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Corruption: what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

Corruption: what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

Corruption: what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

By Tahir I Tahir Talban Bauchi

The present APC Administration is in a catch-22 situation as far as fighting corruption is concerned. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has since declared that he had inherited fPMB’s assets and liabilities, signaling that he is ready to embrace both the good and the bad from his predecessors government. The lofty projects including the AKK gas pipelines, the railway rejuvenation, both narrow gauge and standard gauge, the refurbished refineries, increase in Nigeria’s maritime borders, equipping the Nigerian Army especially the Nigerian Airforce, decimating boko haram etc are some of the laurels that have been passed on.

Like any other administration ofcourse there’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Some of those that were entrusted with the management of government’s resources in the previous govt, betrayed that trust and short changed the Nigerian people.

The sleaze uncovered in the ongoing CBN investigations are mind boggling, and it is more than clear now, that most public servants need psychological evaluation and treatment, when the preposterous amounts of money siphoned under different guises, are taken into account.

The former CBN boss had ways and means of manipulating approvals and policies, ofcourse not acting alone, to rape our common wealth, and divert it to private investments in banks and offshore accounts. Godwin Emefile was not alone and it would be heinous and hypocritical to prosecute him alone.

Seven months into this administration’s first year, there are allegations of massive corruption levelled against some of the President’s appointees. Haj. Halima Shehu of the Social Investment Programme is being accused of diverting 37 billion naira. Her supervising minister, Dr. Beta Edu is also being accused of siphoning 3 billion. There’s also the issue of placing 500 million naira in a private account of an official of her ministry, for disbursement to beneficiaries, which screams of lack of transparency and mismanagement of public funds. In the same ministry, Dr. Beta Edu’s predecessor, Haj. Sadiya Farouk is also being accused of mismanaging 37 billion naira. Haj. Halima has since been suspended and is being investigated by the EFCC. Hajiya Halima has had quite an ordeal from the onset, when her appointment by Mr. President was suppressed. Her name was substituted, up until when Mr. President got a wind of what had happened, and he intervened, and had her brought back as the CEO of the NSIPA.

There has also been this long running battle of moving her agency away from the Humanitarian Ministry to the Presidency.

Her tenure has been enmeshed with one too many challenges from the beginning, and one can say he saw this coming (her suspension).

If the Present administration is anywhere near gaining the trust and confidence of Nigerians, then it has to be seen to be fair in its fight against corruption.

A selective approach to the prosecution and persecution of individuals deemed to have embezzled public funds would amount to being clever by half, and condoning corruption.

No one is going to believe the government, if officials of the previous government are being prosecuted for the same crimes that present day officials are going scot free with. If the government is going to fight corruption, then its officials must also be under proper scrutiny to safeguard against the pilfering of public funds.

It the government does not check, pick, and sanction its corrupt officials, then it is condoning corruption, and creating a lawless society. There is a cable online report of the 3.3 billion dollars loan from Afrexim Bank, stating that Nigeria would be repaying about 12 billion dollars, along with a 2% agency fee.

There hasn’t been any clarification from NNPC or CBN on that report. Is it accurate or more business as usual? To be able to fight yesterday’s corruption, you have to be able to put a stop to today’s thievery.

Prosecuting Emefile is a good move in getting to the bottom of the sleaze that went on in the last administration. Inviting Sadiya for questioning over the alleged 37 billion naira is good for the fight against corruption. She can explain herself and defend whatever allegations are brought against her.

But shielding Beta Edu from the questions that have arisen is not a good omen for the fight against corruption.

In the course of Hajiya Halima’s investigations, some revelations were made over the handling of the finances of the agency under the Humanitarian Ministry.

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The coming to light of a 500 million naira warehoused into a private account for the social investment programme does not sit well for transparency and accountability. Dr. Beta Edu has been the poster girl of this administration, traversing the length and breath of the country, for one programme or the other, but if there are corrupt tendencies in the way the funds of the Ministry’s programmes are superintended, then she must be stopped in her tracks and probed. Was Hajiya Halima witch-hunted? Or was she downright corrupt? If there are individuals that are busy milking the meagre resources of a battered economy as we are made to understand, then they must be brought to book. The government must hang them out to dry, and send a proper message that those that were fingered to be corrupt in the previous government, along with those of the present day government, would be punished according to the dictates of our laws.

Otherwise, a selective justice approach will not only deprive the government of its citizens’ confidence, but of the much sought after investor confidence.

Corruption: what is good for the goose is good for the gander!

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