17August2017

How Abuja Frustrates Anti-graft Measures

Indications have emerged that top leaders of the executive and legislative arms of government may have devised various means to frustrate anti-corruption measures that they had themselves advertised.

Specifically, the National Assembly that is smarting from the Farouk-Otedola scam and is deeply hurt may have adopted strategic plans to get the monumental scandal out of the media hot-sheets.

The presidency and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), two institutions that are closely linked and tainted by tales of oil subsidy corruption, have also perfected plans to “embark on another charade in the form of arraignment of indicted top people in the oil subsidy scandal”, according to a source in Abuja at the weekend.

The Guardian confirmed last week that top officers of the federal legislature have taken proactive steps to ensure that they are never caught ‘pants down’ through secret electronic recording devices, the way Farouk Lawan was exposed in a seemingly well orchestrated “sting operation.”

Some officers of the National Assembly, it was gathered, have acquired sophisticated anti-bugging devices to prevent future undercover recordings of their transactions.

A source confirmed that sophisticated devices are being installed by some committee chairman in the NASS to ward off bugging.

The Guardian inquiries revealed that most of the principal officers of the National Assembly have been supplied with the anti-bugging devices and the deal was sealed through a top security consultant immediately after the Farouk-Otedola-gate broke!

Also, great deal of arm-twisting is going on in Abuja to frustrate clamour by civil society organisations and the media for prosecution of individuals implicated in the oil subsidy scandal.

It was revealed that the threat of impeachment by the House of Representatives is part of the strategy to control the damage that the Farouk Lawan incident has inflicted on the image of the legislature, as an institution. The idea it was revealed is a ploy to bring the presidency and the House together in a bid to negotiate reprieve for each other.

Family members of PDP leaders, including sons of former chairman Col Ahmadu Ali (rtd) and Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, have been implicated in the latest version of the fuel subsidy report.

Col Ali (rtd) was actually the chairman of the PPPRA, the regulator of the subsidy mechanism when the scandals were allegedly perpetrated. Again, it has been discovered that many of the top officials in the presidency had been aware “when the fuel subsidy improprieties were going on inside the NNPC and the PPPRA”; and “if you shake Ahmadu Ali too much, there will be more revelations,” a source revealed at the weekend.

It was also revealed that the Police probe of the subsidy fund actually confirmed that more money was paid to the House Committee, even as it was revealed that the Attorney General of the Federation, who had been curiously absent at last week’s two sittings of a Lagos Court on the fuel subsidy fund suspects is in possession of more facts and revelations. It was feared at the weekend by observers that all these would be used to negotiate a “peace process” between the House and the Presidency very soon.

By Martins Oloja, Nigerian Guardian