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Monday, 22 September 2014

Towards Curtailing Corruption In Nigeria

MANY Nigerians were tranquillized when the global anti-corruption watchdog announced that our country is one of the 35th most corrupt countries in the world. To some people, the situation in the country is worse than what was reflected in the latest corruption perception table. Most people believe that in Nigeria, all kinds of evil act corrupt act is obtainable in the country life wire.

Corruption is the major hindrance, a big obstacle to the development across all sectors in Nigeria, this is because virtually all sectors in the country are all corrupt. It has eaten deep into the life wire of the country and that is why it seems as nothing is been done about it.

Nigerian government, police, civil service and businesses are plagued by bribery, extortion and other forms of corruption. While many points to a failure of leadership; corruption is largely a product of an economy fueled almost exclusively by petroleum with no vested interest in developing Nigeria’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. The wealthy simply profit from oil while the country wallows deeper into economic chaos.

Nigeria’s roads are dominated by check points where law enforcement agents often demand that their palms be greased before travelling.

They’ve turned check points into bribe collecting points and that is more reason terrorists, kidnappers and other hoodlums are not caught in most of their activities. What do you expect when a security man whose attention supposed to be on the individuals that look suspicious is focused on the drivers hand hoping to get N20.

Nigeria as a nation is falling deeper into corruption day by day, can you tell me any sector in this country that is free from bribery and corruption? I doubt because even in football, players most times bribed coaches for them to play for the next game.

Moving aside entirely to the education sector where most times students who are not qualified at the time of the examination are the ones that are referred to as undergraduates. There have been complaints that the Nigerian education sector is poor; why won’t it be, when money is being collected to admit students into higher institution. Have you asked yourself why students mostly score higher in Jamb and when it comes to PUME, reverse is the case; that will show the level of corruption, bribery and exam malpractice in education system. Very soon in Nigeria the poor who cannot afford to pay up to #150,000, cannot be admitted into the university.

The main issue about corruption in Nigeria does not lie with our government or civil service alone, citizens are also involved in this act.

An electorate sells his/her vote for just a thousand naira that not is even enough for air time subscription as a result of poverty.

The focal point about corruption in Nigeria to a large extent lies right in Aso rock with those that wine and dine with the people in the floor of power both at the national and the state to local level. Embezzling public fund is no more news in the country, it has become a normal daily activities. In this country, abnormality has become normality and that is more reason why all efforts to curtail corruption in the country has become negative.

The country has become so corrupt that the public servants have totally lost trust in the government. The public servants hardly believe anything that the government says which are yet to be implemented. This is because the leadership in the country so far has been treading and is still treading on the ground of promise and fail.

ASUU embarked on strike for a period of 6months last year, even when the government promised to meet up with their demands. There seemed to be no credibility in what government dishes out to the public anymore.

Nowadays we hear such comments likes “ I pray o” whenever it’s heard that the government has embarked on one project or another, the citizens have doubts about that.

It would be difficult to identify any Nigerian leader who can be said to be successful in fulfilling his promises to the country. No doubt, the country is in this current depressing and distasteful state because her leaders at various levels of government over the years have perfected the art of saying something and to an extent doing another almost at the same time. Even when any effort or whatsoever are made, it is, almost always contrary to the promise made.

Human right watch estimated that the epidemic nature of corruption led to the loss of $380bn worth of revenue between 1999 and 2007in Nigeria. Then about 47 percent of companies that do business in Nigeria till date are Said to be experts to make facilitation payments to public officials in order to get them to do their work. To the observers, the parliament and the political parties are the most corrupt institutions; in line with this, I believe that corruption within the bureaucracy is equally as virulent, commenting on this issue in his article “are we really winning the war Against corruption” Uche Igwe said. That , “a major chunk of public sector corruption happens within the Nigerian civil service.

The civil service is meant to be the bureaucracy that services the policy implementation process, but today it has been turned into an arena of looting. Corruption in the civil service is the rule rather than the exception, Uch Igwee added. There is this popular saying “wait for your turn” that is to say that one has to patiently wait till he/she gets to higher position and only then and only then can he join the club of bribe collectors and money embezzlers. But this is what happens in a state where abnormality has become normality.

