Home Opinion Anti-Graft War In Nigeria: A Devil in Disguise By Ahmad Umar

Anti-Graft War In Nigeria: A Devil in Disguise By Ahmad Umar

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It is justice a component that aids leadership to reign forever. Without justice, corruption and anarchy would only be the order of the day in any given society, organisation, or even a nation. The wish of every nation is to have a good leadership; free from any corrupt practices.It is obvious that a corrupt society undermines the basic human rights, rule of law and economic prosperity. The desire of having a free-corrupt society, mandates any country to establish agencies or commissions whose sole duties are to check any misuse of power and unlawful transactions such as: fraudulent activities, gratification, dirty money, illicit wealth acquisition and many more. 

In an effort to contend corruption among Nigerian public circle, on 29th September 2000, the country created its first anti-graft commission known as ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practice Commission),  following the recommendation of President Olusegun Obasanjo. In 2003,  EFCC ( Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) was inaugurated also as a law enforcement agency to investigate financial crimes such as advance fee fraud (419 fraud) and money laundering. However, ICPC targets corruption in the public sector, especially bribery, gratification, graft, and abuse or misuse of office, whereas EFCC investigates people in all sectors who appear to be living above their means, and is empowered to investigate and prosecute money laundering and other financial crimes. The EFCC tracks illicit wealth accruing from abuse of office, especially in an attempt to integrate such wealth into the country’s financial system.

Since the establishment of the two anti-graft commissions, particularly EFCC, Nigerians have been accusing the commission for being ” a wolf in a sheep’s clothing “.  Many see the institution as a political  weapon used by the government to unjustly execute oppositions. Not long ago, a letter,  allegedly written by U.S. senator states that Nigeria’s fight against corruption is full of bias, discriminatory and political witch-hunting. Reacting on the letter on 8th July, malami, the Attorney -General of federation and minister of justice, in a statement issued by his media aide, Dr Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, described the allegations as unfounded, baseless and devoid of factual proof. ” the evidence are carried out without fear or favour,  … members of the ruling or opposition parties and otherwise are in no way spared in the view of numerical data of recorded judicial convictions”, he added. 

The greatest irony related to these anti-graft war commissions is their concealed submission to the government’s ill-wills in spite of being independent. From their nomenclature, independence is set as an integral entity that prevails the commissions to perform their duties without any sort of subordination and compromise. But in reality, it is only in written not in action. Perhaps, it might not be unclenced to fact that the heads of the commissions are appointed by government, and so they must pay back with unflinching loyalty or else, be dethroned from the chairmanship. Most of the cases handled, were selective and stereotyping. Nigerians have seen enough incidences that proof the commission’s partiality and propensity in their many approaches. Take for instance, the case of Kano state governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, who was shown in several short video-clips by DailyNigerian online platform, pocketing dollars which is said to be a bribe from contractors in the state. Yet, the commissions, not to talk of investigating the matter, but were drummed silent about it.

In Nigeria, war against corruption is dead-end. This is because, even the most recent acting chairman of Economic Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, was hitherto probed by a Presidential Panel for alleged corrupt charges and insubordination. In a letter issued by the Attorney General of federation, Magu was allegedly accused for infractions, including recovered loot mishandling and other sundry allegations. Recall that on Friday 10th July, president Buhari has approved the immediate suspension of Ibrahim Magu— the statement was issued by Umar Gwandu, the spokesperson to Abubakar Malami, stating that the action was in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the Presidential Investigation Panel under the Tribunal of Inquiry Act and other relevant laws. He further added that ” … Mohammad Umar, should take charge and oversee the activities of the commission pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation and further directives in that regards”.

Nigerians were in the eve of magu’s saga, Sahara Reporters, on 10th,11th and 12th July, made a publications on the Attorney General and his son for spending more than their earnings. The publication clearly evinced how malami’s son built a multi-million naira arena and a Mercedes Benz worth $200k. While on July 14th and there about, another short videos were publicized by the same online-media house,  showcasing Malami’s properties worth billions which were acquired after his appointment as a minister of justice and the Attorney-General of the federation. Following the allegations, malami, through his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu, bitterly debunked the report and warned that legal action would be taken against the publication if the media house didn’t withdraw their claims.

In his statement, malami said,  “Since the defamatory articles were published, I have been receiving several telephone calls and visits from well-meaning Nigerians, friends, well-wishers and associates from all over the world including those I have dealt with and am still dealing with in my official capacity as Nigeria’s Chief Law Officer, many of whom have expressed serious concerns over the publication”.

There is no doubt that Nigeria’s major threat is corruption. Even those that were saddled to prevent its occurrence, are the one deeply rooted in it. My readers, I will leave you with professor Patrick Lumumba’s popular quote on corruption: “… Corruption is something that we talk about, it’s something that we complain about, it’s something whose negative impact we recognize, it’s something that even the corrupt acknowledge about it. But the irony and tragedy at once is that those of us who do not engage in it directly, accommodate it, our levels of tolerance of corruption in African is amazing “. May Nigeria be free from corruption, amen. 

Ahmad Hamisu Umar is a consummate writer, political analyst and social advocate who writes from Kano state.

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