Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila over “their failure to publish reports of all completed public hearings and corruption probes by the National Assembly since 1999, and failure to disclose the number of probes that have resulted in any indictment of suspects, and to name such suspects.”
The suit followed recent public hearings by the National Assembly on corruption allegations in ministries, departments and agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). Reports of several public hearings and corruption probes have remained secret, and the allegations unresolved.
In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1065/2020 filed last week at the Federal High Court, Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr Lawal and Mr Gbajabiamila to send all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes to appropriate anti-corruption agencies to consider if there is sufficient admissible evidence to pursue prosecution.”
SERAP is also seeking: “an order for leave to apply for judicial review and an order of mandamus to direct and/or compel Dr Lawal and Mr Gbajabiamila to widely publish all reports of completed public hearings and corruption probes by the Senate and the House of Representatives, and to disclose the number and names of any indicted suspects since 1999.”
SERAP is asking the court for “an order of mandamus to direct and compel Dr Lawal and Mr Gbajabiamila to sponsor a resolution to stop lawmakers from directly getting involved in the execution of projects by MDAs, and to ensure the proper and effective exercise of their oversight functions over corruption allegations including in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).”
The suit followed SERAP’s Freedom of Information (FoI) requests dated 25 July, 2020, stating that: “The most effective way to deter corruption is to make the cost of engaging in these types of acts higher than the rewards. This end can only be accomplished by making public the reports and pursuing public accountability for corrupt acts.”
In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “The court ought to compel Dr Lawal and Mr Gbajabiamila to publish the reports of hearings and probes and to send the reports to appropriate anti-corruption agencies for prosecution. Granting the reliefs sought would bolster public trust and confidence in the lawmakers’ oversight functions, and dispel the perception that many of the hearings and probes are politically motivated and serve personal interest, rather than the general public interests.”
SERAP is also arguing that: “Nigerians have the right to information, as guaranteed under Section 39(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, which the country has ratified and domesticated as part of its national laws.”
The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Opeyemi Owolabi, read in part: “There is no legally justifiable reason why the information should not be made widely available to Nigerians, and why the prosecution of indicted suspects should not be pursued, where there is relevant admissible evidence.”
“Public officers are mere custodians of public records. There is legitimate public interest in the publication of the reports of these public hearings and probes. The public hearings and probes can only serve as effective mechanisms to prevent and combat corruption if their reports are widely published.”
“The exercise of oversight functions and powers by the National Assembly to conduct public hearings and corruption probes in MDAs should be regarded as a public trust. The National Assembly has a unique opportunity to enhance the integrity of its oversight functions on corruption matters in particular, and other constitutional roles, in general.”
“Both the Senate and House of Representatives have over the years conducted several public hearings and corruption probes to expose pervasive problem of corruption in MDAs. Publishing the reports and pursuing prosecution would give Nigerians greater confidence that their lawmakers can use their constitutional oversight functions to address corruption in Nigeria.”
“Lack of transparency and accountability about the systemic and widespread corruption allegations in MDAs and among high-ranking public officials has continued to create a culture of impunity, and to have negative impacts on socio-economic development, as well as access of Nigerians to public goods and services, including quality education, adequate healthcare, clean water and regular electricity supply.”
Scrap Or Restructure NIDCOM Now, Oduduwa Group Urges FG Over Threats By Diaspora To National Security
The Coalition of Oduduwa Descendants (COD) has urged the Federal Government to totally scrap or restructure the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) over threats to national security by some Nigerians in the Diaspora.
According to the Oduduwa group, this has become paramount following hate campaigns by some disgruntled elements abroad , endorsing negative publicity about Nigeria.
The COD made these known at a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
Speaking on behalf of the group, National Coordinator, Lekan Ekundayo, said NIDCOM has failed in its mandates thereby discouraging many investors, exaggerating the security situation and underreporting the success made in the fight against insecurity.
The group noted that many campaign of calumny against the country abroad are spearheaded by these Nigerians abroad.