Most persons enter offices with goodwill but after some time, they begin to understand that one cannot bite more than he can chew. Even at the house of assembly and others at the local level, anyone who fights against corruption in his office stands a risk of being impeached. In most cases, they set the person up. Nigerian offices are dens of lions where three things are involved; it’s either you join the club, resign or face allegation that could lead to your impeachment, that is the situation of things in Nigerian politics and other sectors in the country.

The country has presented a bad image of herself in the eyes of other countries. Nigerians in other countries of the world are often suspected because of the evil deeds that those in power are not willing and ready to stop.

So far, the main avenue for war against corruption in Nigeria is through .the establishment of anti-corruption agencies. There are multiple versions of these agencies, each pursuing after complex, competing, divergent, and often overlapping mandate in Nigeria. All well and good but what has been their impact? Some of those agencies have turned out to be the biggest channels for corruption themselves. Some of these agencies when they apprehend someone, instead of charging the person to court, their pocket would be charged with money and that’s the end of such cases.

The anti-corruption agencies have failed. Money controls their minds, even those who wish to fight corruption, their ‘oga at the top’ would suppress their efforts.

Lest we forget, in time past, agricultural and economic indices have largely dictated a country’s growth and increases in complexity and development.

Today, these variables are not all together rendered negligible, but they can hardly match the autocratic nature of influence handled by the political factors within the political sector that weave the fabric of country’s internal development and external relationships with foreign nations. That is why Nigerians have lost all available faith in the possibility of a legitimately elected representative of the people as it concerns the elective process for change of government.

The unending corruption which has eaten deep into the fabrics of our system has helped no one either as both the government and the governed seemed to have been carried away by the turbulent sea of western dependency.

Nigeria is wallowing in corruption, even the coming generation now subconsciously prepare fertile ground for the seed of corruptive influences like grafting, misappropriation and illicit propensity of for wealth.

It is in Nigeria we have, though in small number, members of the so called ‘CABAL’ who seems to be in absolute control of the electoral process, which according to concerned Nigerian citizens has ironically become ‘selection’ as opposed to an election process. It is regrettable to realize that the dreams and counsel of our founding elders has been forsaken for many years to embrace corruption and the profit of greed. Our national anthem reads “arise o compatriots”, how many of our leaders are patriots, you as an individual, how patriotic are you?Feigning ignorance to this prevalent attitude of our rulers and the “chop as I chop” concept a present part and reality of the Nigerian government administration. Should Nigerians resign to a fate of failure and hopelessness without repair? Answer to this question is cryptic for it would only lead to more questions.
However, there is a plausible possibility for a purge of all impurities from our present polity even though a change has never been a welcome verb for discussion where poorer and politics are concerned. But since, “nature is change is nature, then nature is the part of existence we can affect or effect”. The limited success in the war against corruption has bred deep cynicism among the Nigerian people capable of subverting trust in a democratic system of government.

Conclusively, in a bid to curtail corruption in Nigeria, an effective anti-corruption agency must command public respect, be credible, transparent accountable, and fearless. It must mobilize the necessary political will as well as enjoy considerable operational independence. Since the war against corruption formally resumed in Nigeria for years, the verdict is that it has been less than effective. Our leaders should restore purity and sanity into the system and reduce the rate at which they perpetrate evil in the country and other sector officials should as well refine and redefine their minds of corruption and bribery.

Source

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Police IG, Suleiman Abba, orders dismantling of all police roadblocks nationwide

The order banning the setting up of Police roadblocks nationwide is still strictly in force, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, has said.

In a statement Sunday, Force Spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said the police boss has sent a directive to all commands and formations of the Force nationwide asking them to immediately dismantle “all semblances of Police roadblocks and permanent checkpoints reportedly re-emerging in some parts of the country, especially in the South-East, South-South and South-West geo-political zones of Nigeria”.
Police road blockPolice road block

Mr. Ojukwu further quoted Mr. Abba as describing the reemergence of roadblocks as a serious violation of subsisting order on the matter and threatened severe sanctions on any police commands, formations and personnel who violate the order.

While charging the state Commissioners of Police and Heads of Formations to ensure total compliance with the order, the IGP further ordered extensive visibility patrol and effective surveillance on Nigerian roads.

