War on Corruption in Nigeria: Whose Fight Really?

By Adeola Aderounmu.

Before he left office in June 2007, the other day, we read in the news that Tony Blair was been questioned by the police in the UK. In the entire history of Nigeria, I have not seen or heard that the police have questioned any serving colonial master, president or dictator. The closest we have come to this is when selfish coup plotters turn the institutions of the states against some civilian looters to prove some silly points.

After a few days, they, the tropical gangsters called soldiers, start their own looting, and the cycle is repeated. I wondered why coup plotters are all not guilty of treasonable felony. They took over government by force and subdued democratic processes.

Shamefully too, we have not been able to develop to the extent of providing autonomy to the Police in Nigeria in order for them to be able to deal with corruption as an investigative aspect of their obligations. It took forever to have a body such as the EFCC and it took a short while to make it become a puppet. This is an arguable statement of course depending on how extensively you want to drive your objectivity on the partisanship and neutrality of a public regulatory body as EFCC.

It is true that we need something like the EFCC as a branch of the Police to investigate corruption and bring culprits to the reach of the arm of the law. Good point! But if anyone was schematically blind to the usage of the EFCC under the Obasanjo government, then I am sorry that I cannot help them. 

Summarily, the heat of the EFCC was turned on against all those who opposed Obasanjo’s third term secret and then open campaigns. The EFCC was used to sniff all the friends of another corrupt man called Atiku. He was the vice-president of Obasanjo and he was against the third term plan. The war between these two thoughtless adults brought governance in Nigeria to a permanent halt for more than a year. They provided Nigeria with the exclusive hidden details of how they emptied the national treasury. These 2 men then used the issue of corruption and betrayal to drive home their silly points on the 3rd term imbroglio.

If the EFCC or police wants to be taken seriously, they should please start by investigating the money that Nigeria made during the gulf war and give us a public report. Until everyone in Nigeria is subjected to the long arm of the law, then I will forever think that EFCC is a useless body, pursuing partial dreams and relishing less than quarter moon.

I think that we should leave the era behind where the President will give out orders that something should be investigated. It sounds really very annoying to read for instance that the president orders the probe…or the president orders the investigation….This is nonsense! Is that the job of the president? Silly!

The Police are there, they should not be told what their jobs are and they do not need orders from anyone. I am beginning to wonder if a day will come that someone like the Okiro (the police boss) will ask Obasanjo (ex-president) to report to the Police for questioning. Can Okiro ask Yar Adua to report to the Police for investigation into awards of contracts under his governorship in Katsina State?

I know that the presidency in Nigeria has a role to play on who becomes the Inspector General of Police but I don’t know if that is a global standard. I doubt. The police are an institution that should allow officers to move or rise through the ranks through hardwork, dedication and selfless service to people and country. If we continue to choose Inspectors because of their tribe and alliance, I am sorry that we are rolling deep into valleys.

Whichever way you look at it, Nigeria has a long way to go. First, we need to do a lot of work on our Police Force. We need to upgrade their mentality, mission and visions. We need to give them the environment to provide us with the security that the government always promises.

We need a police force with modern gadgets and functional patrol cars. We need to revert our police stations from their status as banks to a place where real investigations and research is going on. We need a police force that is well educated and tutored to meet the challenges of modern day world, not just Nigeria.

We need a police force that will earn far more than 10, 000 naira (this is less than 100USD) as the basic salary for its lowest paid officers. We need to take their eyes away from other people’s wallets or pockets. We need police-men and women who will have their lives and properties adequately insured. We need a police force that we can give due respect. Of course, we need that aspect for other professionals too, teachers especially.

We need an independent police force that will be the watchdog of our society in security issues and investigating crimes including assassinations. We will like to have Police officers who would investigate corruption and hand over thieves who called themselves politicians to the Judiciary. In Nigeria, if we don’t put thieves behind the bars, they will continue to multiply and disguise as our saviours.

These are my personal views and this is the way that I see it!

May the Glory of Nigeria come, soon!

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