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2014: SERAP Tasks Jonathan On Ways To Curb Corruption

Ayo Balogun, Lagos

In response to the New Year broadcast by President Goodluck Jonathan that he would fight corruption more in 2014, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has tasked the president to implement a 5-point programme against corruption if he is truly committed to fighting the problem to a standstill.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The group said that promises alone could not end corruption and impunity of perpetrators, saying that “taking these simple actions will immediately send a clear message that as far as the fight against corruption is concerned, it won’t be business as usual in 2014.”

In the document released today and signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organization said that the level of corruption in the country today demanded serious political will to combat and not rhetorical statements, recalling that similar promises had been made by this government since its inception, with corruption continuing daily and most worryingly, suspected perpetrators enjoying almost absolute impunity.

“In order to end this never-ending cycle of broken promises, SERAP is recommending to the government an easy to implement 5-point programme against corruption for urgent action. SERAP believes that the effective implementation of these measures will prove if the government is genuinely serious about fighting corruption.  Firstly, the president should demonstrate his total rejection of corruption by publicly declaring his assets and instructing all members of his government to do the same.”

According to the group, “This is the best way the President is ever going to earn the trust of millions of Nigerians yarning for good governance, development and the rule of law. Secondly, President Jonathan should urgently refer unresolved cases of corruption, including in the aviation, oil subsidy scandal, alleged mismanagement of trillions of Naira by the Security and Exchange Commission, missing N300 billion in the petroleum ministry since 2011and others to the anti-corruption agencies clearly requesting prosecution of indicted officials.

“In the meantime, any such officials like  as the Aviation Minister, Ms. Stella Oduah indicted over the alleged N255m car scandal, should be immediately suspended from their official duties pending the final determination of their cases.”

The organization said that, “this is the surest way for the President to fulfill his 2011 promise to Nigerians in the presence of 50 heads of state that he would ‘fight corruption regardless of the position of the person involved.’ Otherwise, the fight against corruption will mean little if those close to the seat of power are constantly shielded from prosecution for corruption.”

It urged Jonathan to publicly reassure Nigerians that he would cut-down unnecessary and wasteful expenses such as the N1.6bn for a new jet; N34.5m for two animals for the Presidential Villa Zoo; N2.4bn for foreign and local trips; N362m for meals and refreshment and N834m for fuelling generators in  the Presidency and the  MDAs, adding that the said amounts should be dedicated for the common good for example, provision of much needed medicines in hospitals across the country.

“Fourthly, President Jonathan should urgently address allegations of corruption in the privatisation of electricity, which is now denying the citizens access to regular electricity supply. The matter should be urgently referred to appropriate anticorruption agencies for action.”

“Finally, President Jonathan should lead the process to domesticate and effectively implement the UN Convention against Corruption within the legal system. The government also needs to publicly acknowledge the ECOWAS Court right to education judgment, and to come up with plans on how the judgment will be fully and effectively implemented,” he said.

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