Meanwhile, as Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking World Peace Day on September 21, 2014, the Nigeria Police Force has restated its resolve to work assiduously for the enthronement of genuine peace in the nation.

“As peace officers and frontliners in the drive for a peaceful world, the Nigeria Police understands the dislocation and trauma that happen to families, homes, cities and businesses in the event of disturbances,” the Force said in a statement.

The statement added, “In line with the above, the Nigeria Police will train more officers on conflict resolution, mediation and negotiation. Our Family Units and Juvenile Welfare Centres will be reinvigorated to cater for the needs of hurting family members, widows, orphans, displaced persons and the vulnerable. The Police will pay more diligent attention to early warning signs and improve response time to crises and distress calls.

“The Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Suleiman Abba urges all citizens to embrace peace at all times, and to assist law enforcement agents in the preservation and maintenance of peace nationwide.”

Source
The order banning the setting up of Police roadblocks nationwide is still strictly in force, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Suleiman Abba, has said.
In a statement Sunday, Force Spokesperson, Emmanuel Ojukwu, said the police boss has sent a directive to all commands and formations of the Force nationwide asking them to immediately dismantle “all semblances of Police roadblocks and permanent checkpoints reportedly re-emerging in some parts of the country, especially in the South-East, South-South and South-West geo-political zones of Nigeria”.
Police road block
Police road block
Mr. Ojukwu further quoted Mr. Abba as describing the reemergence of roadblocks as a serious violation of subsisting order on the matter and threatened severe sanctions on any police commands, formations and personnel who violate the order.
While charging the state Commissioners of Police and Heads of Formations to ensure total compliance with the order, the IGP further ordered extensive visibility patrol and effective surveillance on Nigerian roads.
Meanwhile, as Nigeria joins the rest of the world in marking World Peace Day on September 21, 2014, the Nigeria Police Force has restated its resolve to work assiduously for the enthronement of genuine peace in the nation.
“As peace officers and frontliners in the drive for a peaceful world, the Nigeria Police understands the dislocation and trauma that happen to families, homes, cities and businesses in the event of disturbances,” the Force said in a statement.
The statement added, “In line with the above, the Nigeria Police will train more officers on conflict resolution, mediation and negotiation. Our Family Units and Juvenile Welfare Centres will be reinvigorated to cater for the needs of hurting family members, widows, orphans, displaced persons and the vulnerable. The Police will pay more diligent attention to early warning signs and improve response time to crises and distress calls.
“The Inspector-General of Police, Ag. IGP Suleiman Abba urges all citizens to embrace peace at all times, and to assist law enforcement agents in the preservation and maintenance of peace nationwide.”
- See more at: https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/168423-police-ig-suleiman-abba-orders-dismantling-of-all-police-roadblocks-nationwide.html#sthash.7qgni3JE.f2FbrjGn.dpuf

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Synagogue Church collapse: T.B Joshua allegedly offered journalists N50,000 bribe to alter reports

Prophet Temitope B. Joshua, head of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), Ikotun, Lagos, has been accused of offering bribe to reporters covering the collapse of his Church’s guest house.
The incident, which occurred September 19, left over 85 persons, mostly South Africans, dead.
A Nigerian journalist, Nicholas Ibekwe, who made the allegation on Saturday via social network, Twitter, also provided an audio proof to back up his claim.

In a series of tweets, he lambasted field staff of media houses, who collect money while on the job, saying such was against ethics of the profession.
“Nigerian journalists habitually collects money at press conferences and events. They call it ‘brown envelop’. I call it bribe!”, he tweeted.
“And for those asking for prove. I’ve audio proof of TB Joshua telling reporters he’s N50,000 each from them”.
The church management is yet to respond to the allegation.

