During President Muhammadu Buhari’s election campaigns in 2015 and 2019, he vowed to fight against corruption. However, it appears that there is really not much going on as regards the anti corruption war he waged. There is still a large scale of corrupt practices going on within the government and the President appears to be clueless about this. The revelations of this past weekend have shown that there is barely any anti corruption war going on.
In Ondo State, the political gladiators are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to outdo each other. Here is a round of the biggest news in the polity over the past few days.
The Hunter Becomes the Haunted
Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of Nigeria’s anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was arrested last week. He has been detained since then as he continues to appear before a panel probing allegations of corruption and insubordination against him. The allegations were made by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami.
Mr Magu was also formally suspended from office on Friday last week, according to a statement by Mr Malami’s office. Magu, has again been accused of allegedly failing to give a proper account of missing 332 out of the 836 recovered real estate properties in March 2018.
A report by the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who confirmed the development, indicating that the unaccounted property was worth billions of Naira. The embattled EFCC boss has also been unable to account for the interest generated from N550bn cash recovered from 2015 to 2020.
The panel is separate from the panel led by a former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, who are currently probing Magu and other top officials of the agency.
Another Buhari Minister Enmeshed in Corruption Allegations
The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is wallowing in allegations of massive corruption. The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, and the immediate past Managing Director of the interventionist agency, Joy Anunieh, have engaged one another in damning allegations against each other. The exchanges got worsened last weekend, following revelations at the ongoing open investigative hearing by the Senate, regarding the alleged reckless spending of N40 billion.
Addressing journalists outside the venue of the hearing, Nunieh had alleged: “Nobody makes any payment in NDDC without Godswill Akpabio’s approval. When we first came, on the day of the inauguration, he said to me in the car, ‘Madam MD’, if you don’t do what I say, the same pen with which I used to sign your paper, is the same pen I will use to remove you.”
She continued: “He said the first thing I should do when I get to Port Harcourt is to change the dollars in the NDDC account. I was scared to do that, and he claimed that I have a poverty mentality. That I am afraid of money.”
But denying maltreating her, the immediate past two-term governor of Akwa Ibom State declared: “She was not relieved of her appointment because of corruption. She was relieved of her appointment because of insubordination.
“My ministry, which supervises her, wrote seven letters to her, but she never responded to one.” He added: “The late Chief of Staff to the President (Mallam Abba Kyari) sent a petition from the anti-corruption agency stating that she did not have the requisite qualifications to work as acting MD of a commission.”
Also, the sum of N1.5bn was used as COVID-19 relief fund for staff of the Niger Delta Development Commission. Kemebradikumo Pondei, Acting Managing Director of the commission, said. Pondei disclosed this at the investigative hearing on the N40bn corruption allegation against the commission. The Senate had on May 5th set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to investigate the financial recklessness of the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC.
Ondo State Chief Judge Declines to Set-up Impeachment Panel
The fierce political battle in Ondo state also took another twist over this past weekend. The Governor of the state, Rotimi Akeredolu and his entranged Deputy, Agboola are contesting in the governorship election later this year. Since they parted ways, the governor has tried to impeach Ajayi but his effort keeps meeting brickwalls.
The impeachment process against Ondo State deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, suffered a major set back as the chief judge of the state, Oluwatoyin Akeredolu, faulted the process.
Akeredolu in a letter dated July 9, 2020, declared that the request earlier made by the state Assembly to her for the constitution of a 7-man probe panel didn’t meet the constitutional requirement. 14 out of 26 members of the House, on Tuesday last week, had signed a notice of impeachment of the deputy governor.
They ordered the judiciary to constitute a panel to probe him. But nine members of the Assembly kicked against the impeachment, while Ajayi had also sought a court injunction to stop the process.