By ANDREW OJIEZEL
THE Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has called on the Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to intensify their investigations into how State governments utilised the bailout funds they received to offset workers’ outstanding salaries and allowances and the pensions of retirees.
President of TUC, Comrade Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Acting Secretary General, Comrade (Barr) Simeso Amachree, who made this call, last week, noted that TUC is “worried by the unbridled greed and quest for materialism demonstrated by most governors and politicians, especially at this time when the country is experiencing major economic crunch and workers are being owed their entitlements.
“The Congress is unimpressed by the porous explanations in the national dailies by some governors and their commissioners for information on how the monies were spent. As a labour centre we get first-hand information from our members in all the states of the federation. We therefore know that some State governments are being economical with the truth when they make statements purporting to have settled all their indebtedness to their workers. Even where a particular state government pays some of the outstanding entitlements, does that automatically translate to a liquidation of the entire debt? Indeed officers of the ICPC and EFCC should beware of this mischievous posturing in relevant bank transfer documents presented by the state governments.
“As a labour centre, the fight against corruption and its effects on the growth and development of our nation is of very special interest to us, as indeed it is to all other patriotic Nigerians. The success of that crusade is the insurance that most of us have to decent living, and the only guarantee that our nation will stand strong and take its place among the leading nations of the world.
Indicting the judiciary, TUC alleged that “We know that corruption pervades most establishments in Nigeria, private or public. Aside the political class, another major culprit is the justice system, especially the judiciary. As a result of corruption, justice is perverted and judgment is often delivered in favour of the guilty that are able to pay their way through. Little wonder that we rarely ever get to see any conviction in major corruption cases, yet the law courts are supposed to be the last bastion of hope for the common man and society. Thus we call on the President Buhari-led administration to do a major vetting and sanitization of the Nigerian judiciary to sanction and weed out all judges who have sold their consciences for the porridge of illegal gratification.”