ICPC Versus Thieving Public Officers

ICPC Versus Thieving Public Officers
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By Sanusi Muhammad

The ongoing efforts by the independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) to recover what were looted and stolen including diversion of public properties from itchy-fingered politicians and their collaborators in various strata of government deserves support through whistle blowing and commendation.

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From the records, ICPC has so far recovered over N900 billion from unnamed criminally minded politicians in strategic positions in government.Quoting Prof. Sadiq Radda, executive secretary of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, some of the indicted thieves are national lawmakers who converted constituency projects into cash thereby denying their respective constituencies the benefits of those projects.

According to Radda, ICPC is determined to take the fight against corruption to the states and the local governments, saying, “People will be accountable and must be accountable. No state governor will go free under the guise of security votes. People must be accountable”.

The sudden discovery and recovery of stolen funds by ICPC are commendable and encouraging. I also find the decision of the Commission to take the fight against corruption to the states and local governments long overdue. The matter of constituency projects under the control of lawmakers has been a source of controversy since the policy became part of the governing style of the federal government in 1999.

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The core of the controversy, especially from the perspectives of the executive arm, and from the civil society has been the proneness of legislators performing executive functions to corruption, and its distortion of the principle and practice of separation of powers.In addition, there have been many instances of irregularities in the management of constituency projects to illustrate the fears of critics of the policy.

For example, in August 2019, several equipments, medical items and agricultural machineries purchased for constituency projects were found in the possession of some senators. It is thus remarkable that the ICPC has recovered N9billion during transition from one administration to another, and at a time that President Buhari has recommitted his administration to fighting corruption harder than ever.But funny enough, some current and former members of the House of Representatives are kicking against the efforts of ICPC and that of NFIU probe of constituency projects for fear of the obvious.

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Those thieving legislators fear the denting of their reputation and may militate against the continuity of constituency projects. The thieves are plotting to force the hands of the agencies to discontinue the ongoing probes midway.

Fortunately enough for Nigerians and despite the moves from the high profile and shameless thieves with dented reputations, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, appears more interested in the success of the ongoing ICPC and NFIU probe than siding, his colleagues for business as usual.For instance, on June 20th, a group of frustrated youths from Bauchi South senatorial zone in Bauchi state operating on the platform of Bauchi Youth Advocate For Good Governance, addressed a crowded press conference at the tomb of the late prime minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in Bauchi to express their disappointment in the poor service representation of their senator, Lawal Yahaya Gumau who they described as unfit that deserves an immediate recall for the safety of the senatorial zone.

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According to the press statement signed by Abdullahi Ibrahim as the zonal vice chairman of the group, that Sen. Lawal despite his glaring incapacitation and exposure is yet to even understand the essence of his being in the senate as a representative of seven local governments. “Since he was elected to the senate, he has not for one day spoken at plenary for whatever purpose. He is a mere bench warmer that hardly understand the business of the senate and why he was elected. He has exhibited his incapacitation that should not be allowed to continue.

His predecessor, the late senator Ali Wakili was a model “We have concluded all arrangements to kick-start his recall to pave way for the emergence of a better and more qualified person on the platform of any party”.

Aljazirahnews


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