By Muhammad Ajah
The federal government of Nigeria recently released names of alleged looters of the commonwealth of the nation with the hint that another list would be made public in due course. How soon the list or even the third and fourth lists would be released, the Nigerian public is agitatedly waiting. How many of all who are in the lists would be convicted, Nigerians are much more agitatedly waiting. I think if the process is religiously pursued and fairness cum patriotism is followed, there could be more lists than expected. But Nigerians seem not to be interested in the number of looters, they want convictions in order to sanitize the system.
The first list of looters, of course, has exposed some of those who have contributed in no small way in under-developing Nigeria and forcing her into recession. Their actions have caused the resultant hardship Nigerians have been facing. This move by the federal government is a step in the right direction. It is a warning for others who nurse the bad intention to steal from the nation’s purse. It is also a whip on the looters and a caveat on Nigerians to be cautious of the culprits instead of celebrating or glorifying them.
Yes, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had in the past said that 55 persons stole N1.34 trillion under the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. Penultimate week, 29 names who took money from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sabo Dasuki (Rtd) were released. PDP chairman, former PDP financial secretary, former PDP national publicity secretary, then chairman of DAAR communications, former senior special assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, amongst others, were in that list. That was a PDP list, indeed. The government followed it up on March 30, 2018 by releasing 23 names of looters, based on verifiable facts.
According to Channels TV, the minister said the released list was a tip of the iceberg as the federal government has a large number of alleged looters under its watch. He explained that the release was partly in fulfillment of the demand by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which challenged the federal government to make public the names of treasury looters.
Though most of the names in the latest list are known in the public domain due to several declarations by the Nigerian graft agencies, they include former NSA Dasuki, former Petroleum Resources Minister Dieziani Alison-Madukwe, former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, former Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh, former Comptroller General of Customs, Inde Dikko, Air Marshal Adesola Amosun, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Abdulkadir, former Aviation Minister, Senator Stella Oduah, former Niger State governor. Babangida Aliyu, former Plateau State governor, Senator Jonah Jang, former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda, Senator Peter Nwaboshi, former aide to NSA Dasuki, Aliyu Usman, former personal assistant to NSA Dasuki, Ahmad Idris, former Oyo state governor, Rasheed Ladoja, Tom Ikimi, former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, former PPS to President Goodluck, Hassan Tukur, former Minister of Finance, Nenadi Usman, Benedicta Iroha, close ally of former NSA Dasuki, Aliyu Usman Jawaz, Godknows Igali and Rtd. Lt.-Gen. Kenneth Minimah.
However, despite the government has hinted of the nest list, there are allegations that the names of members of the PDP, who had defected to the APC were conspicuously omitted from the fist list. What Nigerians want is that more of these looters should be exposed and their cases followed constitutionally to a conclusion. The Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), believes that the 55 persons alleged to have looted N1.34 trillion under the last regime were not in the lists so far released by the federal government. In a statement, he declared that the original list included former governors, ministers and bankers. This means that the following list(s) will be full surprises.
There were reports that President Buhari was given specific names of oil thieves when he first visited the United States of America as the President of Nigeria. The report disclosed that some powerful Nigerians were stealing up to 250,000 barrels of Nigeria’s crude daily. Sunday Punch once reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had made details of over 103 high-profile corruption cases available to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice. The list, it was revealed, contained top-ranking judicial officers, apart from the ones arrested by the State Security Services (SSS) last year. Others in the list, the reports further detailed, were former governors, some current members of the national assembly, some current ministers and other top politicians. The reports touched on the squabble that ensued between the AGF office and the two anti-graft agencies, the EFCC and ICPC over cases relating to 31 former governors and others.