I don’t know what the person who prepared the list is doing. What they have done is an opposition members’ looters’ list. I am sure that they are still working on the list of the looters of members of the All Progressives Congress because I cannot see any on the current list unless they are telling Nigerians that once you are an APC member and you loot, you are not a looter.
So, they have to redefine it. Though there could be a lot of looters in APC that are supporting this government, we have not seen that list of APC members. I am sure they are working on that list. You know our party, APC, follows due process. The Peoples Democratic Party is the former ruling party and the APC is the ruling party.
Definitely, the APC list will come out; so they better release it or some other government in 20 or 30 years will release it. It has to be a holistic list because corruption in Nigeria does not know political party. It is just like on a list, you put only Muslims or Yoruba. That is not holistic. It should cut across religions, tribes, and parties. Only then can you say this is comprehensive. The PDP has also published its own list of looters which includes APC members.
However, the government appears to have discountenanced the list as they have not commented and they have not done anything. I am sure they are really studying it so that they can come up with a proper APC looters’ list. A holistic list will show that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration is committed to the anti-graft war. Even if they leave out some people, some Nigerians will still point some people out to them. I know that there is an official of the Supreme Court, not a judge, that has been indicted but I have not seen the person’s name on any of the lists, not on the PDP list or the Federal Government’s list.
The list has to be comprehensive. It has to involve not only politicians because politicians are not the only looters. Civil servants are the greatest looters in this country! Where is their list? More than half of the properties in Abuja belong to the civil servants, so where is their list? There are people in the judiciary, not judicial officers that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has investigated. Where is that list? That is why we said to make the fight against corruption effective, institutions should be strengthened. The legislature and the Accountant-General’s Office should be strengthened and you will see that corruption will be reduced to the barest minimum.
All these lists so far released are just playing on our intelligence. • Dr. Ali Ahmad (Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly)
Yes, of course. It is inherently corrupt to exclude APC members. When you do that, it is nothing but corruption. If you are shielding acts of corruption in your own house and then attacking others, it is corruption. It is the highest form of corruption because it is nepotistic and discriminatory. It also shows a lack of transparency. The excuse that the list contains only PDP members because the PDP was in power for 16 years, is nothing but pedestrian. It is a flimsy excuse.
In any case, the logic is flawed by the fact that 50 per cent of the APC consists of former PDP members who were part of the 16 years of the so-called corruption.
So, as the Federal Government is pointing a finger at others, four fingers are pointing back at the APC government. So, from whatever perspective you look at it, it is tragic that Prof. Itse Sagay (Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption), could defend this list based on the argument that the PDP ruled for 16 years.
This is a flawed argument because many of the APC members today were once in the PDP and they are not on the looters’ list. So, if 60 per cent of the APC were once in the PDP, I wonder who the real looters are. You can do the math. •Akin Osuntokun (Spokesman, Coalition for Nigerian Movement)
Why not? The argument that PDP ruled for 16 years is not acceptable because there are members of the APC that were once in the PDP during the 16 years. So, if there is evidence that they stole money while in the PDP or after they joined the APC, they should be put on the list. Why should the likes of Musiliu Obanikoro, who was accused of being involved in the Ekitigate, be removed from the looters’ list? Should he now be treated differently because he has joined the APC?
The list that has been published is not a complete list but the government has said it will release another list and that is why the media and civil society organisations should be involved so that we can remind them of those who ought to be on the list, including those who have been accused in the past but are now being protected.
What we are doing at CSNAC is that we are compiling our own list of looters and the allegations levelled against them which we shall publish. We will then challenge the government to also publish its own. The only ones that should not be on the list are those who have won their cases in court. •Olanrewaju Suraj (Civil Society Network Against Corruption)
The concern by Nigerians that the looters’ list is not complete and representative is genuine and legitimate. Under Section 39 of the constitution, we have the right to freedom of speech to say whatever we think about the list. I believe the list is misplaced. There are already fundamental ideological contradictions that characterise the government’s present fight against corruption.
It is almost unimaginable that an agency set up by the government will want to tackle corruption among government top officials. This is where I think the concern about looters’ list is misplaced. We have just come out of a stage where we were told that corruption is not stealing. That stage has been replaced by a stage where people are not really ashamed to be associated with corruption.
As we are faced with the challenge of nation building, we say that the looters’ list must be comprehensive and this (list) again does not lend credence to what the government is doing on anti-corruption. • Malachy Ugwummadu (President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights)
Of course, if it is called a looters’ list, it must include everybody regardless of party affiliation. Why should it not include APC members? If it is a list of those who have stolen Nigeria’s money, then it should include everybody that stole. The argument that one party was in charge for 16 years and so should be the only one on the looters’ list is wrong.
A thief is a thief. If I was in a party and I stole money and then left the party, it doesn’t change the fact that I am a thief. A thief is a thief whether you are in the government or you have left.
So, if you must publish the names of thieves, it must be a complete list of those who have been stealing Nigeria’s money. In any case, the APC as it exists today, consists of 50 per cent of PDP who ruled for 16 years. So, half of the looters are within the APC.
That is why you cannot make a list of looters based on party affiliation. A thief is a thief. For me, the list that has been published is not complete until everybody’s name is there. The list should also include those who have returned stolen money. For me, those who have returned money are also looters. So, it should include them as well. •Senator Femi Okurounmu (An ex-lawmaker)
You should understand that the APC was not in power for the 16 years when the mindless looting took place. There is also what is called plea bargain whereby people return stolen money and also plead with the government not to publish their names. There are many of such cases. President Muhammadu Buhari will not protect anybody. The APC just took over power not too long ago. Maybe when the APC has left power, another government can probe the party and publish its own list.
But the Buhari government that I know is in incorruptible. All the heads of agencies and appointees know that they cannot steal public funds as was done in the past. I am not saying there is no stealing but it is not as bad because anyone who is doing such now, will be doing it in fear and not like it was done in the past.
Many of the people crying of hunger are the ones that were used to free money of the past and that is why they hate Buhari with a passion. It is not true that most of the APC members are former PDP members. We are talking about the Federal Government now and not the state government. We are talking about those who looted the country’s resources without mercy. So, corruption will be fought in phases. Those who stole money should keep quiet and not teach us how to fight corruption. A thief who has been caught has no right to give excuses. • Joe Igbokwe (Publicity Secretary, Lagos APC)
- Compiled by: Eniola Akinkuotu, Success Nwogu and Olaleye Aluko
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