An online medium, Scan News, in one of its reports recently reported that the United State government averred that “massive corruption” is still evident even under the present administration in Nigeria.
One would have expected that, like many other damning reports in the past, the swift justifications and explanations usually put forward by the media team of President Muhammadu Buhari, and other ill-informed party men should have, by now, doused or limited the torrent of publications of damning reports about activities and dispositions of the government to the real act of governance and democratic principles as being regularly espoused by the leadership and politicians alike.
But the reality on ground beats one’s imagination that nothing has really changed, despite all the rhetoric coming from the seat of power. What we have seen is vicious clampdown on perceived opponents.
It looks as though the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Nigeria Police Force are not in town in the light of recent $5m bribery, kick-back video allegation against the governor of Kano State, Alhaji Abdullahi Ganduje.
It’s saddening to hear from the two bodies that they were not aware of the trending allegation. Whereas, hardly had Benue Governor, Samuel Ortom, decamped from the All Progressive Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, that the security agencies in a commando-like-manner, swooped on him. In fact, they attempted to impeach him. They suspended the state’s bank accounts, a matter that is currently being contested in the law court to determine the legality or otherwise of such action.
The observation, according to Scan News, was stated in the US 2017 Human Rights Report. It said the Federal Government led by Buhari failed to implement laws against corrupt practices.
The report added that although the government took steps to investigate alleged human rights abuses, “impunity remained widespread at all levels of government.”
It said in part, “Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security services. The constitution provides immunity from civil and criminal prosecution for the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors while in office.”
The report also faulted the operations of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in prosecuting corruption charges. It said the Commission failed to follow due process.
It cited the case of the embattled former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki, who has been in custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since 2015, despite court orders demanding his release.
The report listed the most significant human rights issues during the year to include: “Extrajudicial and arbitrary killings; disappearances and arbitrary detentions; torture, particularly in detention facilities, including sexual exploitation and abuse; looting, and destruction of property; civilian detentions in military facilities, often based on flimsy evidence.”
The list also included, “denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and movement; official corruption; lack of accountability in cases involving violence against women and children; trafficking in persons; and early and forced marriages.”
The report also berated Nigeria’s judicial system, saying it was compromised during the period under review. This ideally should be a source of concern to all.
If the judiciary, an arm of the government usually referred to as the last hope of the common man is now being tagged – ‘corrupt’, it is most unfortunate. It simply means Nigerians, nay common people are in for tough time. Since the executive has failed in its responsibilities, the legislature, merely a shadow of its very self, and now the judiciary, with such an uncomplimentary tag; where should the people put their trust? Where lies the hope of the down trodden in our land? No matter how good intention the government may have, forces around the seat of power usually won’t let such good intentions see the light of the day.
In all of these, is there anything new? Something that’s totally different from what people, concerned minds have said over and over about the state of affairs in the country?
The only visible difference between the indices listed in the report and what concerned individuals have been saying all along is simply the medium. Nothing new. Nothing has changed.
For instance, President Buhari, few months to the expiration of his four-year tenure has just realised the need to put in an Executive Order barring corrupt elements in the country from travelling abroad. As good and laudable this intervention may be, one wonders why he waited till this moment before coming up with such a proclamation.
Does the govt of Buhari realised his administration would have received massive support and accolades if such a pronouncement had come, say when he was two, three months in office in 2015?
Does he realised that people would naturally have taken him serious if he had lived up to expectation at the inception of his regime?
Sure, they must have seen it that this his eleventh hour proclamation has raised more questions, dusts, doubts than expected or imagined.
The fight against corruption should go beyond witch-hunting, selective fighting and prosecution, and the general macabre dance by the security agencies – all in a bid to score cheap political point.
The right framework and policies should be formulated and implemented with vigour; without bias and favour, and ultimately at the right, appropriate time.
This idea of speeding up performance when elections are around the corner is nothing but a hypocritical, deceptive lifestyle and a great disservice to the people of the country. The resilience nature of Nigerians should not be taken for granted.
Government must sit up and really effect real governance in the country. As we speak right now, the much talked about 2018 Budget is a mirage. Nothing concrete has been achieved so far. Yet, those who are supposed to drive it are busy campaigning for 2019 elections.
Can the Federal Government genuinely, sincerely tell the whole world the performance levels of 2016, 2017 and 2018 appropriations?
There’s need for drastic change, no doubt. Things just can’t continue this way, else, Nigeria is doomed.