Jonathan’s fight against corruption is mere talk

“Jonathan’s fight against corruption is mere talk, says United States
June 7th, 2012

US Government Dismisses Nigeria’s War Against Corruption As Hot Air

By SaharaReporters, New York

The United States has again dismissed Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts as mere talk, describing the Goodluck Jonathan era as one in which the government is not implementing the law, and officials engage in corrupt practices with impunity.

“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security forces,” it said of Nigeria in its 2011 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which was submitted to Congress by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The department submits reports on all countries receiving assistance and all United Nations Member States to the U.S. Congress in accordance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the Trade Act of 1974.

“There was a widespread perception that judges were easily bribed and that litigants could not rely on the courts to render impartial judgments,” said the report in its segment on Nigeria. “Citizens encountered long delays and alleged requests from judicial officials for bribes to expedite cases or obtain favorable rulings.”

It described the efforts of the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) as “largely ineffectual,” and stated that President Jonathan in November 2011 removed the EFCC Chair, Farida Waziri, after credible allegations appeared that she was engaged in corrupt practices.

“Public officials, including the president, vice president, governors, deputy governors, cabinet ministers, and legislators (at both federal and state levels), must comply with financial disclosure laws, including the requirement to declare their assets before assuming and after leaving office,” noted the report. “Violators risked prosecution, but cases rarely came to conclusion.”

Notable here would be President Jonathan, who has refused to declare his assets, igniting speculation as to the depth and spread of his wealth, and how that may be responsible for his fear of confronting corruption, including prosecuting Mrs. Waziri after firing her for “credible allegations” of corrupt practices.

On other subjects, the performance of the government was also indicted. For instance, on “Respect for the Integrity of the Person,” the report stated that the government or its agents committed numerous arbitrary or unlawful killings. This would corroborate the argument of many Nigerians about the inability of the security forces to solve crime, and that the government is responsible for them.

“During the year the Joint Task Force (JTF)…conducted raids on militant groups and criminal suspects in the Niger Delta and Borno State, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries to both alleged criminals and civilians,” said the report. “According to credible eyewitness accounts, the JTF committed illegal killings during attempts to apprehend members of the extremist group Boko Haram (“Western education is anathema,” in Hausa) in Borno State and surrounding areas.”

Similarly, the report said that security service personnel, including police, military, and State Security Service (SSS) officers, regularly tortured, beat, and abused demonstrators, criminal suspects, detainees, and convicted prisoners. “Police mistreated civilians to extort money. The law prohibits the introduction into trials of evidence and confessions obtained through torture; however, police often used torture to extract confessions.”

The loudest and most damaging comment in the report is to be found in three words: “at/by year’s end,” in the sense of futility and the Nigerian government’s penchant for long, drawn-out, inconclusive activity, such as prosecution or investigation, during 2011.

Examples:

The Code of Conduct Tribunal commenced the trial of former governor of Lagos State Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu…There was no decision in the case by year’s end;

In October the EFCC arrested four former governors…Ogun governor Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former Oyo governor Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, former Nasarawa governor Alhaji Aliyu Akwe Doma, and former Gombe governor Muhammed Danjuma Goje. Their trials began in December and continued at year’s end.”

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