It’s sweet remembering Gani Fawehinmi for promoting respect for human rights and good governance in Nigeria. But the malady he battled so hard are still around seven years after his death writes GBENGA OGUNDARE
SEVEN years have just gone by since Gani Fawehinmi surrendered his struggle to an implacable cancerforcing the fiery lawyer out of a life of passionate human rights campaigns and legal firestorm against oppressive state establishments and those who insists that social justice for women, children and the vulnerable masses is a foul mess that churns the guts of the political elites in Nigeria.
By now, only a few would remember that Nigeria’s leading editor, Dele Giwa was killed via a parcel bomb thirty years ago. And with History successfully expunged from the school curriculum in Nigeria too, not a few would have also forgotten that the late Gani openly accused the ruling military junta of General Ibrahim Babangida of masterminding the journalist’s murdera case he pursued up to the Supreme Court, and still insisted must be reopened for investigation.
Move over to 24 May, 2006 too. On that day ten years ago, Gani filed a suit at a Federal High Court in Abuja to challenge the Obasanjo Presidential Library project–alleging that the sitting president, then, acquired the multi-million edifice through corruption and abuse of power in flagrant violation of section 15(5) of the Constitution and the Code of Conduct for Public officials. the litany of Gani’s confrontation with lawlessness is as endless as the tumor dislocating the Nigerian system. But in its characteristic malignant style, the familiar cancer Gani fought until he died 5 September,2009mostly corruption, human rights abuse and disregard for the rule of law– remains intractable stilldefying every syndrome of political chemotherapy meant to halt its ravages.
Now with a budget padding allegation hanging over his head and the entire House of Representatives, Speaker Yakubu Dogara perhaps couldn’t have been any less a perfect metaphor for that cancerous tumour the late Gani didn’t live to fight.
A disgruntled Abdulmumin Jubrinblew the lid over the allegation that Dogara, his deputy Yusuff Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and Minority Leader Leo Ogor padded N40 billion into their constituency project votes, and those of other honourables.
“Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three others fraudulently short-changed the House of Representatives and abused their offices by unilaterally taking away 40 Billion Naira out of the N100 billion allocated for constituency projects,” the petitioned stated in part.
The 40-year-old Kano Rep may not come across as a saint either, but he was the first member of the National Assembly ever to look into the camera on Channels TV and admit that: “yes, we (National Assembly members) are corrupt…there is corruption in the House of Representatives, and not only is there corruption, there is institutional corruption.”
You would think that was scandalous enough to propel a transparent leader to step aside for some probes, right? But you are wrong. Another barrage of allegations and counter-allegations have since ensued. And as usual of Nigeria’s public officials, Dogara won’t step down for an investigation. “Resign for what?” He said during a chat with State House Correspondents at the presidential villa August 5.
Fuel Price Hike
Last May, federal government jerked up PMS pump price from N86:50 to N145. And Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, likes to make Nigerians believe that it was the best any sensitive government could do for the hapless masses.
Only that Gani would have thought otherwise if he were alive, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa insists. The lawyer was damn right. The last time pump price of fuel spiraled in his life time, Gani was actually unsparing. “The latest increase in petroleum products prices in Nigeria is the most ungodly and criminally insulting act of the Federal Government against the Nigerian people. And there is need for a response. Nigerians must revolt against it.”
Perhaps there would have been a street protests and legal fireworks if Gani were alive. But now, Nigerians are learning to swallow the bitter pill forced down their throat courtesy of PMB and his Change eeconomists.
Never mind that the constitution does not provide for a security votes for public officials dotting the corridors of power.you may not even find answers as to when and where security vote creeped into the political lexicon of Nigeria’s democracy. What is obvious and scandalous for that matter is that successive Presidents and Governors have plunked down princely sums for themselves as security vote against the rule of appropriation.
The monthly security vote, running into hundreds of millions of naira, has been criticized in the past as fuelling corruption since its deployments are never made public nor accounted for.
One time deputy speaker of the Osun House of Assembly, Honourable Niyi Owolade, told an online newspaper that the first monthly money Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun state traditionally demands and gets as soon as funds arrive from the federal government is N500 million, which he said is the governor’s share of the controversial security vote.
“From what we have, immediately money arrived from Abuja the governor would immediately call those in charge and demands and gets his N500 million before other issues are attended to. That is a firsthand charge. Can you imagine this kind of impunity in this age?
‘Our governor does not joke with his security votes and so are his counterparts across the country,” the lawmaker revealed.
Weep no more. There is no Gani around to sue the sticky fingers for plundering the treasury while their civil servants groan every month for lack of unpaid salary arrears.