Source

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Dangote in bribery row in Zambia

A row is brewing between Zambia and Dangote Cement, a major employer in Africa’s second largest copper producer, after a government minister accused an executive at the local unit of the Nigerian company of attempting to bribe him.
The dispute appears to be the latest in a string of incidents in which the southern African nation’s government has resorted to strong-arm or unorthodox tactics against foreign investors it believes are circumventing labour laws.
Dangote Industries Zambia (DIZ) has 400 workers building a $400 million dollar cement plant, a staff count that should rise to 2,000 when production starts in November, deputy industry minister Miles Sampa told Reuters.
Aliko Dangote: Cement company in bribery row
Aliko Dangote: Cement company in bribery row
During a tour of the plant in Ndola, 300 km (188 miles) north of the capital Lusaka, labour minister Fackson Shamenda said a Nigerian executive seconded to the Zambian unit tried to bribe him at a hotel a week ago.
The company described the allegations them as “malicious misinformation”.
“For the record, DIZ categorically deny any claims of corruption and bribery and reserve our rights on this matter,” it said in a statement.
Shamenda did not specify what was offered by the executive and said he rejected it because he had critical labour issues to sort out with the company – owned by Nigerian Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man – and did not want to be compromised.
“He told me that it was a tradition in their culture to give someone a token of appreciation. Maybe his idea was that I turn a blind eye to what is happening at Dangote,” Shamenda said, according to local media reports.
Shamenda also said DIZ should offer workers at the company permanent employment and allow them to join unions.
“There is no union and according to the reports I have received those who have attempted to join unions have had their contracts terminated,” Shamenda told Reuters on Tuesday.
“I have asked the labour commissioner to investigate and tell me all the categories of employees because the reports we have received indicate there are no permanent employees.”
DIZ said in its statement that Shamenda had made four surprise visits to the cement plant in the last four months, prompting the company to complain about his conduct as it felt that the minister was deliberately looking for wrongdoing.
“DIZ was beginning to feel harassed and unwelcome in Zambia and immediately brought this to the attention of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry,” it said in the statement.
A year ago, Zambia revoked the work permit of the chief executive of Konkola Copper Mines, owned by London-listed Vedanta Resources, and threatened to rip up its mining licence when the firm announced plans to lay off 1,500 workers

Source

Monday, 15 September 2014

In Petition To Chief Justice Of Nigeria, Group Accuses Governor Obiano Of Bribing Supreme Court Justices

