Connect with us


Why we don’t make noise about our probes – ICPC *Challenges TI’s poor rating of Nigeria



Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, on Monday expressed displeasure with the Transparency International global ranking of countries on corruption, saying the group’s narrative on the issue should be interrogated.

Owasanoye, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), while dismissing the rating of Nigeria in the TI’s reports for 2022 which was for 2021 session, said: “We’ve taken enough time to study it in the areas where criticisms were fair and we needed to adjust and the areas where it simply ignored the realities of the anti-corruption efforts from a developing country perspective and of course from the point of view of the international political economy.”

At a capacity training for journalists organised by the Commission in Abuja, he said: “TI uses strategy to communicate its report, we needed the strategy to response. A lot of countries especially developing countries are beginning to interrogate TI’s reports as to why the countries that are victims of corruption always rank poorer than the countries that are the recipients of the proceeds of corruption and we do not interrogate why this happens.

“Of course, we understand very clearly that in the developing countries like Nigeria, we have our challenges and we are not denying that, we are trying to deal with them in accordance with the law and within the local challenges that we face.

“But occasionally when there are prospects to make progress and advance the course there are frustrations that are encountered that are not immediately visible to observers. It is therefore time for us to begin to get involved in the narratives at least to present our own side of the story the way it ought to be presented so that there can be a balance of the information exchange and then of course the journalists can make whatever they want to make of it as best as they understand the situation.

“The first training that ICPC had was to break this ice and to begin to strategically say look at it from this angle as well and as the director of Public Enlightenment has said, we have seen an improved trajectory of reportage and we are quite sure that this can further improve by more engagement, by more understanding and sharing of information and perspectives with stakeholders such as the Media.

“We intend to build on the success of last year’s training in order to deepen this engagement and to close this gap which I have identified. One of the things we intend to do with this interaction is to close gaps, you have questions that you would like us to clarify, this offers an opportunity to close those gaps.

“I know that usually what journalists are interested in is to know who is being investigated, what has been found and what is going to happen. That’s exactly what we are not able to tell you so that we can have a common understanding. And I will tell you why we are not able to tell you the way you want it and when you want it. Even though some of those things will depend on the dynamics of the situation they share or be found by you, by your steps, by your skills, by your abilities, we do not begrudge that.

“By our law, we are not supposed to discuss what we are investigating unless we have formally made an arrest or we have charged to court. In any event, once we have charged to court, it’s already in the public because court records are public records. Courts are established to arbitrate disputes and determine and to interpret the law the way they are.

“Besides, it is not accidental that the rules say they sit in public, it is so that they can be accessed by people who want to inform the public like yourselves. But sometimes, journalists do get the opportunity to report preemptively, and it is a double edged sword, it can hurt and it can advance.

“The other issue is about the emerging trend around the fight against corruption. I have mentioned one of those things which is the political economy. Why does it appear as if you are doing motion without movement? You need to understand that in the national context and the international context.

“The popular and the commonest way to measure corruption activities and impacts is by enforcement, prosecution and having people going to jail. But that is exactly the most tricky point of the whole landscape because those with whom we deal will do anything in order not to be caught or to face music.

“Another reason for this training, is to improve the capacity at reportage so that the information does not become asymmetrical or misleading whereby things ascribed to the commission that we do not have the capacity to do or they are exaggerated on behalf or in favor of the commission, which then heighten public expectation.

“So this engagement will help us to report accurately in ways that do not exaggerate our achievements or under report our achievements. We also believe that this engagement will improve your own knowledge of the sector in various measures by which corruption can be tackled, not just by investigation and prosecution and how this is communicated to secure public support.

“We do recognise the role of the media in raising public awareness, shaping public discourse and opinion and of course contributing to development.”

Owasanoye, who expressed hope in a robust relationship with the media in the anti-graft fight, stated: “I want to urge you to use this opportunity to establish a relationship with us, not just a relationship that demands of us that we should tell you when we get a high profile fish that we are investigating but a relationship that helps us to discuss how to deal with the scourge of corruption.

“What are the challenges that we face, what are the challenges that you as journalists who report these things and are also attacked and at risk globally and how they can be mitigated. I’m hoping that this interaction will help us to close those gaps and strengthen our mutual collaboration, our commitment as an institution and as an agency remains solid. It is statutory, we can’t negotiate it away, we just have the duty to do what we have to do but we are hoping that we’ll be better able to do it with your support and collaboration.”


Imo massacre: Armoured vehicles procured for police used to rig elections – LP



Labour Party, palpably in anguish at the slaughter of eight soldiers in Imo State on Tuesday by some rampaging gunmen, has raised questions over the whereabouts of the nine Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) Athan Achonu, it claimed its governorship candidate for the November 11 election, repaired and donated to the authorities in the state.

The party, all but called out the leadership of the Imo State Police Command, to whom they claimed the equipment were handed over, alleging that the last time they APCs were seen was during the last general elections, where they were used by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the party in power in the state to snatch ballot boxes for candidates in the national and state assemblies.

The claim, was made when Nick Opara-Ndudu  and Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiareri , chieftains of the party appeared as guests on The Morning Show, a breakfast programme on Arise Television to sell the candidacy of Achonu, whom they said would never have allowed the type of insecurity in the state to endure under his watch.

