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Kill Corrupt Public Officers, Says NLC, TUC

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The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have urged the government of President Muhammadu Buhari to set the death penalty for Public Officers found guilty of corruption.

Ayuba Wabba, president of NLC, and Bobboi Kaigama of the TUC, made the call on Tuesday at a press conference ahead of a national rally against corruption scheduled for Thursday.

The rally involves a solidarity march to the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the national assembly complex and the office of the secretary to the government of the federation to declare support for Buhari’s anit-corruption work.

“He who goes to equity must go with clean hand. Part of the attributes of good governance is that we must have a minimum standard of transparency and accountability,” Wabba said.

“If capital punishment was introduced and worked elsewhere to eliminate corruption, then we are for it. If it worked in China, we must be ambitious enough to move beyond our lamentation to arrive at our destination. The organised labour is in support of capital punishment to eradicate or at least reduce the scourge of corruption.

“In the twilight of the last administration, there were allegations by no less a person than the former Governor of the CBN, Sanusi Lamido, that billions of dollars was unaccounted for by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; this led to his eventual suspension from office as CBN governor.”

Wabba recalled that the Nigerian extractive industry transparency initiative indicated losses due to crude oil swaps to subsidy and domestic crude allocations from 2005 to 2012, showing that $11.63 billion had been paid to the NNPC, but there was no evidence of remittance of money to the federation account.

“NEITI also discovered that another USD$11.6bn was missing from Nigeria’s Liquefied Natural Gas company dividend payment,” he said, urging the federal government to ensure that all looted funds are recovered and that all the culprits are prosecuted.

Similarly, Kaigama called for the establishment of special courts to try corruption cases, arguing that looters of the country’s treasury were taking advantage of lapses in the judicial system.

“We strongly feel that it is better now than ever to address the issue of governance and corruption. Over the last 20 years, we have never experienced a situation where Nigerian workers would go home without salaries for eight months. What is responsible for this is corruption, bad leadership; not putting the right persons in places,” he said.

“With the advent of a leadership who feels that Nigeria must be fixed, we deem it fit to support the battle against corruption. If we don’t fight corruption, corruption will eat us up. We have never experienced a situation where states and local government will be bailed out. If we don’t take steps now, this country will not get out of the woods. We are out to support the fight against corruption.

“We call for the establishment of special anti-corruption courts to try suspects since those who looted our treasury are now adept at exploiting the holes in the legal system to delay cases. The national assembly should give us enabling law to fight corruption; also it should be compulsory for all public office holders to declare their assets.”

He implored EFCC to extend its work to states and local governments, where “the level of impunity is more vicious”.

“Government should also abolish the joint account between states and local government areas because they used to commit a lot of fraud at these levels,” he added.

The calls by the unions are in line with a recent plea by Ali Buba-Lamido, Anglican Bishop of Wusasa Diocese in Zaria, Kaduna state, for the institution of death penalty for corrupt public office holders.

Nigeria is one of the countries yet to abolish the capital punishment law, resting its legality of the death penalty on Section 33(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which states: “Every person has a right to life, and no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”

Offences for which the death penalty has been administered include armed robbery and murder. Corruption has never been grouped with such offences and humans rights agencies continue to push for the abolishment of the penalty itself.

(Cable)