A non-governmental group called Anambra Watch has sent a petition to Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Aloma Miriam Mukthar, accusing Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State of using a front to offer bribes to Supreme Court justices who will be determining several appeals arising from the November 16, 2013 governorship election.
The petition, which was signed by Chukwuka Okoye and Peter Nwafor, alleged that the state governor was trying to pervert the course of justice. The petitioners pointed fingers at Alphonsus Uba Igbeke as the agent of the governor in the scheme to bribe justices. According to them, Mr. Igbeke, popularly known as Ubanese, had been paying visits to the residences of the various justices who have been named as members of a panel to hear appeals filed against Governor Obiano by candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC). The appellants are praying the apex court to rule that INEC’s declaration of Mr. Obiano of the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA) as the duly elected governor of Anambra State was flawed and should be nullified. Both the governor and Ubanese are from the same area.
The Supreme Court has set aside Tuesday September 16 to hear the election appeals. However, the petitioners informed CJ Mukthar that Governor Obiano has recruited Mr. Igbeke to meet with some of the Supreme Court justices on the panel and offer them huge sums in foreign currencies.
The petitioners wrote: “Our investigations show that Chief Igbeke had visited three of the justices in their respective official residence in the last one week. Your lordship may wish to call for security reports from the operatives of Department of State Security Services (DSS) who monitor daily activities and movements at the homes of the justices.
As your lordship will recall, Chief Igbeke is not new in the act of perverting the cause of justice. It was Igbeke who bribed some clerks working in the chambers of Justice Galadima who leaked the judgment in the appeal involving Senator Margery Okadigbo and Uba Igbeke. The judgment was posted in the Internet before its delivery after Chief Igbeke failed in his bid to bribe all the justices in the panel to give judgment in his favor. The aim was to blackmail the justices who refused to be compromised. The Federal Judicial Service Commission while dismissing the staff of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal who aided Chief Igbeke in the act of infamy recommended that Chief Igbeke himself be prosecuted by the Attorney-General of the Federation for masterminding the leakage of the judgment.  So with this notoriety it beats our imagination why some of the justices of the highest court in the land would be disposed to receiving such a character in their official residence or elsewhere to discuss cases coming up before them.”
The panel of seven justices constituted to hear the appeals against Mr. Obiano’s election is headed by Justice Mahmud Mohammed, the second most senior justice after the CJ. Noting that President Goodluck Jonathan is interested in the victory of Governor Obiano, the petitioners alleged that Justice Mohammed would go out of his way to please the president in order to be nominated as the next Chief Justice.
The Supreme Court panel is expected to rule on the following issues:
 1. Whether Mr. Obiano truly engaged in acts of multiple registrations as a voter contrary to the provisions of the Electoral Act which forbids such acts,
2. Whether the alleged multiple registrations if proven are enough to disqualify Obiano from contesting the Governorship of Anambra State,
3. In the light of several conflicting judgments relied upon, whether Mr. Obiano or Chike Obidigbo was the authentic governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the election,
4. Whether the voters register used in the conduct of Anambra State governorship election, which INEC admitted it revised and updated ‘to correct errors’ less than three days to the holding of the election, is a valid voter’s register when the Electoral Act expressly prohibited such action,
 5. Whether the postponement and holding of election in Obosi ward in Idemili North local government area on a Sunday was not calculated to disenfranchise over 51,230 voters in that Christian populated area and a presumed stronghold of All Progressives Congress (APC) and its candidate, Chris Ngige,
6. Whether the Supplementary election held by INEC in 16 local government areas of Anambra State on the 30th of November 2013 after it had declared the entire election as “inconclusive” is valid in law,
7. Whether the failure of entire staff of INEC that conducted the election to swear to the mandatory oath of neutrality before the High Court registry was enough to nullify the entire election,
8. Whether the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of voters in Anambra including the PDP governorship candidate, Mr. Tony Nwoye, his parents, siblings and relations did not amount to a substantial violation of the Electoral Act that should result in the outright nullification of the election,
9. Whether the respondents’ brief of argument filed out of time by lawyers to Mr. Obiano and APGA respectively will be countenanced in the determination of the appeals in the absence of any application by them to regularize their papers.
10. Whether the Election Petition Tribunal and Court of Appeal had the jurisdiction to entertain allegations of multiple possession of voter’s card as a ground for disqualification of a candidate under the constitution.
The petitioners commended Justice Aloma Mukthar for her “uncommon work” to “sanitize the judicial process, combat judicial corruption and enthrone fairness in the judiciary,” adding that her efforts had yielded fruit with the firing of “bad eggs in the judiciary from the Federal and State High Courts.” They regretted that some people in the society were “bent on sabotaging these noble efforts, thus the pressing need for eternal vigilance on the part of all stakeholders.”
In its petition, Anambra Watch requested “the immediate reconstitution of the panel,” urging the CJN to personally head a new panel.
Justice Mohammed may be elevated to the position of CJN once the incumbent retires mid-November this year. A new CJN is appointed by the Nigerian President on the recommendation of National Judicial Council, but subject to Senate approval.
The other members of the Supreme Court panel on the Anambra governorship election are Justices Muntaka-Coomasie, Bode Rhodes-Vivour, Nwali Ngwuta, Kumai Akaas, Olukayode Ariwoola and Inyang Okoro.
In May 2014, in a case involving Mr. Igbeke and Senator Margery Okadigbo, a full text of the judgment written by Justice Suleiman Galadima of the Supreme Court was leaked and published online at least 24 hours before it was delivered. An investigation by the Federal Judicial Service Commission discovered that Mr. Igbeke and one Collins Okechukwu had bribed some of the law clerks in the Supreme Court in order to obtain an advanced copy of the judgment.
The FJSC fired six court clerks implicated in the deal. It also recommended the immediate prosecution of Mr. Igbeke, but the Nigerian Attorney-General has yet to act on the recommendation more than a year later.
A source close to former Governor Peter Obi said that Governor Obiano’s use of Ubanese to bribe the justices of the apex court is due to the strained relationship existing between Obiano and his predecessor, who was his godfather. Governor Obiano and Mr. Obi are no longer on speaking terms, said the source, adding that the two men fell out when the current governor began marginalizing his predecessor in public events. He added that Governor Obi has asked Obiano to refund a huge sum of more than six billion naira, which the former governor claimed he spent to install the latter as the governor of Anambra State. The source said Mr. Obiano had rebuffed the demand, thereby setting the stage for the current crisis in APGA where at least five APGA members in the House of Representatives had defected to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party at the instance of Mr. Peter Obi.
Before the friction between the two men, Mr. Obi had been using his connection with the Presidency to swing judgments at the Election Tribunal and the Court of Appeal in favor of Obiano. “Okwute Ndigbo [Peter Obi’s praise name] has decided that this time around, he should leave Chief Obiano to cater for himself since Obiano is poking fingers in his master’s eye,” said the source close to the former governor.
Mr. Obi is expected to announce his formal defection to PDP at a grand rally where President Goodluck Jonathan would announce his declaration to contest the 2015 Presidential election. Governor Obiano had also reportedly made a promise to President Jonathan that he, Obiano, would be joining the PDP if the Supreme Court grants him victory.
The Supreme Court is expected to deliberate on the issues and deliver judgment on or before September 25, 2014 when the 60 days allowed by the Constitution to determine the appeals would elapse.
If the appeals succeed, a fresh governorship election will be held in Anambra State, possibly exclude Mr. Obiano from participating.