According to COD, these criminal elements hiding abroad have also encouraged enemies of the Nigerian state like Boko Haram, insurgents and other economic saboteurs to continue to wreak havoc on the country.
Instead of promoting the image of the nation abroad, the Yoruba group said NIDCOM has become the refinery for the processing of crude, scathing critics and all forms of negativism against Nigeria.
The Oduduwa descents, however, urged the FG to scrap NIDCOM or restructure it inorder to focus on its “fundamental objectives of harnessing our human resources for good and not for the destruction of Nigeria”.
It also advised the commission to focus on researches that would facilitate development in Nigeria in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture and medicine.
Read full statement below:
Gentlemen of the press,
We are addressing you today on an issue of urgent national importance.
This has to do with the way our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora have constantly been portraying Nigeria in negative light thereby influencing our citizens and other citizens of the world to hate our dear country, Nigeria.
We are also alarmed by the official consent given to these hate campaigns by the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, which is like given an official endorsement to negative publicity about Nigeria.
Going by the kinds of texts and literature coming from our kindred in the Diaspora, one would assume that there is absolutely nothing good about Nigeria and that this country is only fit to be discarded and dumped in the refuse bin.
Saying anything positive about Nigeria is now considered demeaning and for one to belong to the class of individuals seen as deep intellectuals, one must attack the Nigerian government and speak of happenings in the country as the worst in human history.
It is this kind of mindset that gave birth and nurtured the self hating and seditious sentiments of the likes of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu of IPOB who kept referring to Nigeria as a zoo and had wanted to start an insurrection until he was checkmated by the Nigerian Government.
These set of people have become in the words of Prof. Toyin Falola, “like the Europeans in 19th century Africa, the colonizers, who saw nothing good about the continent.”
According to a United Nations 2017 report, there are at least 1.24 million migrants from Nigeria in the Diaspora but that this figure is likely to be higher in 2018 and 2019 with the recent trend in migration from Nigeria.
These include people who have done their basic and tertiary education in Nigeria but are unwilling to contribute their quota for the development of the country and have set their minds only on looking for greener pastures elsewhere.
These are people who have benefited from the free primary and basic education programmes of previous Nigerian governments, enjoyed various forms of scholarships at the tertiary levels and were treated with high respect and dignity and given choice appointments upon graduation from the universities.
These are the same set of people that have now turned their backs on the very country that gave them these opportunities.
So, as these Nigerians who benefited from the Nigerian system continue in their hate campaigns, the damages they’re doing to the well being of the country is better imagined.
By their actions and comments, they have discouraged many investors from coming into Nigeria as they exaggerate the security situation in the country and underreport the success made in the fight against insecurity.
Unfortunately, their comments influence other unsuspecting citizens not to believe in themselves but begin to think that nothing good can come out of Nigeria and that the only way they can make it is to escape to other countries.
They have encouraged corruption in the public sevice because people who are reading them have come to believe that the only way they can make it is tosteal from the public till and send their children to schools abroad no matter the cost even as Nigeria offers better opportunities in that regard.
The utterances and actions of these Nigerians in the Diaspora has stalled the growth of public institutions in Nigeria as their self hate sermons has encouraged a lackadaisical attitude towards everything the country represents.
Worse still, it has encouraged enemies of the Nigerian State like the Boko Haram terrorists, insurgents and other economic saboteurs to continue to wreak havoc on the country in the misguided belief that they share common passion with Nigerians in the Diaspora.
Their attitude has also served to dampen the morale of security agencies who are in the field putting their lives on the line to secure the country as troops go home with the belief that they’re not appreciated.
THE ROLE OF NIDCOM
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, which was created to provide for the engagement of Nigerians in Diaspora in the policies, projects and participation in the development of Nigeria and for the purpose of utilising the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in Diaspora towards the overall socio-economic, cultural and political development has unfortunately allowed itself to be used by these see -nothing -good -about-Nigeria set of Nigerians.
