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Nigerian-American Leadership Council welcomes Buhari to Washington; pushes for new standard of governance

By News Express on 21/07/2015

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The Nigerian-American Leadership Council (NALC) yesterday welcomed President Muhammadu Buhari to Washington for meetings with US officials and some members of the Nigerian Diaspora, including executives of NALC.

“While the Council enthusiastically welcomes President Buhari to Washington, the Council intends to seize the opportunity of an impending interactive session to brief President Buhari on the Council’s initiatives, and perspective on pertinent issues in Nigeria, as well in US-Nigeria relations,” NALC said in a statement made available to News Express by e-mail.

“The Council is aware that security will top the agenda in the various meetings and forums during this visit.  However, the Council also plans to call serious attention to the corruption in the public and private sectors in Nigeria, and to the impunity of the ruling class in Nigeria,” the statement added. Harping on the need for new standard of governance and service delivery in Nigeria, NALC said:

Unchecked Corruption in National Institutions

It is the Council’s factually based opinion, that unchecked corruption in the past few years in Nigeria, permeated some sacred institutions; including the security services, and the judiciary.  Corruption in the security services and the judiciary go into the heart of Nigeria’s ability to thrive as a unified democracy. If unchecked, corruption could create a “free-for-all” cesspool that could drive Nigeria to the ground.

Security Agencies, the Judiciary and the Rule of Law

The judiciary and the security agencies should be totally immune from corrupt practices, especially at the top of their various hierarchies.  Where the top officials of these agencies are found complicit in corrupt practices, they should ideally face much stiffer sanctions, because their actions may have compromised lives, and thereby endangered the survival of the republic they are sworn to serve. The “Rule of Law” must also be maintained at all times, during the process of prosecution.

Dangerous Compromises in Security and the Rule of Law

Prosecuting the war on terrorism may have actually become a cash-cow for some officials, who endangered the lives of troops in the front line, by their complicity in corruption.  It has also been reported that internal leaks on behalf of Boko Haram by insiders who were induced by money, religion, or ethnic bias, did weaken the campaign against Boko Haram and compromised troops lives.  Any such internal leaks should ordinarily call for charges for high treason and sabotage, with its attendant appropriate sanction.

We are also aware that “some” judges have compromised justice by accepting pay-offs to issue “not-guilty” rulings, and frivolous injunctions, in the face of overwhelming evidence of criminal wrong-doing by officials or business executives; especially top executives in the Banking industry. We have observed issuance of perpetual injunctions by Judges, which do not have any basis in law or facts. We note that sometimes it takes a foreign jurisdiction to get judgment or asset forfeiture from Nigerian ex-officials.

Reverence to Authority

We also perceive that there was limited reverence to presidential authority during the last administration, thus leading many officials and private sector executives to go on a plunder of public resources, without fear of presidential oversight, even in key agencies of the government.

This Council, with the assistance of US institutions, will begin to monitor assets that Nigerian Judges and other high officials acquire or transfer outside of Nigeria.

We expect that at a minimum, that there would be sufficient reverence to President Buhari’s anti-corruption credentials, such that people would think twice about serious sanctions, before they plunder public resources under their watch.

Antics of the National Assembly

The national assembly in Nigeria is another area of blatant ruinous governance. As stakeholders in Nigeria, and as a community that carry a disproportionate burden of Nigeria’s problems, we will be monitoring the national assembly in the near future, with the hope that they will redress the wrongs of the previous national assembly.

It remains simply ludicrous that the national assembly had the audacity to approve compensation for themselves that run into the millions per member, right under the nose of the suffering Nigerian masses, most of whom work hard but live like paupers.  The salaries and allowances of Nigerian federal legislators (almost 2 million USD annually per Senator), is unheard of anywhere in the world. This top-heavy expense is not sustainable in a country where many people do not have running water, and are deprived of their salaries several months in a year.

Playing the Ethnic and Religious Cards

We note that Nigerian officials accused of high crimes frequently begin to invoke ethnic or religious undertones for their woes. It amazes us that Nigerians fall for these schemes by the accused, rather than waiting for the culprits to have their day in court.

These are the challenges that Mr. Buhari should address with a firm unwavering hand, we expect him not to fail Nigerians, and in essence lay the foundation for a future prosperous Nigeria where every citizen can aspire to a decent life.”

•Photo shows Presidents Buhari and Obama during last night’s meeting in Washington, US.

Source News Express

Posted 21/07/2015 05:06:38 AM

 

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