The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has agreed that “the reported probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of the past governments, starting with the government of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s $16 billion power project.
SERAP noted that it is an opportunity for the anti-graft agency to show that former heads of state and other high-ranking public officials are not immune from investigation and prosecution for allegations of grand corruption in Nigeria.
“This probe is something, which SERAP has consistently called for. Nigerians have for far too long been denied justice and the opportunity to get to the bottom of why they continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.”
According to reports, the EFCC has begun the probe of the $16 billion power project of the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. While some put the exact cost of the project at $16 billion others say it is $13.8 billion. Key contractors and about 18 top public officers allegedly involved in the power project scam during the Obasanjo administration, and those of former Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, may also be arrested.
SERAP, in a statement signed on Sunday by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “The probe is timely, especially coming at a time of citizens’ frustrations at persistent allegations of corruption and the impacts on their human rights. Investigating allegations of grand corruption and prosecuting former heads of state and other high-ranking officials where such allegations show relevant and sufficient admissible evidence would address the grave travesty that has for many years occurred in the power sector.”
The organization also added: “The EFCC should urgently invite anyone suspected to be involved for questioning. The agency should also expand the probe to cover the alleged squandering of a total of N11 trillion in the power sector between 1999 and 2015, and the unresolved case of the reported missing $12.4 billion oil windfall, allegedly spent between 1988 and 1993 by the government of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida.”
“The EFCC has the full support of Nigerians in its efforts to hold high-ranking public officials to account for grand corruption, and if consistently, fairly and diligently pursued, this probe would contribute to ending impunity for corruption, and to mobilizing and encouraging youth civic engagement in the anti-graft fight in the country. SERAP stands ready to work with the EFCC in pursuing all allegations of grand corruption.
“SERAP notes that former presidents have routinely faced corruption charges in countries like Iceland, Kyrgyzstan, Brazil, Montenegro, South Korea, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Slovakia, Peru, and Mauritius, and the probe by the EFCC would mean this list would grow even further to include Nigeria.
“Impunity for grand corruption will continue as long as high-ranking public officials go largely unpunished for their alleged crimes. It is by pursuing these allegations and taking the evidence before the court that the truth will be revealed and justice best served. Addressing impunity in the power sector should be total. This would help to further public perception of fairness and thoroughness.
“Lack of regular electricity supply in the country had occasioned many other problems, including lack of access to potable water. The failure by successive governments to tell Nigerians the truth about allegations of corruption in the power sector amounts to a failure to ensure that electricity services are progressively made available, on the basis of equality and non-discrimination.
“In November 2016, SERAP petitioned the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, urging him to probe the alleged spending of the $16 billion. In April 2017, SERAP sent President Muhammadu Buhari an open letter, advising him to take allegations of corruption in the power sector to the international criminal courts to ensure that justice is served.
“SERAP has also called on Mr Buhari to refer the alleged $16 billion spending on electricity between 1999 and 2007 to the EFCC. Mr Buhari subsequently raised questions over the issues, saying that ‘one of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars, not naira, on power. Where is the power? Where is the power?
“In August 2017, SERAP published a report, ‘From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector’, which revealed how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered under the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan”, the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the said report reads: “The Obasanjo’s administration spent $10 billion on NIPP with no results in terms of increase in power generation. $13.278,937,409.94 was expended on the power sector in eight years while unfunded commitments amounted to $12 billion.
“The Federal Government then budgeted a whopping N16 billion for the various reforms under Liyel Imoke (2003 to 2007) which went down the drains as it failed to generate the needed amount of electricity or meet the set goals. Imoke was alleged to have personally collected the sum of $7.8 million for the execution of the contract for the construction of the Jos-Yola Transmission Line, which was never executed. There were documented/reported allegations of corruption against Imoke that fizzled-out shortly thereafter.”
COZA Pastor, Fatoyinbo asks court to dismiss Dakolo’s suit, demands N50m
Senior pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, has asked the FCT High Court to dismiss the suit filed by Photographer, Mrs Busola Dakola.
Contained in an application filed through his lawyers, Pastor Fatoyinbo also demanded that he is awarded a sum of N50 million as damages.
According to the application, he called for the dismissal of the suit on the grounds that it is incompetent and frivolous.
Aregbesola charges governors to use modern technology in tackling insecurity
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, on Wednesday charged state governors especially the North East and North Western Zones of the country, to emulate the Kaduna State Government’s model of tackling insecurity through the deployment of modern technology.
The minister emphasized that the use of modern technology will help the Federal Government’s efforts and security personnel in combating all forms of crime and criminality in the zones.
Aregbesola made the call in his office in Abuja, when he received in audience the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufa’i who paid him a courtesy visit
According to the former Osun state governor , crime has become complex the world over and that can best be tackled through the deployment of modern technology to assist the security personnel deployed to ensure the security of lives and property in the country.
“Through the use of modern technology, the menace of banditry, cattle rustling, kidnapping and other vices bedeviling the country will be put behind within the shortest possible time”, he assured.
Speaking further, he noted that this will influence the development of an effective strategy on a regional basis for curtailing the menace of insecurity and its attendant challenges facing the nation, especially in the North-Western Zone.
Aregbesola who said that security is the key to effective, meaningful and social interaction, stressed that the economy of any nation depends on its internal security.
While commending the Governor for seeking collaboration with the Federal Government in the fight against insecurity, the Minister stressed that the state of insecurity facing the country in recent times was a national challenge that demands a collective effort to stem, and therefore urged the Governors to continue to collaborate with the Federal Government in its efforts to provide safety and security to Nigerians.
Ogbeni Aregbesola lauded Governor El-Rufai for his support to the State Commands of the Security Agencies under the Ministry in Kaduna State through the provision of conducive atmosphere to enable them to contribute effectively towards the protection of lives and property in the state.
He reiterated that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is committed to the provision of security to Nigerians in order to encourage economic development and revitalization of the economy as well as entrench transparency in the system so as to move the country to the next level.
Earlier in his remarks, the Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai informed that he was in the Ministry to first, congratulate the Minister on his recent appointment and to seek for collaboration on how best to tackle the spate of insecurity in the state.
The governor said that the Federal Government has done creditably well towards restoring security along the Kaduna-Abuja Expressway through the deployment of security personnel from all relevant Ministries, Departments, and Agencies that are in charge of ensuring security in the country.
El-Rufai expressed the State Government’s desire to continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Interior and other security agencies in the fight against insecurity, noting that, Kaduna State Government is willing to give its necessary assistance that will support the security agencies in combating crime and criminality in the state and its environs.
The Governor who stated that the state was now safe, compared to the situation in a few months back, commended the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for its dogged determination to fight against crime, describing it as one of the best security agencies in the country.
Lagos: Woman arrested for stabbing husband to death over daughter’s birthday party
Homicide detectives from Surulere Division in Lagos State have arrested Stella Peter, for allegedly stabbing her husband, Bala Haruna to death following an argument over their daughter’s one-year birthday.
An argument, as gathered ensued between them which turned violent and the woman used a kitchen knife to stab the man in the back which led to his death.
The woman, Stella who confessed to the crime, accused the man of refusing to release money for their daughter’s birthday party.
The Police Spokesperson, Bala Elkana confirmed this in a statement on Tuesday, adding that the couple were not actually married but lived together at 2 Tejuosho Avenue, Surulere Lagos, for three years and have a baby who just turned one.
Homicide detectives from the State Criminal Investigation Department Yaba have taken over and commenced an investigation into the case and the suspect will be charged to court for murder.
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