The National Association of Seadogs (Pyrates Confraternity) has called on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to stop the harassment of a non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).
The non-governmental organisation has detailed several corruption allegations in the government of Mr Buhari running into several billions of naira.
The NAS Capoon, Mr Abiola Owoaje, in a press statement titled: “Official Corruption under President Buhari’s leadership” which listed the several corruption allegations made by SERAP in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) is also seeking a probe of duplication of projects in the 2022 budget revealed recently by the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practises and Related Offences Commission, (ICPC), Prof Bolaji Owasanoye.
He expressed disappointment that such “gargantuan fiesta of unbridled thievery is taking place under a President whose biggest electoral selling point was taming corruption”.
Owoaje, while tasking the administration of Buhari to probe several corruption allegations made by SERAP under the current dispensation, stressed that the President should be concerned that the anti-graft war under him has no purpose.
“President Buhari should be bothered that the anti-graft war under him has lost steam and direction. Different species of corrupt practices have continued to fester unchecked. In 2019, Nigeria was ranked 146 out of 180 in the Corruption Index ranking released by Transparency International. In 2020, the country climbed three steps downwards on the list of infamy to number 149. Not only is President Buhari’s administration accused of double standards, it is widely believed that the President condones corruption by virtue of the rankling impunity that has characterised the looting of public funds. The effrontery of these sordid acts is at a level hitherto unknown among Nigeria’s notoriously light-fingered public officials,” he said.
Owoaje, therefore, called on the President to reinvigorate the anti-graft war, stressing that the report of the Auditor–General of the Federation (AuGF) and projects duplication uncovered by ICPC has vindicated SERAP.
The statement read in part: “We hereby reiterate previous recommendations in earlier interventions on the federal government’s faltering anti-graft war. Once again, we urge President Buhari to urgently reinvigorate the anti-graft war by sincerely strengthening the anti-graft agencies, especially the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through enough budgetary provisions, and protection from political interference.
“The time is ripe in Nigeria for the establishment of Specialised Courts to quicken the dispensation of justice in the trial of corruption cases. The three arms of government should work in tandem to ensure that there is no ambiguity in the different statutes prescribing due punishment for corrupt offences. This should be done with a view to ensuring that upon conviction, commensurate judicial sanctions are meted out based on the magnitude of crimes. Judicial officers to adjudicate in corruption cases must be carefully selected and must, like Caesar’s wife, be above board. The anti-graft agencies should rise to the onerous challenge by ridding their ranks of compromised officials who are the major culprits in the perennial non-diligent prosecution of corruption cases. The ICPC and the EFCC have an ample opportunity to demonstrate their total commitment to the fight against
corruption by probing those responsible for the 185 duplicate projects in the 2022 budget, and by casting more than a cursory glance at the detailed expose on massive sleaze released by SERAP. This is a good starting point for President Buhari and the anti-graft agencies. No more, no less.”
SaharaReporters, New York