Presidential library : Put Obasanjo on trial now, Sagay tells Buhari
Says ex-govs who contributed to ex-president’s project should be tried also
Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof Itse Sagay, has said that the governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose has implicated himself by admitting that former President Olusegun Obasanjo forced him and other governors to donate to his Presidential Library. He called for the investigation and trial of both Obasanjo and the former governors who diverted state funds into an individual’s private venture. In this interview with
VINCENT KALU, the legal luminary stated that in law, both the receiver and the giver are guilty.
You accused the Nigeria Customs of being very corrupt, how did you come to that conclusion?
I’m not going into details on this matter. We have met the Comptroller General, who is extremely concerned about lack of change in some of the Customs establishments, and he has made up his mind to make extra efforts to make sure that the situation is changed drastically.
He reassured by the concern that he showed, and he is a man of his words, honest and so he will do as he had said.
Why is it that in the face of the onslaught against corruption that some people are so hardened to refuse to slow down while Nigeria’s rating in the global corruption index has not improved?
Even though you need a psychologist to answer that, but my feeling is that people are used to impunity; doing illegal things and getting away with it. Over the years, particularly since we returned to civilian rule in 1999, that habit is dying very hard.
However, I’m confident that increasing convictions – when they begin to see that people are actually going to prison to spend years of their lives, we will see an improvement in the conduct of people.
I’m not saying that is the only way you can reduce corruption. There are other positive ways, which include, engaging the society, the communities to make them see that at the end of the day, corruption is the enemy of everybody – that on that road where your uncle had an accident, that the contractor didn’t spend the money to do it well; on that hospital where your sister had a severe problem trying to have a baby was because of lack of equipment because the person who was supposed to equip it bolted away with the money, etc. The massive youth unemployment that is all over the place is because of corruption. We have to educate the public to make them appreciate that corruption is not just about stealing public money, it is also depriving the masses of certain rights, including right to life, right to education, right to housing, right to safe driving and usage of our roads.
We need to get our people identify the consequences of corruption, and not to look at it that the man only stole government money. It is more than that.
When that begins to happen, it will be reduced. In addition to that, the increase in the rate and severity of punishment, like the one we had few days ago, when a former governor of Adamawa State was sentenced to five years imprisonment without an option of fine. We are going to see more and more of that.
Most Nigerians have the opinion that the presidency seems to shield government officials who are alleged to be involved in corrupt practices; take the case of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, that Senate had accused him of corruption over the cutting of grass at one of the IDP camps, and it is believed that the presidency has cleared him?
If I read the argument well, it was that the Senate has not interviewed him. The Attorney General has interviewed him and written a report on that.
The Senate should invite him personally. If he sends someone, Senate should reject it and insist on him appearing personally.
Warrant should be issued against him if he doesn’t come. That case is not yet over.
They cited Chief of Army Staff that was alleged to be involved in properties in Dubai and other places