ANTI-CORRUPTION CRUSADE: Recovered Loots in Safe Hands of New Generation Looters — By Ogo-Oluwa Adelakun - Penangle | News Portal in Nigeria
Tue. Jun 25th, 2024
Spread the love

Countries around the world have testimonies to share regarding the good, the bad and ugly realities that dwell in society and Nigeria’s case is not any different.

On one hand you hear stories about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who recently shattered several glass ceilings to become the first female and first African to lead the World Trade Organization but on the other hand we usually would prefer to hide behind us, a litany of stories that have groomed perceptions that Nigeria is the rendezvous point for cybercriminals and a beacon of corruption at the highest levels of government. This is what some refer to in pidgin English as “Ojoro cancel Ojoro” because it feels like for every great good there seems to be an even greater evil that shrouds it with its shadow.

Nigeria battles many demons daily but it is clear that one of the biggest impediments to growth facing us, is the disgusting habit of looting the country’s treasury by public office holders, an art mastered by the likes of late Sani Abacha and  perfected by the likes the new crop of politicians like the former governor of delta state, James Ibori whose loot of 4.2 million pounds the UK government has agreed to return to Nigeria very soon.

Some have recieved this news as a welcome development because it sets a good precedence in the anti-corruption war. However, some want to know why the soon to be returned loot will be used for the second Niger Bridge , the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja-Kano Road as has been confirmed by the federal government when such could easily go into ideas that could help create jobs in a land where hunger is almost omnipresent.

Concerns raised by the Socio-Economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP) should bother every well meaning Nigerian especially when one closely examines the issues.

If SERAP’s claims are true that the federal government had said in 2020 that the abacha-loot of 600-million dollars was already earmarked for the aforementioned projects, then why are we about to inject another 4.2 million pounds into it. Those who fear that the second Niger Bridge, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Abuja -Kano road project have now become gifts that keep on giving, want to know the exact cost of these projects with good reason.

Some say it is on this premise that the rights body called on the federal government to urgently clarify how much of the Abacha recovered loot from Switzerland and the Island of Jersey has been spent on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and the Second Niger Bridge, and to also provide details of the outstanding work on the two projects.

A government that says it champions the fight against corruption should be able to give an account on what it plans to do with the funds returned to the country. It should be a stroll in the park to say the least.

Those who support the government’s move argue that in the end our ailing infrastructure would be better for it anyway so there is no cause for alarm. You know, the more money thrown at fixing these projects the better for the citizenry who have had to suffer or die from bad roads.

If we can admit that the thought of building and rehabilitating some of the country’s infrastructure sounds pleasing, then it should not  be harmlful to give Nigerians in other quaters who suspect foul play a chance to really understand what has been going on with the recovered abacha loot from the era of president Obasanjo till date.

In January of 2018 during an interview session with an Argentinian newspaper, the chair of Transparency International, Delia Ferreira said “People’s indifference is the best breeding ground for corruption to grow”. What this means is that if all we do is hear stories about returned loots and never ask questions that emphasize the importance of accountability and transparency, we would become complicit in corruption due to our negligence to the duties of the office of the citizen.

While it is a good thing that those who have conered our collective patrimony can no longer easily hide their ill gotten wealth, Nigerians deserve to know beyond reasonable doubt that they are not being taken for a fool’s trip once again.

176 Post Views

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *