The Vanguard for Transparent Leadership and Democracy, VATLAD, has presented out-of-the-box approaches to fighting corruption in Nigeria, proposing that when a public office holder steals N200bn, he or she should be made to numerically count one to 200bn before a jury in a session reported live to Nigerians.
Unveiling strategies for fighting corruption before newsmen in Abuja on Wednesday, the group’s national president, Comrade Igbini Odafe Emmanuel stated that most Nigerians including the treasury looters do not know the quantum of the amount stolen from public coffers hence the need for whoever loots to be made to count the numerals of the amount stolen.
He pointed out that it was when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, started displaying funds recovered from various locations including the Osborne Towers in Ikoyi Lagos that many persons were able to come to terms with the kind of theft some corrupt persons engage in.
Continuing with the out-of-the-box strategies to fighting corruption, the group, which has existed for over 20 years, called for the adoption of the jury system in the handling of serious cases of corruption. It suggested that the jury should comprise Nigerians who are not lawyers but have proven integrity, insisting that the proceedings of the jury should be in the full glare of the media.
While faulting the move by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen to create a special court for corruption cases, Emmanuel stated that doing so will come with its own problems as the judges designated to handle such trials would be under intense pressure from corrupt politicians.
VATLAD also canvassed amnesty for treasury looters, disclosing that doing so remains the best option for Nigeria as foreign countries where looters stash their funds would never allow those monies to be repatriated to Nigeria.
It pointed out that efforts made by former president Olusegun Obasanjo to get western countries to return wealth stolen from Nigeria and hidden overseas yielded no result thus the present efforts by President Muhammadu Buhari will not be any different.
Emmanuel stated that the cost of prosecution corruption cases coupled with the disposition of countries harbouring stolen funds from Nigeria make it more wise for Nigeria to grant amnesty to looters, who would then on their own return their loots to government without local authorities having to rely on uncooperating foreign counterparts.
He further called on the Nigerian government to focus more attention on the corruption going on in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, lamenting that multinational oil companies declare whatever they want as the nation’s oil output without the government asking questions.
Noting that the international oil companies are in firm control and are moving from the downstream sector to the off-shore which is difficult to monitor, Emmanuel maintained that “we must focus on the upstream sector of the oil and gas sector which lubricates the wheel of looting in Nigeria”.
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