Soft landing for Looters
President Muhammadu Buhari last June disappointed Nigerians again when he published details of funds traced to and recovered from corrupt former government officials. The old man refused to reveal names of the corrupt officials from whom the assets were recovered.
According to the Federal Ministry of Information, the Nigerian government successfully recovered a whopping N78,325,354,631.82, $185,119,584.61, £3,508,355.46 and €11, 250 between May 29, 2015 and May 25, 2016.
Also released were recoveries under interim forfeiture, which were a combination of cash and assets, during the same period: N126,563,481,095.43, $9,090,243,920.15, £2,484,447.55 and €303,399.17.
Anticipated repatriation from abroad also stands at: $321,316,726.1, £6,900,000 and €11,826.11.
The ministry also announced that 239 non-cash recoveries were made during the one-year period.
The non-cash recoveries are farmlands, plots of land, uncompleted buildings, completed buildings, vehicles and maritime vessels, the ministry said.
Well, the President didn’t promise to make his words his bond really. So Nigerians can keep guessing while the looters enjoy their ‘presidential cover’ for now…
Saraki forged Senate Standing Order to become Senate President
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo likes to refer to the National Assembly as a den of rogues and robbers. And June 9, 2015 proved the old farmer rightafter allegations of alteration to sections of the Senate Standing Rules threw up Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President.
The replacement of ‘open’ with the ‘secret’ voting system, among other amendments to the rules, have since set the stage for a legal firework with Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu in the eye of the storm.
The charge preferred against the forgers , signed by the principal state counsel, Federal Ministry of Justice, D. E. Kaswe, reads thus, “That you, on or about June 9, 2015, with fraudulent intent, forged the Senate Standing Orders 2011 (as amended) causing it to be believed as the genuine Standing Orders 2015 and circulated same for use during the inauguration of the 8th Senate when you knew that the said order was not made in compliance with the procedure for the amendment of the Senate orders. You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 364 of the Penal Code laws.
”well, with no sterner minds like the late Gani around to insist the law must run its cause, perverts like Saraki can afford to stand the law on its head and still hope to come out unscathed. He’s told Nigerians his trials will end nowhere already, so the public can only watch on….
For former President Goodluck Jonathan and his NSA, Sambo Dasuki, it takes a few lines scribbled on a piece of paper to clean out a country’s foreign reserves.
Between November 2014 and February 2015, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration, according to reports, lifted $336 million cash from the CBNmaking it Nigeria’s second biggest CBN lift after the late Sanni Abacha.
And just a memo Request for Fund for Special Services, referenced NSA/366/Sfired off from the ex-NSA Sambo Dasuki’s office, approved by Jonathan, pulled off the first of the two draw downs. “Further to our discussion, you are pleased requested to provide the sum of forty-seven million United States Dollars (USD47, 000,000.00) cash out of the Ten Billion Naira (N10, 000,000,000.00) and the balance in Euro to this office for special services,” the memo, which Premium Times obtained, stated.
The second withdrawal was authorized with another note. This one, dated February 25, 2015, came from the Nigeria Petroleum Investment Management Services, under the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation. It ordered the CBN to fork out 289.2 million greenbacks. “
Upon receipt of this mandate, please pay urgently the under-listed beneficiary the cash amount indicated,” the memo instructed. “Please debit CBN/JVCC Foreign Account No. 000000011658360 with the JP Morgan Chase, New York… and advise as soon as the payment is made.”
That was all, and the rest now is history. Apart from Dasuki who now cools off in incarceration, his principal under whose watch the plundering took place is a free man!
Girl Child Abuse
First it was the controversial Sexual Offences Bill passed at the autumn of the seventh National Assembly which tacitly offered the girl child as sex machine to any paedophile as long as she is above 10, the age limit set for potential victims of rape in the bill.
Also known as the Anti-Rape Bill, it stipulates a life imprisonment for any individual found guilty of rape or sexual intercourse with children under 11 years…as if on cue, 15-year-old Benue girl, Patience Paul was abducted March 2, 2016 by two neighbours and married off to a certain ‘Sarkin Musulumi’ in far flung Sokoto State. Ese Rita Oruru also has a baby girl now to show the world she indeed played the child bride in Kano State until 29 February, 2016 when former IGP Solomon Arase secured her release from her abductor.
Ese was actually a little over 13 years when she was lured to Kano in August 2015 by one Yunusa Dahiru, a tricycle operator.
Advocating the rights of the girl child is going to be difficult now with a feeble human rights community and predators like Senator Ahmed Yerima insisting that religion is above the Child Rights Act 2003 which frowns at a girl child marriag.