Both men, who said that Achonu, whose highest political office so far, was his short stint in the Senate, where he served via the 2015 election before he was removed through the courts, remained the only solution not to the insecurity, in the state and even the South East,  but the one to rescue the people from years of underdevelopment from poor leadership.

Obiareri, spokesman of the LP in the state, argued that if the APCs had been in place, Tuesday’s incident in which the military men were killed alongside some policemen and officials of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), would probably not have happened, said a check on the social media would reveal how they were used by party men of the APC for rigging the 2023 general elections.

He said: “The military men that were killed if they had armoured vehicles patrolling, they wouldn’t have been shot by those criminals. Athan Achonu, go and confirm from Innoson, paid hundreds of millions of naira to Innoson, Innoson is still alive, you people can still go and interview him, to repair nine armoured vehicles for the police. Five were supposed to be in Okigwe zone. Till today, we don’t know where those nine armoured cars are.

“If you go to Youtube, you’ll see Youtube record of members of the House of Assembly in Imo State using those APCs to carry ballot boxes. It’s there on Youtube, you can search it out. What Athan Achonu will do is very simple. Every local government area will have one humvy vehicle for the police. Police stations had been totally burnt in Imo State and Athan repaired most of those police stations.

“Then, there will be community vigilante. We’ll train those 50 youths per community – train them, equip them and arm them. They should guard their communities. When you have over 50,000 hectres of land, reclaimed from the bandits, and you have youths who are not only just farming, but who are trained to protect their communities, they’ll do the job.

“Then, we have to set up a security trust fund. Ndi-Imo are not scared. As at today, there are some communities in Imo State, where bandits – unknown gunmen, are ransacking and collecting levies from the communities. Basically, Athan Achonu will provide training, recruitment for people donated by the communities. Communities know those who are the terrible ones in their midst. And I tell you, in six months, they will flush them out.”

Opara-Ndudu, who dismissed the claim by the state governor, Hope Uzodimma that the carnage and other killings in the state were politically-motivated, blamed the governor for misplacing his priorities and failing to provide jobs for the teeming youth population in the state, questioning why nobody had been arrested and prosecuted fully in the courts if the insecurity in the state was all about politics.

Hear him: “The security problem has to do with objective conditions in the state. The young people are frustrated. The government is not making any investments in the areas that are required. We’re busy pursuing projects that are designs in deception. Look at the roads that are being done in Imo State, you know for you to deal with the problem of poverty and other economic challenges, you have to deal with the problem of infrastructure.

“In Imo State, the government has dedicated all of its time and half of its time to reconstructing federal roads without any attention – little or no attention paid to the rural areas. If you go to length and breadth of Imo State – Ngor Okpala, Ezinifte Mbaise, even in the governor’s local government – everywhere in Imo State, you find that the rural areas are looking desolate and abandoned.”

Continue Reading


Police find body of missing female student dumped in the bush, vow to get killers



Operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), command, have vowed to fish out the killers of a university student, Blessing Karami, whose body was said to have been picked up from the bush days after she was declared missing on September 11.

The FCT police, which released the painful news on Thursday, said in a statement by its spokesman, Josephine Adeh that the remains were found in the woods in the Karimu area of the city.

The police spokesman acknowledged that her disappearance was reported to the police authorities last,  Thursday, September 14 added that 26-year-old Blessing, a student of the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), was declared missing after leaving her place of work in Garki, Abuja.

She said in the statement: “The body of Blessing Karami Moses, a 26-year-old woman who had been missing since September 11, 2023, was tragically discovered in a wooded area in Karimo. Her disappearance was reported to the authorities on September 14, 2023,” the statement read.

She said Commissioner of Police, FCT, Haruna Garba, had directed that command should conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident, adding: “While we are working closely with the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) to facilitate the respectful retrieval of the decomposed remains acknowledging the sensitive nature of this task, we will continue to provide updates to the public as our investigation progresses.”

Adeh, a Superintendent of Police (SP), also commiserated with Blessing’s family and loved ones over the incident.

Continue Reading


Ogun cult massacre: DSS raid home, pick up PDP lawmaker, five others



Damilare Bello Mohammed, a serving member of the Ogun State House of Assembly (OGHA), is currently telling operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) his side of the story, after he was picked up over his alleged involvement in the rival secret cult clashes that occurred in Sagamu town.

Mohammed, recently elected on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to represent Sagamu State Constituency 1, was picked up on Wednesday by the agency over the incident in which at least eight persons were killed last weekend during the violent clash in the town, alongside five other suspected cultists allegedly involved in the cult violence.

The five other suspects; Debbo Animashaun, Bamidele Saheed, Ismaila Onitire, Adewale Otesanya and Tobi Owoade, were arrested by the DSS operatives during a sting operation after a tip-off at the early hours of Thursday within the residence of the lawmaker.

Lekan Adeniran, spokesman to Dapo Abiodun, the Ogun State governor, announced the development in a statement on Wednesday, saying the secret police tracked the six suspected cultists to the official residence of the lawmaker.

Accusing the lawmaker of providing shelter to the cultists, Adeniran, said in the statement, that the suspects were presently undergoing interrogation in DSS custody after many dangerous weapons, including guns, were recovered from them.

Continue Reading