room to enable him find his presidential feet at Nigeria’s helms. But, there are now urgent issues of national importance, in connections with corrupt ex-governors and other officials.
It is quite understandable, that as a consequence of the imperfections from the elections that we have just had, and as the new administration is deliberately seeking reconciliation and healing, in the nation, it is understandable that President Yar’Adua may prefer tentative sorts of stepping out, in dealing with, even our perennial national challenges. The appearance must not be created however, that the doors are ajar, for those corrupt ex-governors to simply walk away! Nigeria, must, in robust and vigorous ways, fight looters!
President Yar’Adua must clear the air, as to his faith in the EFCC hot-pursuits of the corrupt. Mr. President must assure Nigerians that corrupt public officials, including and especially, the ex-governors, must not have any wiggle room whatsoever! This is not negotiable, it should not be negotiable! Friends or foe, any and every corrupt governor should have the book thrown at them.
President Yar’Adua must give Mallam Nuhu Ribadu or a successor? the teeth needed to bite and bite hard, at the looters, the pillagers and plunderers of Nigeria’s resources!
Nigeria’s rapid development, advancement and greatness depend on it!