Given the larger than life messianic image of Nigeria’s former Head of State, Muhammadu Buhari, a retired Nigerian Army Major General, before the controversial 2015 presidential poll, there are certain elements within the Buhari All Progressives Congress (APC) administration who were not expected to smell any public office again. But, by whatever consideration and in a glaring betrayal of the promised anti-corruption war, President Buhari appointed them into public offices.
Now, the putrefying stench of corruption oozing out of the Buhari administration is denting the image of our hitherto Saint Buhari whose cabal may have succeeded in turning into a Fulani irredentist. Rather than fight corruption, an alleged Fulanisation programming is holding sway as the predators make mincemeat of the public till.
Disturbingly, the anti-graft attack dog, EFCC, appears to be slumbering as the APC big cats devour the vaults of the bleeding country. Seems, if the devourers were from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the attack dogs would have been making a circus show of the situation just to rubbish the opposition party before the public. A selective anti-graft crusade, and the coronation of political actors with questionable past as APC ‘saints’ inflicts a heavier collataral damage to Nigeria.
The shocking news currently making the round is that N215.8 billion out of the total N307.9billion budget for Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was allegedly shared between Niger Delta Affairs Minister, Godswill Akpabio, Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami and phony contractors under different guises.
Those who seem to know Malami better say before he became minister, he did not have upto N5 million in his account. The people are wondering where he had multi-billions of naira from to acquire massive expands of land for a five-star hotel project in his state, Kebbi.
Well, in 2020, Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for Nigeria was 25 score. It increased from 10 score in 2001 under the frequently attacked PDP to 25 score in 2020 under the saintly Buhari APC administration, growing at an average annual rate of 5.97%. CPI Score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as seen by business people and country analysts, and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).
The CPI 2020 report published by Transparency International indicates that Nigeria occupies the 149th position out of the 180 countries surveyed as well scored 25 out of 100 points. With the current ranking, Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region.
In the 2019 report, Nigeria was ranked 146th out of the 180 countries surveyed, scoring 26 points out of 100 points. Though Nigeria’s ranking on the CPI has continued to drop in the last four years, the plundering big boys need to be properly taken care of.
A top news portal says its NDDC source reveals that contrary to Malami’s presentation, from about N307.9billion released for the interventionist agency, only N74.8billion was used for Personnel and recurrent expenditure. N215.8 billion which accounts for the balance of the total sum was allegedly diverted to phony contracts including the servicing of the Minister of Justice, Malami for his services in protecting Akpabio.
Most of the companies that were paid from the N215 billion for non existent emergency contracts are said to be cronies of the Niger Delta minister. The NDDC insider, according to Pointblank News, is claiming that rather than hold their offices in trust as leaders, the two ministers have allegedly resorted to perpetuating fraudulent activities while using the forensic auditors to cover up the actual rot in the commission while its perpetrators continue to spirit away public funds.
For some concerned NDDC officials, the only way to clean up the commission of the rot that has engulfed it, is to ensure the actual rule of law, pointing out that the supposed development agency did not receive around N6 trillion. Rather, the total income received by NDDC between 2001 and 2019 is N2,396,992,239,917.82, comprising of N762,683,781,560.32 from the Federal Government, N1,625,700,304,384.07 from oil companies and N8,608,153,973.43 from other income sources.
The much talked about audit report of the commission appeared to have been compromised. Guarded whispers have it that the forensic auditors did not find the ‘real’ gaps, irregularities and due process violations/conflicts of interest. Reports from NDDC’s external audits and the Auditor-General of the Federation for 2016 to 2019, tend to show alarms being raised about the uncontrolled issuance of emergency road and desilting contracts by the Management of NDDC.
There is even a correspondence between BPP and NDDC, where BPP repudiates the emergency contracts, spelling out the penalties of infractions of the Procurement Act, to the Accounting Officer. Over N2 trillion worth of these emergency road rehabilitation contracts and desilting of waterways contracts have been issued, with up to N420 billion paid out to contractors with illegal emergency contracts, between 2017 and 2019. The payments never stopped and are still going on as you read this.
Between January 2020 and June 2021, under Akpabio’s watch, NDDC reportedly received N256,713,657,014.34 in total, and when the brought forward cash from 2019 is added, gives total available cash from January 2020 to June 2021 of N307,945,751,433.59. Out of this sum, N74,840,316,664.78 was expended on Personnel and Recurrent expenses and N215,809,222,189.68 on Development projects.
The way NDDC stands presently, President Buhari should reject the forensic audit report, and order a full-scale independent judicial probe. It appears some interested parties in the looting ring are taking thecitizenry for a ride. The forensic auditors should equally be investigated with a view of finding out if they compromised their professional integrity.
Till then, the looting lords are busy messing up the messiah profile of the pre-2015 Muhammadu Buhari. History beckons President Buhari to resist them, and quickly rescue Nigeria from their virus fangs.