The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL has called on the Federal Government to publish and list the names of all those who have been alleged to have stolen the Nation’s common-wealth if they truly desire to succeed in the anti-corruption war they espouse.
The Federal Government has reportedly alleged that 55 former government functionaries and top businessmen stole N1.34tn from public treasury in eight years. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his statement at a press conference to announce a National Sensitization Campaign against Corruption in Abuja on Monday made the allegation.
Lai Mohammed categorized the officials involved in the corrupt practices to include former state governors, ex-ministers, former legislators, civil servants, bankers and other businessmen. According to the Minister, “between 2006 and 2013, just 55 people allegedly stole a total of N1.34tn in Nigeria. That’s more than a quarter of last year’s national budget.”
CACOL, in its own contribution to series of reactions that had so far greeted the Federal government’s revelation commenting through its Executive Chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran said, “Though the minister was correct, the revelation by him should culminate in the prosecution of the suspects.”
We say ‘enough of the exposé’. What we want to hear now is diligent prosecutions and thorough adjudication. Corruption criminals should be thoroughly investigated, and no criminal should be allowed to go unpunished. Anybody guilty of corruption should be punished to serve as deterrent to others and there should be opportunity for anti-graft agencies to freeze assets of suspects that are found to be living so much beyond their legitimate earnings so that they will not have the opportunity to use proceeds of corruption to strike the government.
Adeniran, however, reiterated that Lai Mohammed’s revelation aligned with the belief that only one per cent of Nigerians enjoyed 99 per cent of the nation’s Commonwealth and now that this has been published, Nigerians are interested in addressing the issue through the judicial process.
“The anti-graft war should not leave any stone unturned, it should not have respect for sacred cows, and everybody should be treated as being equal before the law. Also, the loopholes in our law and the corruption in the judiciary are all there to frustrate the war against corruption so the Judiciary needs to be sanitized,” said the Executive Chairman.
“The federal government should also ensure that the anti-corruption agencies are strengthened; they should be given more funds, more personnel, equipments, training, and protection. Every case that is supposes to go to ICPC should be directed to the Commission and the ones meant for the EFCC should be thoroughly pursued by the EFCC. “Nigerians are interested in the case; even if the suspects escape justice, they should be able to ostracize and shame them.” Adeniran averred.