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Illicit financial flow: HEDA, stakeholders want collective action against corruption

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has called for collective actions from all stakeholders to tackle the rising illicit financial flow and…

The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre) has called for collective actions from all stakeholders to tackle the rising illicit financial flow and other forms of corruption in Nigeria.

Chairman of the centre, Mr. Olanrewaju Suraju, made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the 26th Anti-Corruption Situation Room (ACSR), organised by the HEDA Resource Centre in partnership with the Technical Unit on Governance and Anticorruption Reforms (TUGAR), MacArthur Foundation, Centre for Journalism Development (CJID), National Orientation Agency (NOA) and AFRICMIL.

He said that the fight against corruption should be seen as a fundamental objective and culture of the leadership at all levels and not to be left for the President and his Vice alone.

“Nigeria’s anti-corruption fight has been that of a flip-flop, where you have some of the anti-corruption agencies making some efforts and the supervisory office or ministry undermining or even comprising some of the cases.

“People are still getting caught in the web of corruption and few of them are paying the price for their atrocities. You will see where efforts are made but at the same time, they are been undermined by people that were expected to perform the act. Going forward it has to be a collaborative effort for us to fight corruption, the President, Vice President and political parties must come together,” Suraju said.

Also speaking, human rights lawyer and activist, Femi Falana (SAN), berated the slow pace of Anti-Corruption proceedings in the Federal Justice system.

He said that the alleged money laundering charge against former Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, is a case of impunity that is needed to be stopped for national interest and development.

The suspended DCP Abba Kyari was arrested by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), over an alleged link with the ‘Gucci king’, popular alleged fraudster Ramon Abbas, alias “Hushpuppi,” and also a drug ring operating the Brazil-Ethiopia-Nigeria route.

Falana said that he has nothing but pity for Kyari, blaming him for getting himself messed up by the Nigerian system.

He said, “While the request of the United States government was yet to be filed in court, the gentleman (Kyari) who operates in an atmosphere of impunity got himself enmeshed in drug trafficking enterprise.

“No country or government would want to frustrate the extradition of a criminal suspect by asking him to get engaged in drug trafficking and embarrass the country, no. We must not buy conspiracy theories that are not logical. The government did not ask him to get involved in drug trafficking.

“Arrest has been made, the materials have been recovered it was at the stage of taking the suspect and the materials to the NDLEA that the members of the IRT involved in the operation contacted him and said, hey, this is business, that is all.

“It has nothing to do with either the Police or the government this is just a question of somebody who believes that he is above the law and nothing will happen to him. It is an attitude of impunity that has happened in this case. And I must confess that I have nothing but pity for him, for allowing himself to be messed up by the Nigerian system.

“All allegations including extrajudicial killings were brushed aside by Police authorities before now, he has never been quarried. He was made to believe that nothing will happen to him that was what led him to get himself involved in drug trafficking,” Falana said.

He added that it is not the business of Americans to fight corruption for Nigerians, and that for anyone to succeed in the fight against corruption, he or she must be involved in politics.

He also berated the Ministry of Justice for not rising to the occasion of handling corrupt cases with accountability and responsibility.

Falana said, “The Ministry of Justice has not prosecuted one corruption case since 2015. The president must be told this. On the contrary, some of the cases are deliberately destroyed by the ministry through what they call Nolle Prosequi.

On his part, the Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof Sadiq Isah Radda, said that every Nigerian and especially political leaders have much roles to play in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

“We have done a lot are still trying, we have lots of gaps, meaning that there are still lots of works to be done,” he said.

Also, the AFRICMIL Executive Director, Dr. Chido Onumah, represented by the organization’s Programme Office, Mr. Godwin Onyeacholem, said that the fight against corruption must be sustained, so that the gains recorded would not be lost.

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