Rather than adhere strictly to its role of fostering development, NIDCOM has now become the refinery for the processing of crude but scathing criticisms and all forms of negativism against Nigeria.
The Commission, rather than insist on the positive aspect of its role is lending itself to the projection of negative images about Nigeria and this is most unfortunate.
THE WAY OUT
NIDCOM must be called to order and reminded of its fundamental objectives of harnessing our human resources for good and not for the destruction of Nigeria.
It should not allow itself to be used by self-seekng opportunists to paint the country in bad light.
If the Commission refuses to fall in line, it should be restructured and reconstituted to allow only those with passion to develop the country come on board as the Commission has failed by becoming an avenue for disgruntled elements to congregate against the interest of the entire country.
Nigerians in the Diaspora on the other hand, should focus on researches that would facilitate development in Nigeria in the fields of science, engineering, agriculture and medicine and not jusy to be regurgitating worn out political theories that have become stale and are no longer applicable in the new world order.
They should be making remittances home not just to build hotels and mansions in their villages for camping young girls but to build industries for the employment of youths.
Nothing stops Nigerians in the Diaspora from building basic infrastructure like schools and hospitals to complement what the government is doing.
They should also use their various positions abroad to project Nigeria as an emerging world economy to woo foreign investors and they should stop magnifying the country’s challenges as there is no nation without challenges.
Finally, we call on Nigerians in the Diaspora to in the words of Prof. Falola remember that, “You are supposed to empower your people, not destroy them. Statements to uplift and upgrade are different from statements to ridicule. We all criticise, even we criticise family members, but not that we want to push them to the mouth of the lion.”
Facts And Figures: 21 Reasons GYB Stands Out
The unusual emergence of a 40years old unusual Guy as the Chief Executive Officer superintending the unique State of Kogi from LUGARD HOUSE, Lokoja was a stunner. Yahaya Adoza Bello was in every mold different from the pack, having been in Politics for less than two years before he became the Governor of the Confluence State of Kogi, and that reality set the stage for an unusual protocol in governance.
Born on the 18th day of June, 1975 and sworn into office as the Executive Governor of Kogi State on the 27th day of January, 2016, the Youngman popularly referred to as GYB an acronym for Governor Yahaya Bello, is a true leader of men/women, a patriot and a credible manager of resources.
Vilified, lampooned, hated and castigated by the political establishment on account of his unusual emergence on our political kaleidoscope, GYB refused to join issues with his traducers but to silence his critics through unequaled service delivery. Harassed and harangued by Godfathers, he chose silence deciding to endear himself to all through responsible and responsive leadership. And troubled by career politicians at home and across the nation, he chose hard work over propaganda, and that is the enigma called GYB.
Understanding the enormous challenge on him being one of the foremost Youths in leadership, he refused to deploy propaganda in the discharge of his watch over Kogi State, but to speak through profound service delivery, and here we present the 21 things that qualify GYB for higher office, indeed the 21 REASONS GYB STANDS OUT.
1. GYB inherited a State that was largely divided on ethnic, religious and cultural grounds, but undeterred he chose to unite his people indiscriminate of the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and multi-cultural tendencies of the State. The Igalas, Igbiras, Okuns, Owore, Owe et al found in this enigma a worthy son. This he did by locating infrastructures across the State, appointing the best hands indiscriminate of ethnic or religious differences, and being a Muslim he is the first Governor to build a CHAPEL for Christian worship in the Government House. GYB believes that though tongues, faith and tribes may differ that Kogi State is ONE. And he will replicate same in higher office.
2. GYB has made Kogi the safest State in the North Central and indeed the entire North through the proactive cooperation of his government with all the layers of National Security and indeed the setting up of a very effective Kogi State Vigilante Service. The records are visible, that being the Confluence State and the doorway to the South from the North and vice versa, Kogi State today has the least tale of violent crimes, kidnappings and banditry, thanks to the Astute watch of GYB Governor Yahaya Bello (GIVE YOUR BEST), the one who GIVES HIS BEST.
