When Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, was overheard telling Queen Elizabeth II that Afghanistan and Nigeria were “fantastically corrupt countries, “and possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world,” the outraged by many Nigerian was deafening. The only person that was not surprised by the allegation was Nigeria’s own president, Muhammadu Buhari, who said he is not asking for apology from Cameron but a return of looted asset. Thanks to an exclusive investigative report by Saharareporters we now know why Buhari countermanded his press officer in admitting the allegation.
Saharareporters month long report on two decidedly fraudulent court judgments out of Justice AFA Ademola, Abuja Federal High courtroom is nothing more than a smoking gun for that fantastically corrupt tag. And it tarred whatever credibility Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Mohammed Adoke may have had. The scheme was fantastically concocted and fantastically orchestrated to divert the sum of $1.6 billion meant for the 774 local government council to private account, some of whom are senior advocates of Nigeria.
This perfidious scheme is further proof of widespread malfeasance of the Goodwill Ebele Jonathan’s misrule and further tarred his regime whatever goodwill he might have obtained through successful transition. Some have argued that we may never have known that such corruption existed in GEJ government if he did not hand over government peacefully but my retort to that is simple: why give him credit for something he is constitutionally mandated to do. What sort of mindset makes us turn a guy that presided over the massive theft of our national treasury to an hero just because he decided to honor the will of Nigerian electorates in a free and fair election he lost?
What still baffles me is the stone cold silence of the Nigerian Bar Association to the graft of his members indicted by the report. Not only did Adoke by passed the Federal Executive Council through his own personal fiat, Okonjo-Iweala actually authorized the payment of consultants who were never parties to the suit, while the local government who should have been beneficiaries were left holding an empty bag with zero dime! The compromise and filthy stench written all over this greed reaches to high heavens.
The last question is why did the local government never appeal the suit? Did they even know about the action? Are they complicit? Did the loot go round in “Ghana must go” bags typical of such misdeeds? All of these questions we will find out if the Buhari’s government muster the will to pursue this investigation. As for us in diaspora, it is time we challenge all the institutions abroad celebrating the empty achievements of Okonjo-Iweala, while ignoring her graft and complicity.
This fraudulent scheme should never be buried, many local governments in Nigeria could not pay their staff salaries, and many could not pick up garbage anymore. We need to form alliance with civil society to hire honest attorneys who will take this up on behalf of the citizens of our country. We should mobilize to force Nigeria Bar Association and the Legal Practitioner Privileges Committee to account for the misdeeds of its members. There has to be accountability, at the minimum, Justice Ademola must be disrobed and the legal practitioners who obtained payment fraudulently should be debarred and prosecuted. Otherwise we will remain a fantastically corrupt nation.