Source

Friday, 12 September 2014

Italian oil boss probed over Nigeria deal 'bribe'

A Milan prosecutor is probing the role of the CEO Claudio Descalzi, his predecessor and another Eni executive over their role in the Italian group's 2011 acquisition, in partnership with Shell, of the rights to a field known as OPL245.

The field has been estimated to contain as much as nine billion barrels of crude oil.

Under the deal, Eni made a payment to the Nigerian government of $1.09 billion (€844,000) to secure joint ownership of the block along with Shell, which had previously taken a 40 percent stake and had begun to develop the field.

Most of the money Eni paid was subsequently passed on to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company believed to be owned by Chief Dan Etete, a former Nigerian oil minister.

In an episode that has come to be regarded as emblematic of Nigeria's problems with corruption, Etete had awarded the rights to the block to Malabu in 1998, at a time when he was close to Nigeria's then-military dictator General Sani Abacha.

Eni confirmed that Descalzi, who headed the company's oil division at the time, had been placed under preliminary investigation by a Milan prosecutor along with another company executive, the head of exploration Roberta Casula.

The company said its executives were being probed after a British court on Tuesday accepted the Milan prosecutor's request to freeze two bank accounts.

According to Italian daily Corriere della Sera, these were Anglo-Swiss accounts containing a total of $190 million in the name of Emeka Obi, a suspected intermediary in the OPL245 deal.

Corriere said the court had accepted the prosecutor's argument that there was reason to believe the money may have been paid as part of an attempt to corrupt public officials.

Last year, Obi sued Malabu via Britain's High Court and won an order that the company pay him $110 million in unpaid fees related to the deal which brought Eni into OPL245.

Eni insisted the company's action had been beyond reproach.

"The entire payment for the issuance of the license to Eni and Shell was made uniquely to the Nigerian government," a statement said.

It added: "Eni is cooperating with the Milan prosecutor's office, and is confident that the correctness of its actions will emerge during the course of the investigation."

Eni shares were down by nearly one percent in early afternoon trading on Thursday in an otherwise broadly flat market.

Source

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

'We Don't Need to be Bribed Before we Pass PIB' - Deputy House Leader

Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, yesterday, directed the ad hoc committee on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) to submit its report within 21 days, BUSINESSDAY reports.

He also directed the clerk of the House to activate the electronic voting system without further delay.

The 23-member ad hoc committee headed by Ishaka Bawa was inaugurated with a view to fine-tuning the PIB which scaled through second reading.

The House also conducted a regional public hearing as part of efforts to take input of Nigerians on the proposed bill.

While reacting to question on the alleged bribe demanded by the House before passage of the bill, Leo Ogor, deputy House leader, said, “I am giving you my assurance vis-à-vis that of the speaker that the PIB will be passed.

"Touch has been put into that bill and I want to also state that I’m not aware that anybody is asking anybody for a dime. You don’t need anybody to give you a dime to do your job.

“Our oath of allegiance is to the constitution of Nigeria, vis-à-vis the fact that we are lawmakers. So if somebody is going to ask for money before doing his own job, then that is an aberration. I doubt it sincerely. I hope it’s not some kind of cheap blackmail.