3. GYB is a bridge builder, he has seamlessly integrated both the OLD and the YOUNG in the governance of the State, little wonder Kogi has become a spectacle in peaceful coexistence. Nigeria has got something coming from this Youngman.
4. GYB is an unblemished Patriot, he has in an uncommon way shown how doggedly he loves his people, Kogi State and indeed Nigeria by insisting that we interrogate the COVID19Post pandemic, and stop the now prevalent copy and post approach to the scourge. He has spoken boldly against another possible lockdown of the economy because ‘we must first live to fight a disease’. And Kogi State has apparently remained COVID19 free because of the unusual approach of the State to the pandemic. GYB is a leader that thinks outside the Box, and a patriot per excellence, he is indeed one largely deserving of higher office.
5. GYB inherited months of backlog of unpaid salaries in his first term for which he was largely lampooned, vilified, hated and castigated, but rather than fight or disparage his critics, he went to work, today Kogi State does not owe a worker, and today KOGI STATE effectively pays her pensioners.
6. GYB’s State of Kogi leads the chart of States that has serviced and reduced her Local debts; indeed the Debt Management Office has it on record that Kogi State has recently reduced its local debts by a whooping 51Billion, and the State next on the Chart by about 20billion. The silent Achiever Governor Yahaya Bello has GOT YOUR BACK and he wants to do the same for Nigeria.
7. GYB’s Kogi State led the pack in the total resources that accrued to the Nation during the last COVID19 lockdown because Kogi State maintained very minimal lockdown, and remains the State with the least COVID19 mention.
8. GYB is a study in leadership, and a course in proactive and progressive service delivery.
THINK GYB FOR NIGERIA.
This expose’ on the Youngman whose acronym GYB stands for GOT YOUR BACK, GIVE YOUR BEST and GROW YOUR BASE is the story of a leader with passion, competency and capacity, and one deserving of the trust of higher office.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Chabor Musa Nyamgul Jnr.
Convener GOT YOUR BACK NIGERIA (GYB NIGERIA).
Armed Forces Remembrance Day: Pigeons Released By Buhari Refuse To Fly
The doves, otherwise known as white pigeons, released by the President, Muhammadu Buhari, at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day ceremony, refused to fly despite multiple attempts by the President thereby sparking a debate on social media on Friday.
The President had opened the birdcage at the National Arcade, picked up one of the doves, and thrown it into the air but the bird landed atop the cage and refused to fly.
Buhari, who was eager to let the white pigeons fly, opened the roof of the cage in a bid to send them all out but the birds remained adamant and decided to sit on top of the cage’s roof.
The President, who appeared tired of trying, soon left the birds and returned to his seat. Moments after the President had left, however, some of the birds flew.
The ritual of releasing doves is to commemorate the life of a departed loved one and is common at significant events like funerals or memorials. It also signifies peace.
Studies show that domesticated doves which are used to living in cages are not always keen on flying.
In 2014, the doves refused to fly when former President Goodluck Jonathan freed them. The Spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry Enugu, Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the incident at the time as a sign that God had abandoned Jonathan.
The refusal of the birds to fly on Friday, however, sparked thousands of comments on social media.
A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Adamu Garba, said the birds should be eaten if they cannot do what they were trained to do.
“The pigeons are tired and overtime became lazy, they don’t want to fly the spirit of The Nigerian Flag. We should roast them at Suya joint and deploy Crowwe for action,” he said.
Social media personality, Morris Monye, said the Department of State Services would have arrested the pigeons for embarrassing the President if they could.
“I guarantee you… If it was possible, the DSS would arrest the pigeons for such an affront on the President. But really, is there peace, harmony, and security in the land?” he asked.
A former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, who is a known critique of the President, also tweeted, “Hmmm. Even the pigeons in Nigeria.”
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