Nigeria’s New trend : Politics, Anti-corruption and National Development

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The war on corruption launched by Nigerian President Yar’Adua through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has gained a lot of ground. Meanwhile development projects to curb substandard conditions on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway and in mobile phone services as well as the construction of science parks have been planned…

Nigerian President’s war on corruption is bearing fruits ! He has moved a step further supporting the removal of an immunity clause. Meanwhile political arrests have been made on charges of corruption…

Other news that made the headlines this week include; The election challenge in Ondo State; A Senate commotion over alleged fraudulent officials; A facelift for the Lagos-Ibadan expressway; Science Parks for States; Enhancement of mobile phone servies…

The President Says…

The war on corruption launched by Nigerian President Yar’Adua through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has gained ground. In a statement last Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, he stated his support for the plan to remove a 1999 immunity clause –which exempts governors from corruption related charges while in office – from the Nigerian constitution in his continuous effort to strengthen the war against corruption.

He said “We now have a situation in which people award contracts without caring … because of this, there are lots of abandoned projects all over the country… some going into billions of dollars”… “Our decision to fight corruption properly and have respect for law, order and due process will now make such acts of omission or commission punishable by law, and that will clean the system and make sure that whatever business dealings government enters into, we have the ability to abide by the covenant we signed. In fact, that is the path of honour, not only for any government but also for companies that are operating in Nigeria”

Pay rise condemned

Meanwhile the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the big pay rise for Yar’Adua, calling the disparity “obscene”. In an address, Abdulraheed Omar NLC’s president, called on the officials to “question their sense of justice” in respect to the huge increases in salaries.

Ex Governor Charged Whilst a Politician gets jail term

Former governor Lucky Igbinedion of Edo state was charged with 156 counts of corruption, money laundering and stealing, at a federal high court. He is alleged to have stolen $24 million while in office. Making him the eigth former governor to be charged. Another person, a 67 year old politician, Ezekiel Ejiagu, was sentenced to 92 years in prison for swindling $484,733 from a Swiss expatriate Mr. Kaltofen, by the Ikeja high court.

Election challenge

Fresh bye-elections set for Saturday, 26 in Ondo State have been put on hold as litigations by petitioners challenge the nature of the original elections. Although a tribunal ordered fresh elections, the Labour Party filed an appeal at the Federal Court of Appeal, challenging the decision on the grounds that on the death of the two People Democratic Party’s (PDP) elected candidates, the Labour Party’s candidates should automatically qualify as winners of the elections. This situation follows the deaths of two PDP elected candidates, Akindele Alasoadure and Joe Anota for the House of Assembly and the House of Representatives, respctively, for the Akoko South East / South West constituencies.

War on corruption: Senators caught up in a mélée

This week, the Nigerian senate was in an uproar over the alleged involvement of top officials in fraudulent activities.

During a motion on “the war on corruption”, a member of senate, Nuhu Aliyu, former Deputy Inspector General of police, claimed the presence of fraudsters in the house, throwing the senate into tantrums. In his statement he confirmed his satisfaction for the war on corruption “because before the the emergence of the EFCC, Nigerians were seen in all parts of the world as “419” (fraudulent) persons… then he went on to mention that “even in this National Assembly we still have ‘419’ persons…” Sending the house in an uproar. Angered by remarks after this declaration, he warned that he would expose the names of those involved in fraudulent activities…

Fighting Organised Crime

Mr. Babandee of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) in a meeting with the US ambassador and the press said that his agency was committed in insuring that the fight against corruption, human trafficking and prostitution, among other offences was not compromised. He also said that Nigeria can not fight organised crime alone without working with other countries. He also said that his agency is working with eight European countries in its effort to Neutralise human traffic networks including prostitution. He was, however, not happy about the non-cooperation of some local entities and called for an immediate reform in the justice system in the country to deal with the issue.

Easing traffic and fighting crime on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

The speaker of the house of Representatives, Mr. Bankole, has disclosed an expansion plan of the busy 30 year old Lagos-Ibadan expressway. The project which is to cost about $67 billion is to transform the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to a ten lane freeway curtailing not only the stifling vehicular traffic but also to bring incidents like burglaries and rapes, that occur often, to a halt.

Science parks for Nigerian states

The Nigerian government has embarked on a programme to promote Science and Technology through the construction of science parks. States earmarked for this project are expected to include the parks in their development plans. It is estimated that an amout of about N500 million has already been injected into the planning of the project.

Nigerians to enjoy better cell phone services

In a meeting with reporters, Mr. Ndukwe, Chief exective of the Nigerian communications Commission, warned mobile phone operators of their poor quality services and warned them to refrain taking the NCC to court instead of improving their quality. He further said that 2008 will be a good year for the improvement of telecoms as his commission plans on increasing competition to better the value of services to the consumer.

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