“But I know very soon that the bill will be passed and it is one bill that will do the oil sector a great deal of advantage. I can’t believe that somebody will have a situation whereby you ask for money to deprive the nation to have such a wonderful Act, which at the end of the day will open up our economy and which at the end of the day will have multiplier effects in the whole of the economy.

“So, we are quite worried and ashamed that Nigeria as a leading oil producing country is into importation of petroleum products. It is very embarrassing and if such a bill will put a stop to that, create wonderful job opportunities, why will a lawmaker ask for a dime from anybody? Except some sort of blackmail is emerging from some corners,” Ogor submitted.

Source

Monday, 1 September 2014

DSS/APC bribe face-off: Who blinks first?

Precisely on August 14, 2014, the blunt and fearless Media Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Marilyn Ogar shocked Nigerians with the stunning revelation that politicians of a particular “political party” offered N14million to two top officials of the secret intelligence service to sway the just concluded Osun gubernatorial election in favour the party.
The DSS spokesperson told puzzled media representatives, during a weekly press briefing held at the National Security Information Centre, Abuja, that a director of the DSS, an operative on election duty in Osun was offered N4million and N10million for another superior officer to enable them sway the electorate or turn the results in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
When Ogar made the accusation, she deliberately refused to call the concerned party by name but her constant allusions to the desperation of officials of the opposition party and the unfolding altercation between the secret service and the APC left nobody in doubt about which party was responsible for the alleged infringement.
Before the latest dispute, Ogar had engaged politicians in verbal attacks over their desperation and eagerness to drag security agencies, especially the DSS, into politics warning that doing so would not augur well for the country.
The tempo of the misunderstanding between the opposition APC and the DSS has since deepened with public opinion shifting against the DSS for employing double standards in its methods and dealings with politicians and political parties.
Since Marilyn Ogar threw the bribe “bomb” into the charged political atmosphere, Nigerians have derided the motive of the disclosure, which was intended to bring applause to the service. Many commentators have said that as positive as the disclosure may have been it has inadvertently backfired because of the way it was handled and the matter has instead placed the DSS and its officials on the negative spotlight.
Some observers of the unfolding drama have even claimed that the alleged bribe was either cooked up by the DSS officials to spit the opposition or that even if it was true, the money was rejected because the operatives feared a likely backlash should the deal leak knowing that trading with politicians can sometimes become a bad, dangerous business.
Marilyn Ogar literarily celebrated the fact that the All Progressives Congress (APC) incumbent Governor Rauf Aregbesola was declared winner of the election reasoning that since the alleged bribe was calculated as an inducement to influence security men to change or alter the outcome of the election, when the APC feared that it would lose the polls, the DSS would have been blamed if PDP had won.
“We thank God that APC won the election in Osun State. There was no bomb blast because there were enough security personnel on ground. The security forces that assisted in the election in Edo State were the same ones that went to Ondo, Anambra and Ekiti,” Marilyn said.
Explaining that the director who was approached by the politician, was an officer in charge of coordinating election duties in Osun, the DSS spokesperson  said only promises of N4 million and N10 million each were made but that no money actually exchanged hands or were brought to the scene of the meeting with officials of the agency.
She however remarked that, “It is because the money was declined, that is why the political party is presently having a running battle with the DSS. Thank God the APC won the election. Its loss would have been blamed on the DSS,” the officer said and thereafter, many members of the APC have been questioned by the DSS on events related to the election especially the bribe scandal.
The security officer, in justifying the crackdown, condemned the alleged attempt by politicians to bribe DSS officials describing the action as, “a waste of time and an effort in futility.” She stressed that DSS operatives were properly trained, well paid professionals who would not compromise values and the ethics of their profession by collecting bribes.
“We are well paid. I will say it categorically that our operations are well funded. The N14 million that was offered cannot be compared to the N200 million that was spent by the DSS. Which one will you go for, if you were an operative? People should stop using money to entice security agencies. The Federal Government and the people of Nigeria who engaged us have the capability to take care of us.
“I want to tell you that there is a big man occupying a very sensitive position in Osun State. The man should thank his God that it is not the DSS that arrested him with the huge sums of money he was found with,” Ogar remarked even though she could not explain whether the big man was the person who offered the DSS operatives the bribe.
