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Okogie blows hot: Nigeria is a sinking ship being navigated by pirates



His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie has decried the current level of corruption under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, saying Nigeria is a sinking ship being navigated by pirates.

According to him, “Nigeria is a sinking ship being navigated by pirates. There is a need to take urgent steps to rescue Nigeria from the hands of brigands. Not to do so would amount to flirting with violence. The current level of corruption is dangerous. The anger of the people may lead to a violent uprising whose consequences we cannot foresee. Let us step back from the road to bloodshed.”

Okogie, in a statement, titled: “Corruption and Nigeria’s Uncertain Future,” said at this point in time, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate between politics and criminality in Nigeria, as politics in Nigeria is divorced from morality.

“That is why we hear of huge sums of money getting into the wrong hands. What we have is not politics of the common good but politics of selfish interests. And its agents in every government are going scot-free. The constitution we operate provides incentives for corruption, and where there is corruption there will be poverty and insecurity.

“Our constitution is just a formula for sharing Nigeria’s wealth placed in the hands of politicians. It provides for so many offices, so many parastatals and ministries, and the bureaucracy it creates is consuming Nigeria’s money. The size of the government has depleted Nigeria’s wealth. Politics is the largest industry in Nigeria. It is no longer news that many people go into politics because of the opportunity to enrich themselves at the people’s expense,” he lamented.

According to him, democracy is being assaulted by Nigerian politicians, saying this could not continue without destroying Nigeria.

He said there was no wisdom in spending so much money on political office holders who were not acting in the interest of the people, stressing that “we ought to have utilized the wealth of Nigeria to develop the people. But we have witnessed successive regimes of politicians in military and civilian garbs who enrich themselves by impoverishing the people.

“The sad consequences confront us: no good roads, no good schools, no good hospitals, no good airports, no electricity, no security, no comfort. The average Nigerian has nothing to enjoy while members of the political oligarchy are living extravagantly. But for COVID-19, they would have been in Dubai. Fela Anikulapo Kuti once asked: “How country go dey make money when country people no dey see money?” The question is yet to receive an answer.”

The Cleric decried that the beautiful “country that God gave us is raped and robbed with impunity by those who should be working for the common good. The future of Nigeria is jeopardized in the present by politicians who show symptoms of kleptomania, an irresistible tendency to take what belongs to all of us. Many of our leaders are getting away with daylight robbery and murder.

“We are deceived into believing that a war is being waged on corruption. But we witness a circus, a shameless show of brigandage in government, where we hear of billions of naira being spent on frivolous projects that are of no advantage to the Nigerian. We have been told that looted money is being returned. Yet, the government is borrowing. There is a big contradiction here. If looted money is being returned, why does Nigeria have to borrow so much?

“There is an urgent need to restructure government in Nigeria. Concrete steps will have to be taken. First, the constitution must change. The current constitution provides a recipe and a license for theft in government, for the poverty of the populace, and for insecurity in the land.”

Okogie added that as a matter of urgency, the size of government needed to be drastically reduced, saying that this is not a step to be taken tomorrow but a step to be taken today and that the current political arrangement legitimized by the current constitution provided for a big government, but that a big government is, by nature, corrupt and inefficient.

He proffered that the new constitution Nigeria urgently needed must introduce new term limits, saying that considering the acrimony and breach of peace that go with every re-election bid in Nigeria, its attendant temptation to use the people’s money as campaign funds, it would be advisable to limit the President and Governors to one term in office.

“Each President and each Governor should consider his single term in office to be a penalty kick. A player chosen to take a penalty kick has only one opportunity to put the ball in the net.

“Nigeria does not need a bicameral legislature of 109 senators and 375 members of the federal House of Representatives. She can do well with just one federal parliament. The current bicameral legislature is wasteful and should be abolished by the new constitution.

“The military origin of this constitution shows that it was conceived by people who thought Nigeria’s oil wealth would flow endlessly to the advantage of political officeholders. Now, we know better. The oil is not dry. But it is not being bought. This will have severe consequences on the standard of living of the Nigerian. Post-COVID-19 Nigeria cannot survive on a bicameral legislature.

“There is need to curtail the habit of cross carpeting by politicians shopping for a political platform to get into the dining room that the government had become in Nigeria. A politician who moves from one party to another should not be allowed to contest for political office on the platform of the new party for four years. Similarly, such politicians should not be appointed into office by a government-run by the new party he or she has joined,” he stated.

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Enforce Public Procurement Laws – CSOs tells Buhari



Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center CISLAC has called for the enforcement of public procurement laws in all contract bidding especially one that has to do with international organisations.

Citing the Process and Industrial Developments Limited P&ID case, the agency said the international scam would not have been possible if due diligence was followed and public officials, patriotic and honest.

The agency also decried the connivance by Nigeria public officers with foreign companies to defraud the country of monies that could be spent on providing basic amenities for the citizens.

While lamenting the non interest of National Assembly in the case, the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa expressed regrets over efforts by the lawyers representing the country to frustrate the case.

The CSO commended the proposed Database for recovered assets, but however called on the government clarify if the database will be accessible to the ordinary citizens.

CISLAC therefore called on citizens to continue to hold public officers accountable.

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Nigerian Navy deploys 6 warships, 60 gunboats for operation in 4 States



The Nigerian Navy on Tuesday deployed troops on board six warships and 60 gunboats for a special military exercise.

The drill targets pirates, oil smugglers and other criminalizes in the nation’s waters.

Rear Admiral David Adeniran, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command (ENC), Calabar, made the announcement.

He spoke at the flag-off of the exercise in Onne, Rivers State

The operation code-named, ‘Exercise Sanga Sung,’ means ‘Safe Transit’ in Ibibio dialect.

The States to be covered are Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ebonyi and Rivers.

The commander explained the operation would consolidate ‘Exercises Bekan Mmon I and II’

Adeniran added that the purpose was to train personnel and check the state of preparedness of fleets.

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Buhari reports Boko Haram, bandits to UN



President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday told the international community that Nigeria was still battling Boko Haram and bandits.

Buhari’s message was contained in his pre-recorded address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

He urged countries to take a strong action against illicit flow of small arms and light weapons.

“Nigeria remains deeply concerned over the illicit trade, transfer, and circulation of small arms and light weapons, particularly on the continent of Africa. In Nigeria, we are still facing violent extremism from the insurgency of Boko Haram and bandits,” he said.

He noted that Nigeria counts on cooperation with neighbours and UN counter-terrorism bodies to overcome terrorists in the Lake Chad Basin and the wider Sahel Region.

The President said his administration will sustain the rehabilitation, reconstruction and resettlement of victims of terrorism and insurgency in the North-East.

On COVID-19, the Nigerian leader added his voice to supply of safe and effective coronavirus vaccines for all.

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