Ogar was however forceful when she said: “I am emphatically repeating my call that politicians should leave the agency and other security organs out of politics,” explaining further that DSS officers on election security duties and related operations are usually paid their allowances and other sundry entitlements in advance to insulate or prevent them from every form of gratifications.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) refused to be intimidated and promptly launched an attack on Marilyn Ogar as well as the Department of State Service over the bribe allegations especially when the DSS quizzed some of its officials for questioning and demanded the resignation or reassignment of the media director.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who had some personal axe to grind with the agency, described the allegation as baseless even as he challenged Ogar and the agency to back the accusations with “evidence, knowledge and facts.”
The party also promptly went to court to seek injunction restraining the DSS from further arrests or harassment of its officials in a desperate attempt to clear its name.
APC did not mince words in describing the accusation that the party proposed to give DSS officers N14 million bribe as “lies and cheap blackmail by a conspiratorial organisation,” querying why the person who made the offer was not arrested by the DSS.
Continuing, the APC said: “Apparently, Ogar has never heard of a ‘sting operation’ that is widely used by security agencies to catch a person who is committing a crime. The allegation by Ogar would have been sweet in her mouth had the DSS mounted a sting operation to catch whoever was offering the alleged bribe, and then prosecute him or her.’’
The party also advised Ogar and the entire DSS to hide their guns, facial coverings and their preferences when next they are posted to provide security during elections in any part of the country, adding that elections are not war but a celebration of democracy.
APC said: “It is sad that a spokesperson of the DSS does not know that there is no offence called ‘loitering’ under the Nigerian laws. For Ogar to claim on national television that the APC National Publicity Secretary and other officials were arrested for ‘loitering’ in Oshogbo on the eve of the governorship election is the height of ignorance and constitutes a great embarrassment to the DSS.
“It is even worse that the so-called spokesperson made a joke out of such a faux pas by an agency that is supposed to be non-partisan. How can a spokesperson of a sensitive government agency not understand that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for freedom of movement?
“On what basis did Ogar question what the APC National Publicity Secretary or any of its officials doing in Osun, when the same fellow has not questioned the presence of Musiliu Obanikoro, Chris Uba and others who came to the state or are these people above the laws?,” the party queried.
Meanwhile, politicians who commented on the face-off blamed the DSS for being too hasty and uncompromising in reacting to the actions of opposition parties as opposed to when it relates with members of the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP].
A public commentator and politician, Chief Winston Odumu-Ojobi who spoke first said: “it is unfortunate for the DSS to have made the bribe allegation. The agency should not act in a way that would make the public think it is supporting the ruling party or helping to heat up the political space.
Chief Odumu–Ojobi who is the former Deputy National Chairman [North] of the United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP) remarked that: “The bribe allegation should not have happened. It is unwarranted and uncalled for and everyone, including the security agencies should help the Osun election winner [Governor Rauf Aregbesola] and Osun state settle down in peace to governance.
Odumu–Ojobi argued that since “the PDP and Mr. President have congratulated the winner, what any sensible politician or security organisation should do now is to sheath their swords and concentrate on how to defeat the insurgents decimating the northeast part of the country instead of brewing unnecessary controversies.”
National Secretary of the Conference of Nigeria Political Parties [CNPP], Chief Willy Ezeugwu, on his part said: “The CNPP does not have any position on the matter since we do not belong to the APC. Talking personally however, I think the controversy is simply unnecessary although I do not have the full details of the matter and what really took place that the DSS was complaining about.”
Chairman of the Inter-Party Advisory Council [IPAC], Dr. Tanko Yunusa who was the Vice Presidential Candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP) in the 2011 presidential election advised the DSS not to bring itself to ridicule by openly supporting the ruling party in elections or dragging itself into unnecessary controversies that may sway public opinion against the agency.
He said the opposition political parties and other Nigerians are also entitled to the protection that the DSS offers appealing that the agency should equally provide proper security cover that are governed by the same rules which apply to the government, the PDP and their officers to enable the security agency come out clean always without appearing to be partisan or biased in its actions.

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